Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Philadelphia Flyers for the third game in a row on Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena in a game that required shootout to settle the 3-2 score. Elias Lindholm and Jordan Staal netted goals for the Canes in regulation, and Cam Ward made 21 saves in his third win against Philadelphia this season.
"It was nice to get the win," Jordan Staal said. "It wasn’t a great road trip, by any means, and it was nice to get the W."
Gerbe's goal was particularly filthy, as he got Emery moving, slid the puck back and beat him.
"Gerbs has some silky hands. Made him bite pretty good. That was a nice move," Eric Staal said. "Terry has been pretty good in the shootout all year and feeling good offensively."
"It definitely helps to relax you when you score early and go two-for-two," Ward said. "I was really determined to make sure that stood and we got the win."
"Especially when you shoot first and score first, you can breathe," Peters said. "It helps."
Peters opted for his team to shoot first -- and his reasoning was simple.
"I like to go first, especially when you’re playing good," he said. "Statistically … the team that scores first in the shootout wins the higher percentage. If you shoot first, you have a better chance to score first. Not very thoughtful in the process, but when you’re playing well, it’s nice to go first."
-- After Philadelphia flew by the Canes 5-1 in the two teams’ first meeting this season in December, the Hurricanes have won three straight against the Flyers, all at home. A constant of that has been Cam Ward in net, who allowed a total of four goals in that span, stopping 67 of 71 shots (.944 save percentage) in the process.
"I never really look at it as I’ve won three games against them. We just seem to play well as a team against them, and that’s a credit to the guys," he said. "We haven’t been real happy with our efforts these last couple of games. It was important that we came home, knowing that it was hand your jersey off at the end of the night, that everybody get in a good mood and put in a good effort."
-- It had been since March 21 that the Canes had last scored first in a game. Then, it was Elias Lindholm beating Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers. Today, it was again Lindholm, potting his 17th goal of the season on a rebound from a Jordan Staal shot.
Staal then netted a goal of his own in the second period to give the Canes a 2-0 lead. He stripped Nicklas Grossman of the puck in the neutral zone and raced off to a two-on-one with his brother to his left. He elected to hang on to the puck and ripped a shot past Ray Emery, who came into today’s game with a 5-0-0 record and a 0.74 goals-against average in his career against Carolina.
"Yeah, I figured Eric had enough. I wanted to get one," Jordan said of his goal. "It’s been slow in the goal column for me for a while. To be honest, I didn’t really look at the net much. I just kind of closed my eyes and fired it. Thankfully it went in."
"That line was good, eh?" Peters said of the E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm trio. "They got us on the board early and had other good looks."
"It’s fun game playing with those two guys. Eric is such a big body. He reads the play well and makes good plays with the puck to create room," said Jordan, who was given the fireman's helmet. "Lindy does the same thing; he holds onto it and lets guys come to him, which gives you space in the middle."
-- Michael Raffl’s net-front deflection of a Sean Couturier point shot on the power play midway through the second period brought the Flyers within a goal. Philadelphia then evened the score late in regulation, as Couturier slipped the puck through Ward’s five-hole.
"It’s never easy when you get scored on late, but I didn’t sense any panic," Ward said. "I thought in the overtime period, we had some looks. I don’t think we gave up a shot … and we were able to bear down. It was a good mental test for the guys, and it’s important that we keep it going to end the season."
-- The Hurricanes will now embark on their last road trip of the season. Carolina will play three games in four nights, traveling to Buffalo, Detroit and Philadelphia before finishing out the season at home a week from today against Detroit.
"For the most part this season, we’ve been pretty good here in our building," Eric said. "We need to keep improving, and now it’s the steps on the road that we need to get better at."