The Carolina Hurricanes dominated the Phoenix Coyotes in almost every aspect of the hockey game last night, and came away with their largest goal total of the season, 7-2. Tuomo Ruutu had two goals with an assist and Sergei Samsonov had four points, (1G, 3A), to lead the way.
The win, coupled with Florida's loss at Washington, moved the Canes into eighth place in the conference.
The Hurricanes started the scoring off almost immediately as Eric Staal drew a penalty just 26 seconds into the game and Tuomo Ruutu scored a powerplay goal less than a minute afterwards. But Phoenix tied the game up a bit later and the opening period ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Canes drew first blood again early in the second period when Eric Staal made a beautiful move from the right slot area, beating Ilya Bryzgalov at the far post. It was the second powerplay goal of the game for Carolina. Not too long afterwards, Shane Doan would score a powerplay marker of his own tying it up once again, but after that it was all Hurricanes. Matt Cullen would score yet another powerplay goal, and Ruutu would tip in an Anton Babchuk shot at even strength, making the score 4-2 at the end of the second.
The Canes scored three more goals in the final period, each of them things of beauty in their own right. Patrick Eaves skated around two 'Yotes near the blueline, and rifled a shot past replacement goalie Mikael Tellqvist. Sergei Samsonov took a nice pass from Ruutu and fired a shot in the net for yet another powerplay tally, the fourth in the game for Carolina. Last but not least, Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose teamed up for yet another short-handed marker when Cullen found LaRose a step or two ahead of the competition. The hustling forward made the shot and closed out the scoring for the game.
The win was the fourth in the last five games for the streaking Canes who have also won six of their last eight. Next up will be Florida, their closest competition for a playoff spot, on Thursday night at the RBC.
Joe Corvo led all skaters with 29 minutes of ice time, blocked six shots, and was outstanding in his own end.
Cam Ward had a quiet, but solid game and made 30 saves on 32 shots.
The new kid in town, Jussi Jokinen is listed as a left winger, but centered Chad LaRose and Patrick Eaves. The maligned forward won 81% of his faceoffs, (13-16), had an assist, and finished with a (+1). Paul Maurice said that he only arrived at the arena about 30 minutes prior to the start of the game, so he had very little time to warm up and prepare. The coach was impressed. (Jokinen is used to taking faceoffs as he has won 266 so far this season).
Matt Cullen continued his torrid scoring pace with a goal and an assist and now has nine points in the last five games.
Tim Gleason dropped the gloves with tough guy Daniel Carcillo and held his own in the bout. He was even landing blows after he slipped and was down on the ice. Maurice said that the fight helped to wake up the team, which was a bit sluggish in the opening period.
Brandon Sutter also dropped the gloves, sticking up for himself after he thought he was hit a bit high. Sutter also held his own in the affair.
Anton Babchuk had another good game, but one could make a case for each of the Canes. They all played well.
The team finished with 41 shots on goal compared to 32 for Phoenix. For the second game in a row, they blocked shots like crazy. They had 20 compared to 9 for the competition.
Overall, they won 65% of their faceoffs with Cullen winning 71%, (15-21), a huge improvement from the San Jose game.