Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes began their last week of games in the month of November with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It marked the team’s first victory by a margin of more than a goal, as a three-goal second period from Patrick Dwyer, Tuomo Ruutu and Elias Lindholm put the Canes on top. Eric Staal added an empty-net goal late in the third period, and Cam Ward made 35 saves. “It’s nice that the guys are finally getting results. We’ve played some tough opponents lately, and we’ve been grinding it out,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “It’s been difficult to get some goals, but tonight finally things looked like they were ticking and falling into place. A lot of good things in our hockey game tonight.”
-- After stopping 35 of 38 shots in Boston the afternoon prior, Ward responded with another 35-save effort this evening against the Senators. None better was his diving stick save on Colin Greening in the first period to keep the score at just 1-0 Ottawa. “We came off a little slow. They score early, and then Cam makes that huge save. I think the guys were like, hey, we’ve got to get going here,” Muller said. “After that, I think we really started to pick it up and take off.”
-- Ward on his stick save, which was likely the turning point in the game: “I knew as soon as the shot came that I was kind of going to be forced to put it in a bad spot, and fortunately Greening didn’t get all of it, giving me a chance to dive over and make the save. Luckily I was able to get it. If that goes in, it’s a whole different hockey game down 2-0 in the first period.”
-- Staal on Ward’s play: “I was proud of the way Cam came back tonight with a big effort. I thought he was phenomenal yesterday … and he helped us steal a point. Tonight, he was good again, which is big to bounce back.”
-- And more Ward: “This is why you play the game – you play to win. It was a good effort and I felt good yesterday in Boston, but at the end of the day you want to win hockey games.”
-- The Canes have struggled to score goals as of late, but tonight was not the first time this season that they’ve scored three goals in a period; they notched a three-goal second period in New York on Oct. 19. Dwyer initiated the offense at the 3:10 mark with a rising snap shot from the near circle that clanked off the crossbar and in. “Tonight was a good feeling,” Staal said. “We stayed with it, got some bounces and scored some goals.”
-- Staal now has a six-game point streak, and he’s posted eight points (3g, 5a) in that stretch, including a goal and two assists tonight. At the 6:09 mark of the second period, he fed Ruutu with a beauty of a tape-to-tap pass through the defense that wound up in the back of the net, far side on Lehner. “My linemates did a good job of hitting some holes,” Staal said. “[Ottawa] seemed to be sitting back in some areas, so I could make some plays with the puck. We were a bit crisper with our passes.”
-- Muller on Staal’s effort: “That was his best game by far. It was also probably his hardest-working game. … He worked really hard, and he worked smart. He used his wingers really well,” he said. “He’s the guy that really led us up front.”
-- In Boston on Saturday, Lindholm had an immediate impact on the Hurricanes’ power play, making a smart play with the puck along the boards near the blue line before cruising through the slot and providing the screen on Andrej Sekera’s PP tally. Tonight, he confidently walked the puck from the corner to the front of the net, beating Lehner glove-side high from a sharp angle. “He’s one of our best play-making forwards. He reads the play well, and he’s good in tight corners,” Muller said. “We knew that he could excel on the power play. He saw an opening, took it and made a goal-scoring move.”
-- A few random notes: Kevin Westgarth boarded Mark Borowiecki at the 7:55 mark of the first period. It was a dangerous play since Borowiecki was already down along the boards, and he didn’t return after the hit. Westgarth might be hearing from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday. … Jordan Staal pulled a Manny Malhotra in the faceoff circle, going a perfect 11-for-11 through two periods. He ended the game winning 13-of-16 (81 percent) in the dot. … Jiri Tlusty was playing in his 300th NHL game. He had nine shot attempts, six of which were blocked and one of which missed the net. He led the team with five hits and was a plus-1. … Carolina is now 10-3-2 in their last 15 games versus Ottawa.
-- With the win, the Canes improve to 9-10-5 with 23 points in the standings, which puts them just a point out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. It also puts them tied for fourth with New Jersey, who they will now play in a home-and-home set surrounding Thanksgiving. “You just want to keep building now. We’ve got a lot of good things going right now … and the important thing is the consistency factor,” Ward said. “We’ll take care of ourselves, enjoy the win tonight and get ready for [New Jersey].”
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes scored three second-period goals to erase a 1-0 deficit en route to a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on Sunday.
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward stopped 35 shots to earn his first win since missing 10 games with a lower-body injury.
Trailing 1-0 going into the second period, Carolina quickly scored a pair of hard-working goals. After a faceoff win and a strong forecheck, Patrick Dwyer tied the game, beating Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner high to the far post at 3:10 on a shot from the right circle.
Six minutes later, Staal teamed up with Tuomo Ruutu for the go-ahead goal. After Erik Karlsson's shot produced a long bounce off the end boards, Staal brought the puck up ice and made a hard pass to Ruutu in stride. Ruutu buried a quick shot over the goaltender's blocker for a 2-1 lead.
The Hurricanes then went to work on the power play for the first time after Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips crosschecked Nathan Gerbe. Eighteen-year-old rookie Elias Lindholm scored his second of the season at 9:03, bringing the puck out of the corner uncontested and lifting a wrister high to the far post. Staal was the catalyst again, lugging the puck through the offensive zone until he spotted Lindholm free in the corner.
Each team combined for plenty of offense through 40 minutes, with the Senators holding a 26-25 advantage in shots.
The Senators started the scoring early in the first period when Jason Spezza scored his 10th of the season. Mika Zibanejad centered to Spezza, who fired a shot off Ward, then cleaned up the rebound in the crease at 1:07. The goal was Spezza's 18th in 32 career games against Carolina.
Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki left the game early in the period after being boarded by Westgarth. Borowiecki was getting to his feet in the corner of the Senators' zone when Westgarth committed the penalty. He did not return to the game.