Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- A two-goal third period broke a 1-1 draw and propelled the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at PNC Arena.
"It was a game that we had to stick with it," Eric Staal said. "They’re patient and not the most fun team to play against because of their system. You need to stick with your game, and key goals at key times are important."
"We dug in as the game went along," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought the last 30 minutes were our best 30."
-- There wasn’t much offense to speak of for at least half of tonight’s game, as the score favored New Jersey and the teams had totaled just 21 shots (12-9 Carolina) through better than 30 minutes.
"We wanted to crank it up. We talked about it and talked about getting a little sharper and better," Staal said. "As the game went on, we were getting better and better, and you could feel that on the bench. Guys were more confident making plays, and when you do that line after line, it makes it difficult on the other team. We were able to capitalize with some nice goals."
"It was a slugfest in the trenches. Not a lot going on at times, but that’s just the way it is when you play against them," Peters said. "They’re above you lots in the neutral zone, and they stay tight in the defensive zone. There’s not a lot of puck pressure, so you’ve got to be willing to fight through traffic, and when there’s a play to be made, you better capitalize on it."
Once the Canes broke through, they did so in rather quick fashion, scoring three goals in a span of just over six minutes.
"It allows you to breathe, right? You’ve been down one, and within two minutes, basically … you’ve erased the [deficit]," Peters said. "I give the guys all the credit in the world for sticking with it."
"Terry’s was a big one, and we went from there," Staal said. "It was nice to get that one early in the third to set them back a little bit, and we took it to them a lot more in the third."
"Key goal by Chris Terry there," Peters said. "A real good shot and release, and Chris has that ability."
Just nine seconds into the third period, Eric Staal punched in a rebound to give the Canes a 2-1 advantage. After Jordan Staal won the period’s opening draw, Ryan Murphy raced into the zone and got a shot off that Kinkaid awkwardly bodied down. The rebound was there for the taking, and Staal got his stick to the puck to chop it in.
"That was nice. It bounced out. I would have taken a few more of those earlier in the year," Staal said, smiling. "I was able to get a jump on their D-man, catch him off guard and capitalize."
"A real good, subtle play by Ryan Murphy skating it down the wall in the opening shift of the third. Passing it off the goaltender’s pads. We talk about it all the time; you’re not scoring from there, so try to create a rebound," Peters said. "Credit to Staalsy for getting into the blue paint and getting there."
Minutes later, Justin Faulk fired in a clapper from the point for his 15th goal of the season. Faulk is now just one goal shy of the Hurricanes record for goals in a season by a defenseman set by Anton Babchuk in 2008-09. With 47 points (15g, 32a), Faulk has set the team (since relocation) record for points in a season by a defenseman, surpassing Joni Pitkanen’s total from 2009-10.
"It’s obviously nice to have something like that, but I also get quite a bit of help from teammates along the way," said Faulk, who earned first-star honors and was awarded the fireman's helmet. "I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself out there. Just trying to show up and play my game, and good things have been happening."
"Everything this year Faulker shoots is going in the net," Staal said. "Once you gain that confidence and the ability to get pucks to the net, you’re able to score and capitalize."
"He’s got a heavy, heavy shot," Peters said. "It’s a weapon, for sure. ... It’s definitely something we want to continue to feature.”
-- Starting in his second straight game since being slowed down by an illness, Cam Ward turned in another solid performance, making 21 saves on 22 shots.
His only blemish came via a Devils’ power-play goal in the first period, when Patrik Elias tipped in Mike Cammalleri’s point shot.
"We had an opportunity to clear on the penalty kill, and didn’t clear," Peters said. "We had time to make a clear there, get it 200 feet, and we didn’t. We paid the price there."
-- The Hurricanes’ second five-game homestand of the month comes to an end less than 24 hours from now when the Boston Bruins come to town for a 5 p.m. evening faceoff on Sunday.