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Game Analysis: Back To Back Vs. Stars, Vs. Senators

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A last-second rally and the team’s third 3-on-3 overtime win kept Carolina for dropping both weekend home games. Jordan Staal notched goals in both outings, including the OT game-winner against Ottawa.

Jordan Staal fires home the overtime game winner Saturday vs. the Senators, giving him a three-point weekend.
Jordan Staal fires home the overtime game winner Saturday vs. the Senators, giving him a three-point weekend.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes split their two games at home this weekend, but the way they got two points could be reason for hope going forward. The Hurricanes faltered in third after a tight game with the Stars, losing 4-1, but rallied late against the Senators to force overtime, then win their third 3-on-3 outing of the season.

Three Observations

1. Carolina’s fourth line — anchored by Jay McClement and Brock McGinn, with Andrej Nestrasil and Brad Malone alternating the third spot the two nights — had some excellent shifts both games, but there's no missing the fact that they were on the ice for three of the four even-strength goals (we're not counting Dallas’ empty-netter) the Hurricanes allowed over the weekend. Again, it's great to see the fourth line win shifts, but when the end result is the group allowing that many goals — specifically on home ice when the coaches can deploy them in advantageous situations — it becomes a failed weekend for the line.

2. Justin Faulk continues to be the NHL’s No. 1 power play weapon. He notched his fifth power play goal of the season Saturday, the most in the NHL, and now has all but one of Carolina’s six man-advantage markers. Carolina’s 27th ranked power play in converting at just a 13 percent clip, but even though opponents surely know Faulk is the top — and maybe only, at this point — threat, they haven't been able to stop him. Faulk also ranks tied for first in the league in power play shots with 21.

3. Not only did Jeff Skinner bust out of his scoring funk this weekend, he did so in dramatic fashion. The Carolina forward got his third goal of the year with less than four seconds left on the clock vs. Ottawa, tying the score with the Hurricanes’ goaltender pulled, to give the team a point in the standings. One can only hope it's a sign of things to come for Skinner, who has just four points but has now scored twice in the last four games. If both Skinner and Jordan Staal (see below) can get going, the Hurricanes can deploy two or even three scoring lines that will hopefully get them out of their "score one-goal and pray it's enough" mentality.

Number To Know

6 — Points in the last five games for Jordan Staal, who had the lone goal vs. Dallas, then assisted on Skinner’s last-second goal to tie the game against Ottawa before winning it with a goal of his own in overtime. Staal had opened the season with nine straight games without a point, but since a two-point night on Long Island has been on a tear. Not only is Staal putting up points, but his shot totals have exploded: he had just nine shots on goal in the first nine games,  but has 19 in the last five.

Plus

Jordan Staal — Staal used the weekend to get his season pointed in the right direction. He opened the scoring for the weekend by giving the Canes a 1-0 lead against the surging Stars, then finished it with a screened wrist shot vs. the Senators in overtime to cap a furious comeback. He was also a big part of keeping both opponents’ top lines in check.

Minus

Ron Hainsey — The turning point in the Dallas came after, in a tie game, Elias Lindholm cleanly won a faceoff back to Hainsey in the Stars offensive zone, but the puck skittered by the Carolina defenseman, sending Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp off on a 2-on-1 rush that was finished by Sharp. Hainsey was then beat to the net on Ottawa’s first goal Saturday, losing a race to the front with Alex Chiasson who put it past Cam Ward to tie the game. Coach Bill Peters even gave his defense pairings a different look against Ottawa, sliding Hainsey off of the top pairing with Faulk, but the duo was reunited later in the game.