Tracking the Storm: Analysis from San Jose
-- The Carolina Hurricanes saw a two-goal lead dissipate early in the third period, but a net drive and a fortuitous bounce helped the Canes to a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks to wrap up a four-game road trip.
"It was a good job staying with it, and we ended up on the right side of the win," Eric Staal said.
"I liked our team. I've liked our team on this trip out West," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we skated here tonight as well as we have in any game since the All-Star break, and that's a good sign that we get our legs going again."
-- With the score even at three with less than five minutes to play in the third period, Andrej Sekera carried the puck into the zone and fired off a shot with Patrick Dwyer driving the net. The puck bounced in off Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon, who was defending Dwyer.
"Reggie did a good job buying time for Patty to drive the middle, and Patty made sure he didn't go below the goal line. He stopped net front," Peters said. "You need traffic in this league. There were a lot of goals scored with traffic tonight."
Victor Rask would add an empty-netter later, which proved to be the game-winning tally as the Canes escaped the Shark Tank with two points in regulation.
-- The Hurricanes carried what seemed to be a solid 3-1 lead into the third period. That evaporated in a matter of 82 seconds early in the third period, as Tomas Hertl (his second of the game) and Logan Couture found the back of the net to draw the score even.
"We were pretty calm. We played pretty good the whole game, and we were pretty happy with how we played," Elias Lindholm said of the mood on the bench after the game was tied. "We were pretty calm there, and we just wanted to keep playing the way we were."
"I thought we stayed with it. They're a good team, and they have good players. You could feel the momentum. They were aggressive and on us a little bit more. We had to settle down and start making some plays again," Staal said. "Once we did that, we were able to counter back. It was a nice bounce on the winner, but none the less a great play at the same time. We settled down, got back to our game and were rewarded with a good win."
-- Elias Lindholm enjoys playing the Sharks, or so his stats say, at least. Coming into the game, Lindholm had five points (2g, 3a) in three career games against San Jose.
"I don't know what it is," Lindholm said with a smile. "I guess I'm having a lot of luck against this team."
Tonight, Lindholm added another goal in the second period on a power play. Eric Staal’s stick check along the far wall caused a turnover, which was corralled by Lindholm, handed back to Justin Faulk and returned once again to Lindholm. He walked to the top of the circle and wristed a shot that beat Antti Niemi, who was screened by Jiri Tlusty.
"I thought we moved the puck pretty well," Lindholm said. "Of course Jiri does a hell of a job in front screening the goalie, so it was pretty easy to put that in."
The goal was Lindholm’s 10th of the season, scored on a power play that was just 2-for-27 in the last 10 games.
"We were really jumping on pucks and giving ourselves a chance," Staal said of the power play. "From there, we were just attacking the net more. Shots and retrievals. If you continually do that, you’re going to be rewarded with offense. Tonight we were."
"It was a real good screen and real good execution," Peters said. "[The power play] was a little bit hit-and-miss. We’d like it to be a little more dangerous on a consistent basis, a little cleaner. But that was a well-executed play, and you can’t underestimate the net-front presence by Jiri on that."
-- It was a solid first 40 minutes for the guys in white, and it started right from the get-go as the first line of Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty peppered the Sharks in their own zone. Tlusty came inches from giving the Canes a 1-0 lead, but Antti Niemi lunged over to get a piece of his shot.
"We were ready to go. We were aggressive and in their end," Staal said. "I thought our first period was real solid. You knew they were going to push back better in the second, and didn’t quite, but they did in the third."
"It was a real good shift. I thought we started on time," Peters said. "It’s a tough building to play in but a fun building to play in. It’s loud and has a lot of energy. I thought we did a good job. Their starts to the second and third were equally as good as our start in the first.”
"It’s nice on the road. You want to get off to that start, but you want to be rewarded for it, too. We were there," Staal said. "As a line, I thought we controlled a lot of the play. It was nice to be able to capitalize on that one."
In the second period, Alexander Semin fed a streaking Andrej Nestrasil with a backhand pass. Nestrasil then dangled through the Sharks defense and put the puck past Niemi to give the Canes a 2-0 lead.
-- The Hurricanes tallied five out of a possible eight points on this four-game road trip, posting a 2-1-1 record. The Canes will now return to Raleigh, where they play host to the Anaheim Ducks – their second meeting in a week – on Thursday at PNC Arena.