The Carolina Hurricanes got a glimpse of the future on Wednesday night, and it looks pretty good. Two rookies, Jeff Skinner and Jamie McBain, each scored twice to lead the Canes to a 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in front of 18,701 at the RBC.
Skinner scored the first two goals of the game, his 28th and 29th of the season, with the help of linemate Tuomo Ruutu.
The Finn forced a turnover on the first goal with a nasty forecheck. The puck came right out to Skinner and the rookie made no mistake.
About four minutes later, still in the first period, Ruutu made a nice pass to the rookie, who was cutting toward the net. The 18-year-old then made a pretty move as he faked out Carey Price and roofed in his shot with a backhander to make it 2-0, and the Canes never looked back.
Mike Cammalleri would score a powerplay goal 5:23 into the second period, but McBain answered less than a minute later with a laser from the point.
Joni Pitkanen would then make it 4-1 when he blasted in a loose puck from about 30 feet out.
Carey Price was given the rest of the night off as Jacques Martin replaced him with Alex Auld to start the third period.
About nine minutes into the third, P.K. Subban rifled in another powerplay goal for the visitors from the blueline, but McBain wasn't finished for the night. The defenseman paired up for a 2-on-1 break with Drayson Bowman and made the decision to shoot. It was the right call as his wrist shot beat Auld on the short side.
McBain was asked if he was thinking shot the whole time.
"I was thinking about a pass, but saw an opening and went for it," said the blueliner.
Cory Stillman would close out the scoring with just 2:13 left with a powerplay tally of his own. Things got a bit chippy right before that. Roman Hamrlik was called for hooking Bowman, who went down in a heap. Chad LaRose skated in to add his two cents. and the next thing you know a crowd gathered and Tim Gleason was ready to go with Benoit Pouliot.
Both skaters were given 10 minute misconducts, along with Subban, and left the game.
Jeff Skinner would get very close to scoring his first NHL career hat trick, but just missed it because of a nice Auld save.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- The Canes have now won five of their last six games and picked a perfect time to start scoring. Coincidentally enough, the powerplay has come alive during this streak.
- Both Ward and Ruutu said in the dressing room that they still feel they can make it to the playoffs. They have the confidence, now all they have to do is do it.
- Speaking of scoring, this is the first game in a month the team has won by more than one goal. It's only the second time it's happened in the last 26 games. (glove tap to Richard for the timely email)
- The Canes are now 18-0-1 when leading after one period and 25-1-0 when leading after two.
- Erik Cole picked up an assist and passed Ray Ferraro for 10th place on the franchise's all time assist list. (194)
- Jamie McBain had one of the best games in his NHL career. Not only did he score two goals, he blocked four shots, high for both teams.
- The team had 27 hits to just 10 for Montreal. Guess who, Ruutu led both teams with five. Drayson Bowman was next with four.
- Ruutu laughed after the game about his hit on Hal Gill which broke the glass. It's not the first time he has done it.
- Cam Ward had another outstanding game and made 38 saves on 40 shots. Didn't he just do that the previous night? He was 17 of 17 in the first period alone.
- The Canes combined for 35 shots and were led by Pitkanen and Skinner with five each. Eric Staal had four.
- Paul Maurice had praise for the team and a bit extra for Ruutu, who led the team the previous night in Washington with eight hits. "That Ruutu line was so good last night, and you wonder how much Ruutu can give in a back-to-back, and he throws that hit and that's the goal. It's inspirational to the rest of the hockey club."