The up-again, down-again roller coaster that is the Carolina Hurricanes trended in the right direction Tuesday with a 4-1 win at Washington. Justin Peters — back in his role as the Canes No. 2 with Cam Ward healthy — got the start and a team-high fifth win by stopping 26 shots. The Hurricanes also continued their second period dominance, scoring three times in less than five minutes to put away the Capitals.
1. Jeff Skinner scored. Jiri Tlusty scored. Eric Staal had two more points. Are Carolina’s big horses finally coming to life? After hovering near two goals scored per game all season, the Canes have averaged three goals in their past seven games and scored four goals in each of their three wins during that stretch. Carolina should get a scoring boost when Alexander Semin returns to the lineup, and with the defense playing well most nights the Canes have a foundation to build on. The key is, of course, consistency.
2.Ward started the past five games — going 2-2-1 — before yielding the nets for a night back to Peters, who has played the best hockey of his career this season. Peters played well again Tuesday, reigniting the discussion about what Carolina should do when backup Anton Khudobin is healthy enough to be back in the lineup and the team has three goalies at its disposal. Trade Peters or Khudobin? Carry three goalies? Risk losing Peters on waivers for nothing? It's a tough decision that could shape not only the rest of 2013-14, but the Hurricanes for seasons to come.
3. Justin Faulk’s four-game point streak was snapped, but he looked as good as he has any game this season after being reunited with partner Andrej Sekera. Sekera scored again — his career-high sixth of the season — but Faulk re-emerged as a workhorse in all three zones. He played a game-high 26:43, had four shots and four blocks, and led the way in holding the Capitals — the Eastern Conference’s second-highest scoring team — to just one goal.
Number To Know
3-0 — Peters’ record on Tuesdays this season after getting the victory over the Capitals. He is 2-6-1 on the other days of the week. It was also his first road win of the year.
Jeff Skinner — Goal scorers find a way to score, and that's what Skinner did Tuesday. He first squeezed a bad angle shot through Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to open scoring in the first, then ripped a short-side tally past him in the second for the eventual game winner. He now has six goals in 17 games — a 29-goal pace over a normal 82-game season — and is looking confident.
Drayson Bowman — For the second straight game, Bowman took an untimely penalty in the first period. While it cost the Canes vs. Vancouver, his teammates bailed him out Tuesday by killing off the infraction. It's important for a bottom six forward to bring value without making detrimental plays, and the past two outings Bowman’s penalties have overshadowed his play on the ice.