Game Analysis: Senators At Hurricanes

Grant Halverson

Facing the Eastern Conference's top team at home before heading out on a six-game road trip didn't intimidate the Carolina Hurricanes, who toppled the Ottawa Senators, 1-0, behind a great effort from Dan Ellis and Eric Staal's fifth goal of the season.

Alexander Semin and Eric Staal again combined for a goal, and it would be the game's only tally as Dan Ellis stopped 27 shots for his second win in as many starts for the Hurricanes and his first shutout in more than two years. Here's more from the Canes' 1-0 home win.

Three Observations

1. Jiri Tlusty is still without a point on the season, but there's no denying his impact on the top line. The Czech forward created a couple scoring chances, including a golden one for Semin that Craig Anderson snuffed out, and his defensive game allows his linemates the opportunity to take chances in the offensive zone.

2. Justin Faulk looked no worse for wear after missing a game with an upper-body injury. Carolina's No. 1 defenseman — yes, that's what he is — logged a team-high 25:08, including 4:18 on the Hurricanes' perfect penalty kill. Having Faulk back meant Joni Pitkanen was down about six minutes in total ice time from what he played the past two games, which should leave the entire D better prepared for the quick turnaround game in Philadelphia Saturday. On the whole, coach Kirk Muller and his staff get a great job of spreading out the minutes while still coming away with two points.

3. Andreas Nodl made his 7:35 of ice time count. Back in the lineup after a stint in the AHL, Nodl impressed with his neutral zone play and hustle. He was one of four Carolina bottom-six forwards to log less than 10 minutes. No one on Ottawa played single-digit minutes.

Number To Know

.977/0.75 — Ellis' save percentage and goals-against average, respectively, in three appearances this season. Those rank as the best numbers in the NHL of any goalie with more than one appearance.

Plus

Dan Ellis — Ellis wasn't stand-on-his-head spectacular Friday, but he made the clutch saves when Carolina needed him to. Will Muller stick with the hot hand and give Ellis the nod again Saturday in Philadelphia? I wouldn't count on it, but doing so might not be the worst decision, either.

Minus

Jamie McBain — It was one of those nights where it was hard to find fault anywhere. But the biggest minus moment of the night was McBain's high stick of Chris Neil around the game's midway point that drew blood and set the Senators up with a four-minute power play. But the Canes picked up McBain, doing a particularly spectacular job of neutralizing Ottawa catalyst Erik Karlsson.

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