|WSH||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|CAR||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Carolina Hurricanes continue to play a full 60 minutes, and they continue their dominance at home. The Canes have won three of their last four and seven of their last 10 games at home. Tonight’s 3-0 win marks the team’s first win over Washington in four tries this season. Bolstered by Jussi Jokinen’s two goals and Cam Ward’s 23 saves, the Canes emerged victorious. “It was a good effort on everybody who dressed tonight,” head coach Kirk Muller said. One term Muller has thrown around a lot is having “passengers,” referring to players who are or are not on board with the game plan. With the exception of the Nashville game, the Canes haven’t had passengers in eight games now. Everyone seems to be buying into the gameplan that Muller and his staff are preaching, and it’s turning into results. While the Canes might be a long shot at making the postseason, it isn’t out of the picture for them. “We still feel our season is wide open,” Jokinen said. Jokinen busted a 25-game goalless streak on Sunday in Washington. Tonight, he scored a shorthanded goal and a power play goal. Maybe playing the Capitals every night would help pad his statistics a bit more. “For some reason, I feel good playing against them,” he said. We talked this morning about Ward playing his best hockey of the season in his last six games. Tonight, he continued that, earning his first shutout since Oct. 28 against Chicago. He made 23 saves tonight, and has stopped 63 of his last 64 shots he’s seen. His save percentage in his last seven games is a solid .952. In seven straight games now, Ward has given up two goals or less. Eric Staal also continues to play his best hockey of the season. He recorded two assists tonight and earned third star honors. When asked why Staal has been so good as of late, Ward said, “Because he’s an awesome player, plain and simple. He’s one of the most dominant players in the League. Things weren’t going for him early on, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. It’s great to see that he’s finally getting rewarded for the hard work he’s putting in.”
Jiri Tlusty’s goal late in the third period is one to see again. If you haven’t watched the highlights, check them out above. It’s worth seeing again, even if you have. Tlusty busted around the Washington defense, and, as he was falling to the ice, was able to tap the puck into the net. It was a beauty, and it capped an all-around dominant effort for the Hurricanes.
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Jussi Jokinen scored when the Carolina Hurricanes were both up and down a man. That kind of production made their special teams seem, well, pretty special.
Jokinen had two goals and Cam Ward made 23 saves for his 18th career shutout in the Hurricanes' 3-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
The Hurricanes, who entered in last place in the Southeast Division, beat the first-place Capitals for the first time this season and defeated them in regulation at home for the first time in more than two years.
"It's a huge thing for us. We still feel our division is wide open, and our best chance to make the playoffs is to win the division," Jokinen said. "Obviously, that's a huge feeling ... I hope we can keep climbing up."
Tomas Vokoun stopped 30 shots for Washington, which had won four of five and entered 8-0-1 in its last nine against Carolina. The Capitals were 0 for 3 on the power play while the Hurricanes had two goals with the man advantage plus the short-handed one, leading new coach Dale Hunter to conclude that special teams were the difference in this one.
"Our power play gave up more chances than we got," he said.
Ward earned his fourth career shutout against Washington. He was impenetrable in his second shutout of the season and first since blanking Chicago in October.
His best save might have come midway through the second period, when he froze while making a pretty glove save on Mathieu Perreault's slap shot, perhaps unsure of whether he actually had the puck.
"I thought we worked our butts off and played a solid 60-minute game," Ward said. "It's a tough team to play against. They play a different style now. They're looking for that low-scoring (game), not their traditional 6-5 games in the past. You've got to be careful because you're not doing a whole lot of work, but they've got a ton of skill over there, and we were sharp all night."
The Capitals weren't, with right wing Troy Brouwer saying they were "just lazy."
"We got outworked," he said. "We tried to make cute, tough plays through the seams. I was a culprit of that once or twice as well. We're not pointing fingers at anybody, but we've just got to collectively work harder."
They've also got to figure out how to slow Jokinen, who once again played his best against them. Four of his seven goals this season have come against the Capitals, including his team's lone goal in a 2-1 loss in Washington five nights earlier.
"For some reason, I feel good playing against them," Jokinen said.
He would have had a hat trick by the second intermission - had Vokoun not used his glove to rob him on a breakaway with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second.
He put the Hurricanes up 2-0 in the final minute of the second. With 29 seconds left on an interference minor to Dennis Wideman, Jay Harrison fired a shot off Vokoun's pads and Jokinen sent a rebound past the goalie.
That came after Staal made the key play that led to the Hurricanes' first goal with 7:17 left in the first.
Hustling and forechecking on the penalty kill, the Carolina captain poked the puck from John Carlson just inside the blue line. Staal then tapped the puck to Jokinen, who was storming toward Vokoun and beat the goalie with a wrist shot that left Carlson whacking his stick on the ice in frustration.
"As a group and as a team, we're playing a lot more of a consistent brand," Staal said. "We haven't won every game, but at least we felt good about our losses, if that makes any sense. We've competed hard and been in every game, and played a brand that, if we can do (that) for 60 minutes, we'll get the right results."
NOTES: Staal has points in four straight home games. ... Only the New Jersey Devils (11) have more short-handed goals than the Hurricanes. ... Washington RW Mike Knuble rang the left post while facing an open net roughly 2 minutes into the second. ... Carolina C Jeff Skinner played his first home game since returning from a concussion that cost him 16 games.
|Derek Joslin Fighting (maj) against Matt Hendricks|
|Matt Hendricks Fighting (maj) against Derek Joslin|
|Justin Faulk Tripping against Marcus Johansson|
|Tuomo Ruutu Hi-sticking against John Carlson|
|Mike Knuble Holding against Derek Joslin|
|Dennis Wideman Interference against Patrick Dwyer|
|Brandon Sutter Hooking against Brooks Laich|
|Cody Eakin Too many men/ice - bench|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:46|
|Saves: 30||EV: 26 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 4|
|SV%: .909||SH: 2 - 3|
|SA: 23||TOI: 59:53|
|Saves: 23||EV: 22 - 22|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|