The Carolina Hurricanes gave their home fans a nice treat the night before Thanksgiving with a solid, 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in front of 10,911 at the PNC Arena.
Cam Ward did not have to stand on his head but he sure made the stops he needed to make and finished with 30 saves on 31 shots for the night. He was named the game's first star.
After the Oilers took a 1-0 lead on a powerplay goal just seven minutes into the game, Jordan Staal tied it up with a shot/pass from behind the goal line that looked like it hit a skate and got past goalie Anders Nilsson.
The goal came with just 15 seconds left in the period and was a real momentum builder for the home team.
Coach Bill Peters said the goal was "huge". "Those goals in the first and last minute, they're huge in our sport. Especially in the situation we were down one. Now you go into the room and you feel better about yourself. It definitely gave us momentum."
Half way into the second period, Elias Lindholm made it 2-1 when he scooped up a puck at center ice and took it in with Brett Pesce, who was breaking in on the opposite wing. Lindholm faked pass and then shot, fooling Nilsson.
After the game when asked if he was thinking about passing, he quipped, "I have not scored in awhile so I was looking for my shot the whole way."
Later in the second, Jeff Skinner would get on the board off of a nice pass by Justin Faulk. The pass did hit an Oiler first and then Skinner's foot, but he was in front of the net establishing presence and got the puck in the net.
With less than a minute left in the game, Faulk got on the scoresheet again with another assist when he settled down a loose puck and fed it to Andrej Nestrasil, who buried a center ice open net shot to close out the scoring.
Nestrasil deserved that goal and had played a good game, along with linemates Joakim Nordstrom and Jordan Staal. They created several chances during the night.
There is no rest for the weary as the Hurricanes will practice Thanksgiving morning, then board a plane to Buffalo for a game against the Sabres on Friday night.
- The Canes were outshot 31-27 but made their shots count in this one. Skinner led the team with five followed by "Nesty" who had four.
Brad Malone led the team with four hits. The team's total was 20.
- Oilers forward Nail Yakupov got tangled up with a linesman and may have gotten badly injured in the fall. He had to be helped from the ice and the Oilers did not look like the same team afterward.
- The Canes had 23 takeaways and won 56% of the game's faceoffs. They lead the league in the latter stat.