The Carolina Hurricanes continued their hot play as they got scoring from multiple lines while defeating the Ottawa Senators, 6-3 on Saturday afternoon in front of 11,458 at the PNC Arena.
It was the third win in a row for the Hurricanes, who have now won four of their last five, and nine of their last 12 games.
Manny Malhotra scored twice, both times on pretty feeds from Nathan Gerbe, to lead a balanced Carolina attack in the win.
Gerbe got the scoring started at 10:30 in the opening period with a shot from a tight angle along the goal line which somehow bounced in the net off of goalie Robin Lehner's pads.
The first period ended quietly, 1-0, but the second period would be a wild one for both teams.
At 6:05 into the second, Alexander Semin made a nice play in his own end with some fancy stickhandling, and then rifled a long pass to Eric Staal, who was breaking into the clear at the Ottawa blueline. The pass hit Staal in stride and the captain beat Lehner five hole to make it 2-0, home team.
Just 32 seconds later, Gerbe saucered a pass to Malhotra, who was able to get his stick on it to knock it past the Ottawa goalie. With the score 3-0, the Carolina crowd was rocking, but the scoring was far from over.
A few minutes after that, Andrej Sekera put on a skating display in the Senators' zone as he was circling around, looking for an open teammate to pass to. The defenseman finally found one and zipped the puck to Riley Nash, who was wide open and seemed to have all kinds of time. Nash settled the puck, made a phone call for some pizza, and then picked a corner to make it 4-0, Canes.
The Sens did not give up though and Kyle Turris would score twice, once shorthanded, to make it 4-2. But Tuomo Ruutu would score his first goal in what seemed like forever, to make it 5-2, with just 33 seconds left in the wild period.
Then just 10 seconds after the Ruutu goal, the Sens scored again on a weird play to make it 5-3 going into the final intermission. In all, seven goals were scored that period, making fans wonder what would happen in the third period.
But Carolina tightened things up and held the Senators scoreless the rest of the way.
Craig Anderson came in net for Ottawa in that last period and did not allow a goal. Malhotra scored an empty netter when Gerbe unselfishly fed him a pass with a minute and change left in the game to make it, 6-3 Carolina.
Anton Khudobin picked up the win for the home team as he made 23 saves on 26 shots. After the game, the Russian goalie was asked about having to play so many games in a short period of time.
"If the coach asked me, I would play all 82 games," the goalie said.
Each of the Carolina lines had positive moments and Kirk Muller finally seems to have found good chemistry throughout the lineup.
Eric Staal mentioned that he felt that the first line of Semin, Tlusty, and himself was back to performing like they were last season. The second line of Jeff Skinner, Elias Lindholm, and Jordan Staal came close many times to scoring.
Skinner hit the post once and Staal, twice.
The Canes will be tested though when they face another red hot team, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at the PNC. The team will take Sunday off.
- Ruutu had a team high five hits to go with his goal. Muller said that it was his best game of the season.
- The Canes outshot the Sens 32-26. Faulk and Sekera had a team best four shots each.
- Sekera also had three block shots with two assists and was named the game's first star. He and Faulk each had over 25 minutes of ice time.
- Manny also won 62% of his faceoffs, a team high.