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Game Analysis: On The Right Side Of 2-1

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Eric Staal notched the lone shootout goal Sunday to push Carolina past Boston, 2-1. The fourth line struck again for the Hurricanes, with Patrick Dwyer notching his third goal of the year for Carolina’s loan regulation marker.

Anton Khudobin won his second straight start after dropping his first 10 starts of the season.
Anton Khudobin won his second straight start after dropping his first 10 starts of the season.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina won its second straight game Sunday, knocking off the Boston Bruins in the shootout from a 2-1 victory. Patrick Dwyer scored in regulation and Eric Staal had the only shootout goal, while Anton Khudobin knocked off his former team in his first game against his old squad since leaving Beantown for Raleigh.

Three Observations

1. Patrick Dwyer’s first period goal gave Carolina a 1-0 lead and marked the second straight game that the Canes got offense from its fourth line. The line of Jay McClement centering Dwyer and Brad Malone was the fourth line GM Ron Francis and coach Bill Peters planned on all along, and with injuries subsiding and Malone finally rounding into form, the trio is playing like it’s up to the task.

2. Ryan Murphy finished with seven shot attempts (four on goal) in 20:33, but confidence is still lacking in Carolina’s former first round pick. For one, Murphy seems unwilling to carry the puck up the ice — one of his biggest assets — and is either reluctant to shoot or still not up to speed with the lack of time and space available in the NHL. In the past I have given plenty of "there is still time for Murphy" proclamations, but one has to wonder if Murphy will ever make the leap. Nashville’s Ryan Ellis, the best comparison to Murphy, played 64 total NHL games in 2011-12 and 2012-13 with little offensive production (17 points) but finally cracked the Predators roster and came through last year, registering 27 points in 80 games. Ellis, who turned 24 this week, has 17 points through 38 games this year, a 36-point pace. Murphy has now played 61 NHL games with 13 points in parts of three seasons and turns 22 in March. The clock is officially ticking.

3. With Alexander Semin and Andrej Nestrasil close to returning, the competition for ice time will intensify. The players who most need to be looking over their shoulder are Zach Boychuk (already a scratch vs. Boston) and Chris Terry. But unless the team ships out an expiring contract (McClement, Dwyer or Jiri Tlusty), someone like Malone could also be in the press box.

Number To Know

.957 — Khudobin’s save percentage in his past three starts. Khudobin has won his last two starts after going winless in his first 10, and he has allowed just one goal in each of his past three appearances while stopping 67 of 70 shots faced.

Plus

Anton Khudobin — A season and a half removed from his stint with the Bruins, Khudobin finally got a crack at old team. He made it count. Khudobin didn't see much of anything for most of the first period, but he made huge saves on Reilly Smith and Chris Kelly to keep the game scoreless until Carolina finally broke through.

Minus

Riley Nash — Nash continues to struggle. While his scoring is still mired in a slump, Nash was also outplayed in his own zone and at the faceoff dotl. Twice he was manhandled by Boston’s Carl Soderberg in the Carolina zone, unable to stop the Bruins’ big forward as he created good scoring chances. Nash was also won just 5 of 13 faceoffs on the night.