A day that started with the Carolina Hurricanes opening a new chapter in their history wrapped up with the team putting on a show for their new owner.
The Hurricanes, coming off of two straight losses to the Bruins and Lightning, downed the Washington Capitals 3-1 at Capital One Arena on Thursday, snapping the Caps’ six-game winning streak and eleven-game streak of home wins. Starting a huge home-and-home, the Canes were able to secure a very valuable two points, worth their weight in gold in a very competitive Metropolitan Division.
The first period was an evenly matched period with both teams registering 10 shots, with multiple scoring chances each way. The major difference in the period was that Marcus Kruger took a holding penalty seven minutes into the period, but the Canes successfully killed it off
The second period featured a power play for each team, neither of which were successful. However, the Canes did tally the icebreaker on special teams. Jordan Staal was able to break up a pass on a Caps power play and spring a breakaway to eventually beat Braden Holtby to make the game 1-0.
The Caps responded to tie the game when Lars Eller buried a shot from the slot just five minutes later. Eller won an offensive zone faceoff back to Christian Djoos who fed T.J. Oshie, who slipped it back to Eller in the slot. With a couple of bodies sliding across the crease, Scott Darling was unable to pick up the puck.
Brett Pesce was out of the lineup after suffering an injury at the morning skate, breaking up the familiar pairing of Pesce and Jaccob Slavin. Slavin instead played with Justin Faulk, who read each others’ play well and were able to form a successful pairing.
The final stanza featured a goal by Victor Rask on a delayed penalty to give the Canes the lead. It was not an easy ride for the Canes to close out the game as they had to kill off a slashing penalty by Klas Dahlbeck, but they did so and Sebastian Aho sealed it with an empty-netter with 1:29 to go.
Scott Darling, making his first appearance since a relief role in the loss to Boston last weekend, looked better than he had in his recent starts. He plays better when he is able to stop the first couple of shots and get into a rhythm. Early in the first, he was a little jumpy, but once he stopped the first few shots you could see his composure change. He tracked the puck much better and seemed to feel the movement of the play naturally, taking a blistering slap shot from Alex Ovechkin late in the game but coming out relatively unscathed.
The teams will fly to Raleigh tonight for the rematch at PNC Arena tomorrow evening, preceded by the press conference introducing Tom Dundon as the club’s new owner.
Around the Room
It’s huge to win these types of games, these are games we want to win in our division for sure. We needed to skate and not stand still to try to make players where plays can be made. We needed to get to the net.
On his goal:
I’m not sure how it got to me but Faulk shot it and somehow it bounced straight out to me and I put it on net.
On the home and home:
It’s tough, we need to get home and get some rest so we can come out strong.
They’ve had a pretty good run here at home, they are a tough team to play against. We wanted to play fast. Darling was really good for us tonight and he made a couple of tough saves for us.
I felt comfortable tonight, I haven’t been playing much, but I was real excited to get the start. You know things haven’t been going great for me lately, so I tried to relax and have fun tonight and that’s what I did.
A win like this is good, it’s good for our confidence and confidence in our system. When we play the right way were not going to win 6-1, it’s going to be a close game, that’s the kind of team we are. If we do the right things we’re going to get the advantage on one goal games.
It feels great tonight but it doesn’t affect tomorrow. We have to come out ready to win. We’re both in back to backs and traveling tonight so it the same thing. Whoever comes out and wants it more tomorrow night will get it.
On the Caps streak:
They’ve been playing great, they’re a great team, but every streak has to come to an end and we’re happy to be the ones to do it.
On the Sale of the Canes:
It’s exciting. We’ve all had a chance to meet him, he seems like a great guy and he has a lot of great plans. We’re excited to see it unfold.
On making early saves:
Its huge, getting some early saves, feeling the puck and getting some clean saves gets you into the game right away.
On sharing goaltending duties:
First off Cam Ward is a great guy. We hit it off immediately. Early on when I was playing a lot he was my biggest fan. As of late hes been playing a lot and we’re just cheering for him, we want to win. Obviously we both want to play, but we want to make the playoffs and we want to go deep this year and whoever’s playing better is going to play.
They’re still rolling at home, I liked the contributions throughout the lineup. Our power play only had one kick at the can but we had four solid chances, and Darling played well for us tonight.
On one goal games:
I think we have won a lot of those myself. 8-7-8 on one goal games, I guess we have to get better thats .500ish and that’s not going to get it done. We should feel comfortable playing in one goal games down one, up one, whatever the situation may be. We are going to have to win a couple more of those.
When asked about Scott Darling:
I thought that was a real good save on Ovechkin at the end on that 6-on-5 he came across and got his upper body up. I thought he was real good. He was calm, he was composed. He made ever save he needed to make. I don’t think he saw the goal, I haven’t talked to him but it looked like he picked it up late.
He gives me something to think about tomorrow we have to make an educated decision tomorrow.
On the Metro Division
Two points in regulation is the only way that you can make up any ground. The overtime point or the three point game doesn’t do much for you. We were talking today about how we were up one late in the Washington game at home. They had a cross corner dump we didn’t handle well, we hit a crossbar in overtime and they came down and won it, that’s how close these games are.
We’re going to play two more games here and then we’re going to go on a bye and we’re going to lose some ground, that’s the reality.
I spoke to Derek Ryan and he said he was fine. I think he should be good, and there wasn’t enough time for him to come back, but we will see in the morning. Pesce left the morning skate banged up with an upper body injury. He’s going to get looked at by our people, get an MRI and we will see the results.
On the Sale:
It’s exciting, he’s a good guy and he’s been around the guys a lot. He was on the trip to Nashville and he was on this trip for a while. He’s got lots of energy and a lot of ideas, excited about the team and the opportunity to implement some of the things he has done on the business side in his life. Obviously I think Ron has done a great job of making our team more competitive in the three years I’ve been here and making us more competitive in the minors.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.