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Game Analysis: Canucks At Hurricanes

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Cam Ward's sprawling save on Keith Ballard is a stop that will be long-remembered. (Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbk-ltd/collections/72157619609115405/">Jamie Kellner</a>)
Cam Ward's sprawling save on Keith Ballard is a stop that will be long-remembered. (Photo by Jamie Kellner)

The NHL's best continue to bring the best out of the Carolina Hurricanes. New coach Kirk Muller earned his first RBC Center — soon to be PNC Arena — win Thursday when the Canes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to knock off the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, in Raleigh. Recent call-up Drayson Bowman scored twice, Jaroslav Spacek got his first goal with Carolina, and Tuomo Ruutu added a deflection goal to power the Hurricanes.

Cam Ward earned his 10th win of the season as the Canes improved to 10-18-5 and moved past the New York Islanders and out of the Eastern Conference cellar with 25 points.

Three Observations

1. Ward will never surpass the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 save he made on Fernando Pisani just due to the sheer amount of importance it had. But his save last night — masterfully captured above by our Jamie Kellner — was, simply, one for the memory banks. For those who didn't see it — or just want to see it again — enjoy.

2. It may not have looked, at first glance, like a big night from Tim Gleason, but the numbers prove otherwise. Carolina's alternate captain logged a season-high 27:05 (three-plus minutes more than any game this season) for the most he's had in a regulation game since he played 27:38 against Ottawa on Nov. 7, 2008 — the night Peter Laviolette broke the mark for most wins by an American-born coach. Throw in five hits, six blocked shots and three shots on goal, and Gleason contributed heavily to one of Carolina's best all-around efforts by its defense corps on the season.

3. Speaking of the rest of the defense, in three games Spacek has already fit in better than Tomas Kaberle, the player he was traded for, did in his time here. Spacek's calm demeanor, all-around skill and enthusiasm have been a huge plus for the Canes. But most importantly, he is serving as a veteran mentor to D partner Justin Faulk. Spacek can often be seen talking to Faulk after a shift, and he is very verbal on the ice in helping the young rookie. The guidance from Spacek has Faulk looking more comfortable and confident with each passing game, reminiscent of Erik Cole's influence on Jeff Skinner last season.

Number To Know

19:07 — Career high in ice time for Bowman, who rewarded Muller with two goals, the third and fourth of his NHL career. The previous two also came as twins on April 6, 2010. On that night two seasons ago, Bowman played his previous high in minutes (17:06). Perhaps most impressive was that Muller gave Bowman seven minutes in the first period, before the 22-year-old even notched his first goal of the night.

Plus

Drayson Bowman — A great night for a young player who is trying to break through and become a full-fledged NHLer. Bowman's marksmanship as a junior player hasn't yet translated into piles of goals as a professional (his career high came with the River Rats in his AHL rookie season, when he scored 17 in 2009-10), but his top-notch shot and willingness to crash the net were exhibited in each of his goals.

Minus

Jussi Jokinen — Jokinen finished the night with a secondary assist and a plus-1, but Carolina's best playmaker still seems to be in a funk. Yes, he now has assists in three of four games, but his goalless streak has hit 12 games and he has just 19 shots over that stretch.