The Carolina Hurricanes returned to Raleigh after seven straight road games and won their first game at home this season with a 3-2 defeat of the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night in front of 9,343 at the PNC Arena.
It was the third consecutive win for the Hurricanes.
Victor Rask scored his fourth of the season, Justin Faulk his fourth, and Jeff Skinner his second, but Kris Versteeg was the game's first star because of some beautiful playmaking throughout the contest.
After the game I asked Versteeg about assuming the role of playmaker for this team and he responded that he was still just trying to fill in as he is needed.
"I consider myself to be a better passer than shooter and I do look to try to make a play when I can, but I try to score some goals as well for this team, whatever I can do to contribute," he said.
After the Avs took a 1-0 lead early in the second period, Versteeg patiently skated the puck to the net and set up Rask with a perfect pass right on his stick, directly in front of the Colorado net. Rask was able to keep his stick on the ice and chipped in the puck to tie up the score, 1-1 at 12:00 into the second.
Earlier in the period, Faulk hit the post and had the puck roll along the goal line. After a review it was determined there was no goal but the defenseman would light the lamp later in the second period on another blast from the point to give the Canes a lead they would never lose.
It was Faulk's fourth goal of the season and all of them are powerplay tallies.
Skinner got close a couple of times in this game and finally found an opening when he beat Semyon Varlamov with a sniper shot five minutes and change into the third period. He is a player who can get hot in a hurry so it should be interesting to keep an eye on him in upcoming games.
Cam Ward was very good again in this game and only allowed one goal throughout most of it. The Avs used an extra attacker late, they were battling in close, and made the score 3-2, with just 32 seconds left.
Ward finished with 28 saves on 30 shots.
The Canes will next face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
- Ryan Murphy also had two assists in this game and skated the puck in the zone repeatedly, trying to create plays.
- The Canes ended up being outshot 30-26, but had a healthy edge in the second period and early in the third, until they had a two goal lead. Rask had a team high four.
- Brett Pesce earned his first NHL point on Skinner's goal. He continues to impress and led the team with two blocked shots. He had 21:29 of ice time, right behind Faulk and Liles who each had 22 minutes and change.
- Carolina went 1-4 on the powerplay and killed all the penalties they took, including some 5-on-3 time in the first period.