You hear the phrase “tough building” thrown around a lot in hockey to describe when a team has trouble winning in a certain arena.
For the Hurricanes, the Bell Centre has been a tough building for a while now. Entering tonight, the ‘Canes hadn’t won a game there since 2012. The only players in tonight’s for the Hurricanes who were in the one from that night were Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk.
Here's what the Hurricanes roster looked like the last time they won an NHL contest in Montreal. pic.twitter.com/XN3G78mFk5— Kyle Morton (@k_morton9) March 24, 2017
On this night, the Hurricanes found a way to end that drought with a timely victory over a strong team
The big highlight from the beginning of the game was Derek Ryan’s two-pad stack stop on Alex Galchenyuk after Eddie Lack was taken out of position making the initial save on an odd-man rush.
The Canadiens would later open the scoring as Galchenyuk picked up a pass from Andrew Shaw on a 2-on-1 and elevated the shot over an outstretched Eddie Lack.
The goal was Galchenyuk’s first in ten games, and Artturi Lehkonen picked up an assist on the goal in addition to Shaw.
Carolina’s game picked up as the period moved along, and with 4:37 to go in the period, a strong shift in the offensive zone caused Alexei Emelin to take a penalty for holding to give the ‘Canes an opportunity to find an equalizer.
On that power play, Elias Lindholm would extend his point streak to nine games as he was in the right place at the right time to put home a loose puck in the net front area.
The assists on the goal went to Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho.
The ‘Canes followed up their power play goal with some defensive miscues, as Jeff Petry ringed the post with a shot and Lack was forced to make a tough save in tight off a rebound a bit later.
They would withstand Montreal’s push to find an answering goal though, and got to the locker room with the game tied at one.
The Hurricanes held a shots on goal advantage of 9 to 7 following the first period.
The second period went by without a whole lot in the way of exciting action, as both Price and Lack came up with the occasional nice stop, but neither goalie was tested very much.
That was until late, when Lee Stempniak gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the night when he unfurled a backhand shot from the top of the slot which hit Emelin’s leg and took a favorable bounce straight for the upper corner of the net.
Noah Hanifin got his 20th assist of the season on the goal which was also his 23rd point of the year. That number gives him a career high, as he topped his 22 point effort from his rookie campaign. Justin Faulk had an assist on the goal as well.
Shots were 16-14 at the end of the second in favor of Montreal.
The third period was a big one for a Carolina team that was virtually fighting for its playoff lives.
They came out with a strong start to the frame as Skinner and Stempniak broke in for a two-on-one. Skinner out-waited the defender as he slid a pass by him and to the open Stempniak whose shot beat Price’s glove to the near side.
With a 3-1 lead, Carolina kept its foot on the gas as they turned that shot deficit into a shot advantage.
Montreal would start to feel the game though, and they began to make a push that Lack and the Hurricanes would have to find a way to withstand.
That came to a bit of a head when Faulk was whistled for holding with 10:26 to go in the third.
On the ensuing power play, Montreal took some time to get set up as Carolina was able to come up with some timely clears. As a result, the Hurricanes earned a successful kill.
Carolina continued to hold the fort down as Montreal attempted to generate momentum, but Alex Radulov took an offensive zone penalty as he clipped Brett Pesce up high.
The Hurricanes used the ensuing power play to run some more time off the clock and curtail whatever momentum that the Habs had built up in the prior three or so minutes.
With the net empty, the final nail in the coffin came when Skinner threw Jeff Petry off the puck in his own zone, took the puck, and put it into the yawning cage to seal the deal.
Lack then continued to slam the door shut en route to a big 4-1 victory for the away team. He ended up with 21 saves on 22 shots for his third consecutive winning effort.
The win gave Carolina just their 11th away victory of the season. Despite that fact, this team is still very much in the mix for that last playoff spot. They’ll continue their push to end the seven year long playoff drought on Saturday night in New Jersey against the slumping Devils.
Rank the Performances
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