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Canes close out preseason with four straight wins

Cam Ward made 34 saves to lead Carolina over Pittsburgh on Friday night
Cam Ward made 34 saves to lead Carolina over Pittsburgh on Friday night
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes got goals from Jordan Staal and Chris Terry as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1 on Friday night at the PNC Arena.

The win gave the team a 4-2 preseason record, along with four wins in a row.

But even though they have been playing well enough to win games, head coach Bill Peters is not satisfied.  He emphasized after the game that the powerplay and penalty kill still need improvement.  He also is still not happy with his club's rhythm.  Look for more tinkering with the lines coming up.

At the end of a pretty evenly played first period, the Canes took a 1-0 lead when Jordan Staal found the back of the net with a nifty shot with just 31 seconds left.

The Canes were battling to get to the front of the net and had pretty good puck movement through the first half of the game.  Peters said that things slowed down after his team started taking penalties in the second half.

Just 2:09 into the third period, Chris Terry made it 2-0 when he used Kris Versteeg as a screen and lit the lamp with a nice shot.  He was teased a bit in the dressing room after the game because apparently the shot deflected in off a player.

But the Penguins were not done. Just five minutes later, Pascal Dupuis scored on a pretty backhander to bring the visitors within one.

The Canes held on though, with help from goalie Cam Ward who was on top of his game this night.  Ward made key saves against Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and he looked solid between the pipes all night long.

After the game, the goalie said that he felt ready to go to start the regular season.  His head coach agrees, as Peters said that he will start Ward in the season opener against Nashville on Thursday night.

The team will have a closed practice Saturday, take Sunday off, then prepare for their opener on Monday.

There are still decisions to be made about who will make the team and who will get reassigned.  The coaching staff will make those announcements soon.

Game Notes:

  • Justin Faulk led the team with 25:38 of ice time.  John-Michael Liles was next with 24:03. 
  • Eric Staal only had 14:49 of ice time and did not have a single shot on goal.
  • The team was outshot 35-30 because they were back on their heels a bit in the third period.  They ended up killing four penalties, including a four minute high-sticking penalty by James Wisniewski.  They only had one powerplay chance themselves and did not score on that chance.
  • Faulk had a team high five shots on goal.
  • The Canes had a total of 22 hits and were led by Liles with four.  Liles also had a team high three blocked shots.