Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Hurricanes put forth another solid defensive effort tonight, especially through two periods. After 40 minutes, the team had only surrendered 12 shots to Toronto. It got a bit hairy in the third period, especially after Phil Kessel scored to make it 2-1, but the Canes were resilient and topped the fatigued Leafs. “Things coming easy is a bit of an illusion,” defenseman Jay Harrison said. “Some teams make it look easy, but it’s not. You’ve got to put that game face of every night and do it the hard way if you want results.” Another strong point tonight for the Canes was the face-off circle. They won 37 of 57 draws (65 percent). Eric Staal went 16-for-21 (76 percent) on the dot, and Jussi Jokinen won 8 of his 10 face-offs. David Steckel, ranked second in the league in face-off percentage, won just 5 of 16 draws (31 percent). The Canes ended a near-155 minute goal drought with Harrison’s goal late in the first period. Tonight’s win also snaps a three-game losing skid. “[Morale was] big after this one because it was there but hard to keep after our last game,” Maurice said. “We knew we played a good, solid game and the way we wanted to, and you have to have something good come from that.” Justin Faulk earned his first career National Hockey League point on Jussi Jokinen’s power play goal in the second period. Faulk had the primary assist on the tally, the Canes first power play goal in its last 24 tries. Head coach Paul Maurice was impressed with Faulk’s play on the blue-line: “I think we’re playing him with the right guy,” Maurice said, in reference to Faulk’s partner Harrison. “Lots of talk on the bench, and lots of talk on the ice.” Eric Staal recorded two assists, was a +2 and won 76 percent of his face-offs tonight, as previously mentioned. He also could have had a couple of goals. It was a productive night for the Canes’ captain, who logged over 21 minutes of ice time. “There’s just a conscious effort by everybody,” he said of the team’s play in the last two games. “We still have a hill to climb, but with the effort and the solid play that we’re getting right now defensively, we can climb back into it. We need to believe that, and string a bunch together. And that starts tomorrow night in Philly.” Philadelphia has not been kind to the Hurricanes. In their last 13 games at the Wells Fargo Center, the Canes are 4-6-3. In late October, the Canes were hammered 5-1 by the Flyers. Tomorrow, the Canes will just have to attempt to replicate their last two games. “Small steps,” Maurice said. “I didn’t think we were going to go from the Montreal game to a perfect game, but we’ve made great strides.”
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Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Paul Maurice was able to breathe a little sigh of relief after the Carolina Hurricanes played their best game of the week Sunday.
"I'm just trying to get on the plane (for Monday night's game at Philadelphia)," the beleaguered coach said with a wry smile after a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"This is big," Staal said. "No one likes the situation we're in and no one likes to lose. It was nice to have the same type of effort we had against Buffalo (in Friday's 1-0 loss), and we were rewarded with some goals."
Phil Kessel scored both goals for the Leafs, giving him an NHL-leading 16 goals and 29 points this season.
Carolina has won 12 of the last 17 meetings with Toronto.
"We scored with plenty of time left," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We had our chances but couldn't find a way to finish."
Carolina led 1-0 after the first period after outshooting the Leafs 10-4, then 2-0 after tying its season high with 19 shots in the second.
"We knew we played a good, solid game the way we wanted to but you have to have something good come from that," said Maurice. "Everybody was understanding and playing the same game."
Harrison gave Carolina the lead with 29 seconds left in the first period, picking up a loose puck at the top of the left circle on a rebound of a Skinner shot and blasting it past Scrivens to the glove side. The goal ended a scoring drought of nearly 155 minutes.
Jokinen made it 2-0 on the power play at 7:05 of the second, throwing the puck at the net from the right circle and getting a lucky ricochet off the skate of Luke Schenn. Justin Faulk had the primary assist for his first NHL point on the goal, which snapped Carolina's 0-for-23 slump on the power play.
Kessel cut it to 2-1 on a 4-on-3 at 4:31 of the third, picking up the loose puck on the left doorstep and slamming it home with Dion Phaneuf on the primary assist.
The Hurricanes got the clincher on a rush with just under 7 minutes to go when Skinner followed a rebound of a Staal shot and slid it in on the glove side.
"Everyone wants to win, and the biggest pressure is the pressure you put on yourselves," Skinner said. "Especially when you've been going through what we've gone through the last few games. It's not fun."
Kessel scored his second on a 6-on-5 with a minute remaining, with John-Michael Liles getting the assist.
Notes: Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice was the Leafs' head coach from 2006-08. . Leafs LW Clarke MacArthur (upper body) and RW Mike Brown (undisclosed) each missed his third straight game. . Carolina D Joni Pitkanen (lower body) missed his fourth straight. . Hurricanes D Tomas Kaberle played for Toronto from 1998-2011, while teammates C Tim Brent, LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, C Jiri Tlusty and D Jay Harrison are also former Leafs.