Eric Staal earned his first hat trick of the season -- as well as the 11th of his career -- at the RBC on Wednesday night as the Carolina Hurricanes blew out the Ottawa Senators, 7-1. Staal scored twice on the powerplay in the first period and tipped in one more while at even strength in the third on a nice rush with Sergei Samsonov.
Chad LaRose knocked in two goals himself as the first line accounted for a total of 11 points.
Tim Gleason started off the scoring for the Hurricanes as he and LaRose hooked up during a two on one rush just 4:25 into the game. Then the home team could do no wrong as Staal scored his two goals and LaRose put in his first as the Canes took a 4-0 lead into the dressing room at the close of the opening period.
After a scoreless second period -- during which Paul Maurice called a time out to wake his troops up -- LaRose opened the third when he put back a rebound from a Jamie McBain shot to make it 5-0.
Daniel Alfredsson ruined the shutout bid when he knocked in a powerplay goal for the Sens, but it was all Canes after that. Staal would net his third goal, off a perfect pass by Samsonov, then Tuomo Ruutu closed the scoring when he rocketed a blast of a one-timer past Pascal Leclaire, who had come into the game at 4-0 to spell Brian Elliott. Erik Cole set up Ruutu perfectly as he rushed past a defenseman, circled behind the net, then passed to the Finn, who was open inside the slot area.
While the Canes played well, it must be noted that the Senators had attended services for Luke Richardson's daughter earlier in the day and flew into Raleigh late in the afternoon for the game. They understandably did not have their hearts into this contest.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- Staal finished with 5 points and a (+4), LaRose had 4 points and a (+4), and Joe Corvo also had a (+4).
- Tim Gleason had a multi-point night with a goal and an assist.
- The penalty killers looked like they just wanted to play offense all game long. Staal had two breakaway chances, but was unable to finish. Sutter had one and he hit the post with his attempt. There were a couple of other odd man rushes as well. On one sequence, Patrick Dwyer chased the puck all over the Sens zone, kept it in the zone by himself, and almost stole it for a good chance.
- The Canes only won 40% of their faceoffs with no individual winning more than 45%.
- It was not a huge hitting game, although there was a bit of chippiness from time to time. Tuomo Ruutu led the Canes with four hits.
- The team had 28 shots on goal led by Staal with six. Jussi Jokinen was next with four. Jokinen also had two assists on his bobblehead night.