This was a game between two teams who wished they had better seasons and at times it seemed they were going through the motions. "The game did not seem to have much emotion or desperation to it," admitted coach Bill Peters.
Still, the coach liked the way his top line played.
"They were big and heavy, and good down low", said the coach, when talking about Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Jiri Tlusty. Tlusty finished with two assists.
All of the game's three goals were scored in the first period as things tightened up a bit after that.
With 6:05 left in the first, Justin Faulk sent a puck toward the net that Eric Staal got a stick on. Faulk was originally credited with the goal, but after review it was given to the Captain, who was also named first star of the game. The goal was a powerplay tally for the home team who went 1-2 for the game.
About three minutes later, David Booth made a nice move and drew Cam Ward out of the net as the goalie made the save. Brandon Kozun put the rebound on net, but Brad Malone set up shop and stopped the first attempt. Kozun did not give up though and sent his next shot past Malone to tie the score.
It was Kozun's first career NHL goal.
The Canes were not done and the Staal brothers combined to take the lead back, just 16 seconds later. Eric put a shot/pass on goal that Jordan redirected past James Reimer, for the game-winner.
Reimer had a rough first period but settled down after that and ended up making 24 saves on 26 shots.
Ward was a bit better at the other end with a 23 save night on 24 shots. His best of the game could have been on Nazem Kadri, when the Leaf broke in alone during the second period.
The Hurricanes penalty kill unit continues to be sterling and killed all four Toronto chances while maintaining their first place ranking in the league. They did not even allow a single shot on goal in the kills.
The team was quick to pack up afterward for the flight to Jersey for a game against the Devils Saturday night.
- Elias Lindholm led his team with four hits. The Canes were credited with 26 for the night.
- John-Michael Liles and Tim Gleason each had a team high four blocked shots.
- Eric and Jordan led the way with four shots on goal each. Semin did not have a shot on goal in this one and neither did Nestrasil, Malone, or McClement.
- The team was 59% in the faceoff circle. Jordan Staal won 60%, (12 of 20). McClement won 7 of 10 and was at 70%.
- Faulk had a team high 22:00 minutes of ice time with Sekera right behind with 21:25.