Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Coyotes

Jeff Skinner notched his 12th goal of the season in the third period against Phoenix. It was the game-winning goal as Carolina won 3-1. - Christian Petersen

The Carolina Hurricanes avenged their loss earlier this season to Phoenix Saturday night, knocking off the Coyotes 3-1 to move to 14-13-7, good for 35 points and sole possession of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Jeff Skinner worked his third-period magic again, notching the game-winner in Phoenix to give the Carolina Hurricanes 10 points in their past seven games — six of which were on the road. Justin Peters also improved to 7-8-2 and lowered his goals-against average to 2.16 and boosted his save percentage to .929 on the season.

Three Observations

1. Great players will often have monster nights, but to be a great point producer you need to pile up goals and assists without having a other-worldly performances. Without much fanfare, Eric Staal is doing that right now. Staal has been overshadowed by Skinner’s goal scoring since the two joined forces on the top line, but he has points in 14 of the past 16 games and is creeping toward returning to the scoring leaderboard. On Saturday, Staal assisted on both goals and padded his stats with an empty-netter to seal it, giving him his second three-point night of the season.

2. Carolina has allowed two regulation goals in the past two games, and they were scored by ... Paul Bissonnette and Brian McGrattan? It was the first goal of the year for both, who are known more for their punching power than their scoring prowess. For McGrattan, it was his seventh goal in 263 career NHL games, while Bissonette got his sixth in 183 games. Through Sunday's games, the duo had 539 and 298 career penalty minutes, respectively.

3. After their long road trip, the Hurricanes get nearly a week off to prepare for their big home game against the Capitals on Friday. Carolina is 2-0 against Washington this season and both teams will be well rested for their Metropolitan Division tilt as the Caps have two days off after a road game in Philadelphia on Tuesday. A Carolina win would clinch the five-game season series for the Canes, who have 3-2 and 4-1 wins against Washington already under their belt. It will also be a chancee to see Justin Faulk and John Carlson head to head as both look to earn a spot on Team USA's defense.

Number To Know

2 — points for Radim Vrbata in his career against the Carolina Hurricanes. The former Canes winger has played his best hockey when with the Coyotes and has compiled 438 points in 742 career games, including 204 goals. But the Canes have surrendered no goals and two assists in seven games to Vrbata. While he has played fewer games against the Canes (seven) than any other NHL team, he also has 10 PIMs when facing his former club — within six minutes of the most he has against any other squad. Winnipeg/Atlanta is the only other franchise he is yet to score a goal against.

Plus

Jeff Skinner — The kid keeps getting it done. Skinner now has goals in three straight and has eight goals (and two assists) in his last seven. He has 34 shots in that stretch (nearly five per game) and his 0.52 goals per game ranks tied for ninth in the NHL.

Minus

Radek Dvorak — You can't often find Dvorak out of position or gliding, but he did both on Bissonette's goal. After Drayson Bowman lost a mini battle with Jeff Halpern in the slot, Bissonette beat Dvorak back to the front of the net and was able to deflect Connor Murphy's shot past

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