Following a big 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the Hurricanes continued their road swing through Western Canada with a contest in Calgary. With a 2-1-1 record in the early going, this game was a big swing game for the Hurricanes that would help define just how good of a start the first five games of the season would be.
In the first period, the Hurricanes started on time, showing a good level of jump to their game that resulted in some early chances. They weren’t able to pierce Calgary goaltender Mike Smith early on, but they came close.
Playing a clean game, the ‘Canes didn’t get penalized in the first. For Calgary, Dougie Hamilton and Travis Hamonic committed infractions, but Carolina couldn’t convert on either opportunity.
Former Hurricane Kris Versteeg suffered what appeared to be a serious injury after blocking a shot off the stick of Jeff Skinner on the knee. The period ended with the Flames holding an advantage of nine to eight in shots on goal.
The Hurricanes came out looking even sharper in the second period, as they held the Flames without a shot on goal for long stretches of time.
They also drew first blood when Jeff Skinner hammered home a howitzer high to the glove side of Smith 4:48 of the period. Skinner’s line mates Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn picked up the assists on the goal. Matt Tkachuk and Sam Bennett took penalties for the Flames that they were able to kill off, likewise with the Hurricanes and Justin Williams’ cross-checking penalty.
Tkachuk also took a roughing penalty on former Flame Josh Jooris as time expired in the second period. That set the ‘Canes up with a power play to start the third period.
The Hurricanes used that to grab an insurance goal early in the third, when Justin Williams took a feed from Skinner and deposited it into the net. Noah Hanifin also picked up an assist on the play.
That insurance goal would loom large later, as Scott Darling’s shutout bid was ended when Sean Monahan slapped one home with 3:28 left in the game to cut the lead in half.
The ‘Canes were able to successfully cling to the lead, as some pressure during the empty-net sequence made offensive life tough for the Flames. When they finally established a presence in the offensive zone, some strong shot-blocking efforts and big saves from Darling sealed the deal.
Scott Darling stopped 25 of 26 shots in the winning effort.
The Hurricanes will wrap up their road trip with a contest on Saturday night against the Dallas Stars.
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