The Carolina Hurricanes came flying out of the gates on Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets, and they didn’t let up as they put together a hard-working 60-minute effort en route to a big 3-1 victory in front of an early evening crowd of 10,809 at the PNC Arena.
Carolina pounced on Winnipeg early, taking an 8-2 shot advantage just over six minutes into the first period. The ninth shot got through Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. It was a shot from in tight by Elias Lindholm that found its way through the legs of defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and over the arm of Hellebuyck. Lindholm got the monkey off of his back, getting his first of the season to put the Canes in front.
The Hurricanes and Jets would exchange scoring chances through the rest of the first period but remained tied. Carolina put 18 shots on net through 20 minutes.
The second period upped the intensity as tempers flared from both teams, but the Jets took it too far on multiple occasions, eventually finding themselves in penalty trouble.
That penalty trouble carried over to the third period. A Mark Stuart cross-checking penalty gave the Hurricanes a man advantage just 1:50 into the final frame and Victor Rask took full advantage of it 49 seconds later as he netted a rebound opportunity in front of the net, giving the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.
The Jets came back mid-way through the third as the NHL’s leading scorer, Mark Scheifele, found a hole in Carolina’s defense, came flying down the middle of the ice and sent a pass from Nikolaj Ehlers top shelf past Cam Ward to make it 2-1.
A tightly contested final ten minutes didn’t render a goal until Patrik Laine took a bad high-sticking penalty with just over two minutes remaining, and Noah Hanifin netted his first goal of the season with a rocket one-timer off a pass from Justin Faulk.
The timely goal extended the Carolina lead to 3-1, and Cam Ward and company went on to hold it to that score.
The Hurricanes posted a season-high 40 shots on net in the win. Jeff Skinner led the way with five shots, followed by Ron Hainsey who had four. Hainsey’s first-period assist marked his third primary assist in just two periods, dating back to Friday’s 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Tempers were high on Sunday as the Hurricanes (32) and Jets (51) combined for 83 hits. Jordan Staal (five) and Mark Scheifele (six) led each respective club in hits.
On top of a good physical performance from Staal, he also won 19 of 22 faceoffs. Carolina went on to win a dominating 61% of the faceoffs on Sunday.
Lindholm and Hanifin both posted their first goals of the season. Lindholm also had two hits, two takeaways and three shot blocked shots, leading to his best performance of the young season.
“He’s a real good player. He’s been doing good things all year,” head coach Bill Peters said about Lindholm following Sunday’s game. “I’m not worried about him one bit. There’s things to worry about in this world and that’s not one of them.”
Cam Ward stopped 28 of 29 Winnipeg shots on Sunday. He has started each of Carolina’s last four victories, allowing two or fewer goals in each outing. He now sports a 2.36 goals against average, .916 save percentage and a 6-4-3 record this season.
The Canes capped off their five-game homestand with a 4-1-0 record. They will look to continue playing this brand of hockey as they set out for a three-game Canadian road trip that starts on Tuesday in Toronto.
“This game that we’re playing right now can go on the road and be successful,” Peters said. “It’s a good team game and it’s four lines deep right now. That was the best we’ve played with all four lines.”
Fox Sports Carolinas aired John Forslund’s one-on-one talk with forward Bryan Bickell who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"Just taking it day by day right now." @bbicks29 remains optimistic about his diagnosis and getting back to playing hockey. pic.twitter.com/jHPylSps59— FOX Sports Carolinas (@CanesOnFSCR) November 20, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers remain with a very optimistic Bickell as he continues to fight against M.S.
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