The Carolina Hurricanes skated a full 60 minute game on Friday night and defeated the St. Louis Blues, 3-1 in front of 16,035 at the PNC Arena. The Canes played a really solid first period, something that has been lacking from time to time this season, and scored first in this contest.
The team is also starting to enjoy home cooking as they have now won three games in a row on home ice and five of their last six. The club has 11 wins in their last 15 games, (since New Year's Eve.) They have a 25-20-9 record, good for 59 points and third place in the Metro Division.
Anton Khudobin earned the win while making 26 saves on 27 shots. He now has a 14-4 record along with a sparkling .927 save percentage. A few of the saves were grade A as he exploded from post to post to stop a couple of odd man rushes.
The Hurricanes started off their scoring during a powerplay chance just 3:36 into the game. Andrej Sekera found an open Nathan Gerbe, who one-timed the puck past Jaroslav Halak to make it 1-0, home team.
Sekera is the third highest scorer for the Canes with 8 goals, 23 assists, and 31 points. The defenseman now has career high goals and points already this season.
Later in the period, David Backes would tie things up for the Blues with a powerplay tally of his own.
Early in the second period, 1:51 in, Jeff Skinner scored off of a Jordan Staal face off win to put the home team up for good. It was Skinner's 23rd goal of the season which leads Carolina.
The teams battled back and forth with exciting, up and down hockey, but the score would stay 2-1 until near the end when Alexander Semin stole the puck from Alex Pietrangelo and skated it in to shoot on the empty net which put the game away.
Pietrangelo is the player who hit Semin up high in St. Louis, giving the Russian a concussion and knocking him out of the lineup for a few games. Semin lined him up for a hard hit along the boards in the second period, but the ref called boarding as the defenseman turned right before Semin connected with the hit.
The Canes were able to kill that penalty though and two others as they went 1-4 on their penalty kill and powerplay.
The home team saluted their fans again after the game in the new tradition that started a few games ago. They will next take on the Winnipeg Jets with new head coach Paul Maurice on Tuesday night in game two of their four game homestand.
- Carolina outshot the Blues 31-27. Jeff Skinner led the way with six shots on goal. The Blues also blocked 25 shots.
- Brett Bellemore made a nice return after a few games off and led the team with five hits. He also had a team high two blocked shots.
- The Canes had 17 takeaways. Elias Lindholm had a team high three. The team also had 23 giveaways, led by Jordan Staal with three.
- The Blues are a high scoring team and average over three goals a game, so the Hurricanes had an excellent defensive effort to hold them under that.