Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes are streaking again – and this time it’s a winning streak. The Hurricanes posted their second consecutive victory with a 3-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, who have yet to tally a win on the road. Victor Rask, Chris Terry and Elias Lindholm each netted a goal for Carolina, and Cam Ward made 30 saves in his second straight win.
"I liked the look, for sure. I thought we started on time again here today," head coach Bill Peters said. "We played with tempo through 40, and give them credit, they came hard in the third, and in a back-to-back we may have tapered off a bit. But I liked our effort and intensity.
"It’s starting the formation of an identity," he continued. "I think this weekend we started to form an identity, and the guys started to believe.”
-- On a day in which the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate won their first game at home, the Charlotte Checkers alumni in Raleigh played a key part in the Canes’ second straight victory.
Carolina’s first goal was scored on a tic-tac-toe play from a trio of former Checkers. It started in their own zone, where responsible play defensively led to an odd-man rush. Victor Rask exited the zone with the puck, sliding it over to Zach Boychuk. Once in the offensive zone, Boychuk found Terry who slid it back across the crease to Rask for his first career NHL goal. It was a pretty play, and it capped what was a great opening 20 minutes for the home team.
"It’s a lot of fun to play with Chris and Chuckie," Rask said. "We know each other from last year, and we have a lot of fun out there.”
"His goal tonight was a prime example. I think we’ve probably scored that goal in Charlotte before with a three-on-two rush and hitting the middle guy," Terry said. "It’s definitely nice to play with guys like that and have that comfort level up here.”
And what will Rask do with the puck from his first career NHL goal?
"Take it to my home in Sweden," he said.
Justin Williams took a hooking penalty just 25 seconds into the second period. On the ensuing power play, Terry blasted a one-timer off a pass from Andrej Sekera, scoring his fourth goal of the season. That gave the Canes a 2-0 lead.
"Well, by trade their goal scorers as we know. They’ve scored at the American League level, and they have skill," Peters said. "They’re coming into their own a little bit right in front of our eyes. I thought that line was very good.”
"I thought Terrs, Rasker and Chuckie were very good tonight," Eric Staal said. "They were controlling pucks and making plays, and you need that. You need guys to step up.”
-- Elias Lindholm had himself a weekend. The 19-year-old forward netted his first two goals of the season in last night’s first period. In the opening 20 minutes tonight, he was winning battles all over the ice and generating a number of prime scoring opportunities. In one sequence, he started and stopped on Robyn Regehr twice below the goal line to work his way to the front of the net.
In the second period, he was rewarded for his work with another goal, his third of the season and third of the weekend. He walked in and ripped one past Quick. From his dominating play down low to his offensive production, this is the player the Canes drafted fifth overall just a summer ago.
"He’s worked hard. He’s worked really hard," Peters said. "It seems like he’s got the puck on his stick a little more, and he’s comfortable having the puck. He’s doing a better job of moving his feet with the puck. He’s a skilled player, a very skilled player at 19-years-old.”
-- Less than 24 hours after posting his first shutout since March 27, 2012, a 25-save performance, Cam Ward was again solid in net for the Hurricanes. He stopped 30 of 32 shots, and again gave the team an opportunity to play with and sustain a lead.
"The way the game is now, you need those saves at the right moments," Staal said. "Cam provided that last night and tonight again. It’s not always about how many, but the key times when you make that big one.”
-- Ward awarded defenseman Justin Faulk with the fireman's helmet, the new hardware handed out in the locker room following each Hurricanes' win.
"He was real good moving the puck. He looked quicker to me, and he looked like he was decisive and more confident. I like a lot of things he did this weekend," Peters said. "I liked his compete, and I liked the fact that when he took one in the lips, he got stitched up and played one of his better games of the year. Just play. Play hard. Play hard each and every night, and it’s contagious. Believe me when I tell you, it’s contagious.”
-- For the fourth game in a row, the Canes crossed the 30-shots-on-goal plateau with 32 finding Quick. Carolina tallied a season-high 35 shots against the Coyotes just a night ago, which was also their first victory of the year.
Tonight was also the second straight game in which the Canes scored the opening goal. They are now 2-0-1 this season in games when they score first.
-- The Hurricanes will look to extend their winning streak (it feels good to say that) to three games when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
"It was a good effort, and we should feel good about it. This is a process, and we need to keep building to what we’re getting to," Staal said. "We should feel good about beating a very good team. Now we need to follow that up.”