Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- In the first 30 games of the 2013-14 season, the Carolina Hurricanes have had a fair share of impressive wins. None might be as important or as statement-making as their victory tonight, a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks, losers of just four games in regulation coming into tonight. It wasn’t just that the team toppled a top team in the Western Conference; it was that the team showed a resiliency and commitment to the game plan to outlast a 2-0 deficit and pull ahead 3-2 before then having to break a 3-3 tie in the third period. “That was our best game this year,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We said before that if we’re going to play against a team like San Jose that’s such a good hockey team, we had to bring our A-game here tonight and we can’t have any passengers.”
-- Before tonight, the Sharks were 12-0-4 when leading after one period and 16-0-1 when leading after two periods; they led 2-0 after one period and 2-1 after two periods tonight, but the Canes were confident in their game. “We kept telling each other that we were going to get one. As a team going into the third, we were feeling really confident with our game,” Jordan Staal said. “We thought we had played a pretty solid game. We knew we were going to get rewarded at some point.”
-- Following prolific second periods in their last six games in which they outscored opponents 16-4, the Canes saved their offense for the third period, tallying four times in the final 20 minutes, their highest offensive output in a single period this season. The Canes got goals in the third period from Riley Nash (his second in as many nights and his first-career goal streak), Staal, Elias Lindholm and Eric Staal, an empty-net tally late to seal it. “I think it started with our top line,” Nash said of the team’s play during the last week. “That top line really drove us to a couple wins. I think the rest of the guys just followed suit.”
-- Lindholm had his best game in a Hurricanes sweater tonight, skating on Staal’s right wing with Patrick Dwyer out of the lineup. The now 19-year-old tallied three points, including the game-winning goal, a redirection of an Andrej Sekera point shot. It was his first multi-point game of his career. “That’s the player we drafted,” Muller said. “He’s smart, he’s got hockey sense and he can make plays in small areas. That was a lot of fun seeing him get some results tonight, and I think that’s going to be a big confidence builder.”
-- The second line as a whole seemed to drive the Canes tonight, as the trio of Nathan Gerbe, Staal and Lindholm recorded 12 shots, a team-high six belonging to Gerbe and Staal factoring in with five. An additional eight shot attempts from Gerbe and Staal were either blocked or missed the net. “We were moving it. Lindy and Gerbs were both skating really well. We were just doing a great job playing off each other and creating offensive zone chances,” Staal said. “[Lindholm] played unbelievable tonight. He made a lot of great plays, a lot of little passes.”
-- Just about halfway through the third period, the Sharks got even on the scoreboard, but the Canes mustered a response not even five minutes later. “We played the game so well and so hard; we battled, competed, skated and made plays, it was such a strong 60 minutes that, yeah, you don’t want to walk away in these type of games and not pick up any points because, at the end of the day, you have to grab them when you can. We deserved to get points tonight,” Muller said. “I thought our guys did a great job on the bench pushing each other after that, saying, hey, let’s just keep going. Our leaders really kept going, and everyone followed.”
-- Some random stats: The Canes have now won five of the last six meetings between the two teams at PNC Arena. … This was just the eighth game this season that San Jose had been outshot. They are 3-3-2 in those games. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are 9-3-0 when outshooting their opponent. … Carolina is now 2-8-2 when trailing after two periods. Their first third period comeback win came on Oct. 17 in Toronto when they scored thrice in the final 20 minutes to emerge with a 3-2 victory.
-- The Hurricanes will pack a three-game winning streak in their bags as they head out on a four-game road swing that will take them through Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Phoenix over the next week. “It was a big game. We had talked about bringing our game consistently. We haven’t done that early this year, but three big games in a row helps this team build and keep moving forward,” Staal said. We had a lot of legs and a lot of jump. That shows a lot of character.”
RALEIGH, N.C. - Elias Lindholm's tip-in goal with six minutes remaining in regulation broke a tie and the Carolina Hurricanes overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Friday night.
Lindholm, the fifth player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft, got position in the slot and deflected Andrej Sekera's shot past goaltender Alex Stalock to break a 3-3 tie. Eric Staal added an empty-net goal and Cam Ward stopped 22 shots as the Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit after one period to extend their winning streak to three games.
The Hurricanes trailed 2-1 entering the third period but tied the game on Riley Nash's redirection in the slot at 4:54. Less than two minutes later, Jordan Staal poked in a loose puck at the right post that Stalock initially thought he had covered with his glove.
San Jose defenseman Justin Braun made it 3-3 at 9:35, beating Ward with a shot from just inside the blue line.
Stalock stopped 30 shots for the Sharks, who've lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Hurricanes on consecutive nights after winning six in a row.
The Sharks opened the scoring at 7:09 of the first period when Tommy Wingels set a screen in front of Ward and redirected Jason Demers' shot into the net for his ninth of the season. The play started with a turnover, as Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison sent an errant pass through the right circle.
San Jose made it 2-0 at 16:31 when Marc-Edouard Vlasic's wrist shot from the left-wing boards slipped between Ward's pads. Tomas Hertl picked up an assist along with Joe Thornton, who extended his point streak to eight games.
Harrison got the Hurricanes on the board at 11:36 of the second period, sending a wrister that hit the end boards and caromed off Stalock's skate before sliding into the net. Zach Boychuk, recalled from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on Friday, assisted on the goal, along with Nash.
Carolina made a strong push late in the second period but couldn't beat Stalock. The rookie goaltender fended off good chances by Nathan Gerbe, Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu as the Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 12-8.