Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- Well, that was fun. Down 2-0 headed into the third period, the Carolina Hurricanes, specifically the two Staal brothers, netted three goals in as many minutes to secure a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, vaulting them into third place in the Metropolitan Division and extending their win streak to four games. “It was a good comeback,” Eric Staal said. “We didn’t want to spot them two early, but we did. We stayed with it and got better as the game went on. I thought we got stronger and stronger, and then eventually it broke through in the third.”
-- Staal talked before the game about wanting to come out with a good start. That didn’t exactly happen, as the Canes surrendered two goals in just 17 seconds early in the first period. Staal also noted this morning that if the team did not get off to a good start, the key would be to stick to the game plan. The Canes certainly did this, and began to swing the momentum of the game in their favor, especially in the second period. “We could feel the momentum shifting in the second period. We were getting a lot of opportunities and more shots,” Jordan Staal said. “Going into the third, we felt good with our game. We wanted to just get that one and go from there.”
-- Muller on the 60-minute effort it took to win: “We knew it was a big game. You don’t want to dwell a lot on it in order to let the guys kind of figure it out. They came out and we made a couple mistakes that cost us early, but the guys knew it was going to be a grind,” he said. “We needed 60 minutes to win the game. I thought it was great because we keep talking about staying the course and keeping that structure winning or losing.”
-- This was pretty much the opposite of what happened in this very same building on Dec. 23. In that game, the Canes had a 3-2 lead late in the third period before Columbus scored twice in the final minutes of the game to steal a 4-3 win. Tonight, the Canes pushed back to snag two points in regulation and leapfrog the Blue Jackets in the standings. “They rope-a-doped us once, so we got them back,” Eric Staal said. “We owed them once, especially since before the break they did the same to us. It was a good effort.”
-- The comeback – these are fun, aren’t they – started at the 11:18 mark of the third period, when Eric Staal walked in and threaded one through Sergei Bobrovsky’s five-hole. Alexander Semin had the primary assist, extending his point streak to six games (6g, 3a). “For a few guys it was getting frustrating, including myself,” Jordan said. “Eric was the one guy who kept it positive, and he came out with some big goals to get our momentum going. It was a fun comeback.”
-- Exactly a minute later, Jiri Tlusty won a puck battle along the end boards and fed Eric Staal a centering pass, which he finished. It was Staal’s 14th goal of the season, as he also has strung together points in six straight games (4g, 5a). “That’s a big game, and our big boys came up with big goals to make a difference,” Muller said.
-- Less than two minutes after tying the game, the Staal train kept chugging along, as Jordan netted what would be the game-winning goal. The play started with Jeff Skinner laying the puck up the boards. Elias Lindholm then won a battle along the penalty box area to poke the puck ahead to Staal, who raced in on a two-on-one. As defenseman Ryan Murray attempted to rub him off the puck, Staal used his size and strength to muscle the puck past Bobrovsky. “We knew the importance of the game, and we were ready to try and get a win tonight, especially in regulation,” Eric said.
-- After a rocky start, the Canes upped the offensive ante and tightened up defensively. About midway through the first period, they trailed 7-1 in shots and 2-0 on the scoreboard. By the end of the first period, they had drawn even in shots, and in the second period, they fired 17 shots at Bobrovsky, tying a season best for one period. In the final 40 minutes, Carolina outshot Columbus 28-17. “We went five periods without scoring a goal against them,” Muller said. “The guys stayed with it and found a way.”
-- Some random notes: Tonight’s game marked the first win for the Canes over Columbus since Dec. 15, 2005, snapping a seven-game losing streak. … Just two penalties were called in tonight’s game, both levied against Columbus. The Hurricanes played their first penalty-free game at home since April 4, 2008. … The Hurricanes improved to 4-4-0 in their third uniform set this season and 40-26-6 overall. … The Hurricanes are now 9-3-0 in the month of January and have won 10 of their last 13 games.
-- The Hurricanes will now travel to Montreal to face off with the Canadiens on Tuesday night, looking to extend their winning streak to five games. “Tonight was a real test. Now, we can’t let anyone off the hook,” Muller said. “This is playoff-style hockey. You have to grind through it when you’re tired, whether it’s mental or physical. You’ve got to find a way to get the job done.”
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Eric Staal scored twice 1:01 apart in the third period before Jordan Staal added the go-ahead score, to help the Carolina Hurricanes erase a 2-0 deficit en route to a 3-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena on Monday.
Less than two minutes later, Jordan Staal made a drag move in the slot and slipped a backhand shot past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Carolina (24-19-9) has won four straight. Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots for the win.
The Blue Jackets (27-21-4) suffered their second straight loss after an eight-game winning streak.
For most of the night, the Blue Jackets appeared on their way to a win.
Columbus wasted no time seizing the lead in the first period. Corey Tropp left a drop pass for Fedor Tyutin, whose shot rang of the post, leaving Derek MacKenzie to clean up the rebound at 2:25. For MacKenzie, it was his third straight game with a goal.
Seventeen seconds later, RJ Umberger started and finished a play to push the lead to 2-0. After forcing Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk into a turnover, Umberger went to the net and followed Ryan Johansen's centering pass for his 14th of the season. Nick Foligno also earned an assist.
After taking a 7-1 lead in shots through the halfway point in the period, the Blue Jackets relied on a sure-handed defensive game the rest of the period, patiently moving pucks out of their defensive zone. The teams finished with seven shots apiece.
The teams were scoreless in the second period, with the Blue Jackets content to limit the quality of Carolina's shots. The Hurricanes held a decisive 17-8 advantage, but Columbus kept most of them near the perimeter. Carolina's best chance came from Jordan Staal, who slipped a puck wide from the slot.
Columbus killed one penalty in each of the first two periods, but did not have a power-play opportunity.