Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Canes saw the Lightning less than a month ago on opening night at the RBC Center. In that game, Carolina put in a clunker, losing 5-1. Looking at that game versus tonight’s 4-2 win, you can see the growth of the team, which is important moving forward. One aspect that head coach Paul Maurice thinks the team has grown on since the start of the season is penalty killing. And, obviously, with wins comes confidence. Speaking of penalty killing, the full, two-minute 5-on-3 kill in the second period was a “game-changer,” as Cam Ward said after the game. The defensive pairing of Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen killed a good 1:49 of that two-man advantage. Brandon Sutter was also on the ice for around 90 seconds. “Me and Staaler were in the box cheering them on,” Chad Larose said. “It was a big kill, and I think it gave us a lot of momentum.” It looked like the first period was going to end 1-0 Tampa Bay, despite the Canes drastically outshooting the Bolts. And then, on a struggling power play, LaRose nets a goal to tie the game and give the bench a boost late in the period. #59’s second goal was also timely, an answer goal right after Tampa Bay’s Brett Connolly scored his first career NHL goal to make the score 3-2 Carolina. As much good news as there was on the ice tonight, there’s also some bad news – Jussi Jokinen got tangled up on a third period face-off and went down in a heap. He ended up bending back his left leg in an awkward position. He was able to skate off on his own, but he hobbled into the dressing room and did not return. After the game, Maurice said the injury was nothing “catastrophic” and that Jokinen was “day-to-day,” but later said they’d be without the forward for awhile. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming days. Maurice hinted at Skinner moving back to center in Jokinen’s absence.
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Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Jeff Skinner has picked up right where he left off last season when he became NHL's youngest rookie of the year winner.
Skinner and Chad LaRose had two goals apiece Tuesday night, lifting the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"He's still trying to improve his game away from the puck, and his first goal was a perfect example of him getting to the right defensive position and using his skill level," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said of Skinner, who has six goals and 12 points in 12 games this season.
Carolina improved to 1-2-1 against Southeast Division rivals and broke a three-game home losing streak to Tampa Bay.
Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen sustained an undisclosed lower body injury in the third period and didn't return.
Carolina's Cam Ward (5-2-2) made 27 saves. Tampa Bay counterpart Dwayne Roloson (2-3-1) stopped 26 shots.
"We have done more than talked about this," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "Except for the third period, we didn't earn anything. (Carolina) earned it, we did not, plain and simple. We should have come out just for the third period."
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead with 4:46 left in the first when Teddy Purcell picked up the puck after Bryan Allen blocked Marc-Andre Bergeron's shot from the high slot.
LaRose tied it with a power-play goal at 18:21. He gathered a loose puck behind Roloson off a rebound of Jay Harrison's shot and tipped it in.
Skinner put Carolina ahead 22 seconds into the middle period, using fancy stick work in traffic to beat Roloson stick side from the low slot.
"The offensive part of the game, (Skinner) is ahead of where he was last year with his confidence and what he's trying to do with the puck," Maurice said. "The book on him when he came in is he scores goals in heavy traffic."
The 19-year-old Skinner has nine goals in eight career games against the Lightning.
"You want to focus every game on coming out and being consistent and not letting off the gas," Skinner said. "We've been focusing on that the last couple of games to keep the forecheck going and keep working."
Carolina killed off a 5-on-3 power play later in the period after Eric Staal and LaRose were whistled for simultaneous penalties.
"All those guys did a great job," LaRose said. "Me and Staaler were cheering them on from the box."
Skinner pushed the Hurricanes' lead to 3-1 on a rush at 10:38. He took Jokinen's pass from the left circle at the right doorstep and easily beat Roloson.
"That was an unbelievable pass," Skinner said. "He did a great job finding me in the first place coming across the neutral zone, and then I got it over to him. I got it over to him and I don't know how he got that pass back."
Tampa Bay made it 3-2 at 14:16 of the third when Brett Connolly picked up a loose puck and poked it past Ward for his first NHL goal.
LaRose then netted an insurance goal at 15:10 on a rush, taking Jiri Tlusty's centering pass and beating Roloson between the pads.
NOTES: Carolina, which opened a three-game homestand, will have 10 of its 15 games in November at home. ... The last shutout in this series was a 4-0 Lightning road win on Feb. 1, 2007. Bergeron's first-period assist was his 13th point of the season, tying him with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson for the most among NHL defensemen.