For the first time since their Stanley Cup run of 2005-06, the Carolina Hurricanes have swept a season series from the Montreal Canadiens. The Canes used a stout effort from Cam Ward in net and just enough offense, provided by Brett Pesce and Brock McGinn, on their way to a 2-0 shutout on home ice.
After a fairly uneventful, if hard-hitting, and even first period which saw each team come away with seven shots, the Canes were able to break through with a point shot from Pesce at 2:43 of the second period.
Brett Pesce gets a point shot off, and past Carey Price. pic.twitter.com/AFixnOK0FT— The Artist Formerly Known as Scoot Mattle (@scottmatla) February 2, 2018
The assists came from Elias Lindholm and Marcus Kruger, as Lindholm recently had been slotted with the typical fourth liners Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom. With tonight being the first of a back-to-back, and first of three games in four nights, Bill Peters elected to even out the ice time a bit, with Nordstrom-Kruger-Lindholm, for example, nearly exceeding their total time on ice from Tuesday against Ottawa by the end of the second period.
After killing a Justin Faulk penalty late in the second, with a few big saves from Ward a key part of that, the Canes entered the third period with their one-goal lead intact.
Gallagher shoves Cam Ward, and the puck into the net.— The Artist Formerly Known as Scoot Mattle (@scottmatla) February 2, 2018
He is then promptly mugged by the entire Carolina penalty kill. pic.twitter.com/bxwrNUxxA1
Carolina missed a golden opportunity near the 12 minute mark of the third, as Victor Rask was denied by Carey Price. Ward continued to stand up to the task, as he turned away multiple good opportunities from the Habs in the third.
With 5:09 remaining, Brock McGinn netted the insurance markers on a soft feed from Justin Williams, over the blocker side shoulder of Price to make it 2-0. Any hopes for a Canadiens comeback was thwarted by a minor penalty on Daniel Carr with only 2:31 remaining.
After the tremendous effort from Ward, Bill Peters may still likely turn to Scott Darling in net tomorrow evening, but the starting netminder has certainly given his now-understudy something to live up to.
As the seconds ticked down, and Brass Bonanza rang out inside PNC Arena, it certainly appears that the Hurricanes are getting closer to turning a corner. The remainder of this eight-game homestand will certainly provide them ample opportunity to show they have staying power in the Eastern Conference.
On being comfortable playing tight games in the third: “I think we have grown, we’ve had some leads and some scenarios that we have been in similar to this, and we were much more composed and mature in those situations, so that is a very positive sign.”
On the “fourth line”: “They were great. Thought they were physical early. I don’t know who laid that big hit (Nordstrom), I know that got the bench and the crowd into it a l ittle bit, either Lindy or Nordy. I thought Nordy might have gotten a piece of that, but that was Pesce’s goal. That was a real good faceoff win by those guys, and all of a sudden, Nordy’s where you need to be to provide a little bit of traffic in front of Price.”
On possible starting goalie tomorrow: “Not yet, no. We’ll, I haven’t even seen Mike Bales yet, so, we will digest tonight a little bit, go through it again tomorrow, and make sure we make a good decision.”
Playing the team’s style: “It starts in your own zone and trying to break out, create offense in transition. We all know how good our defense is. There have been times when we have been a bit loosy-goosy, but tonight wasn’t that case. I thought we played pretty tight through most of the game.”
On the teams physicality: We appreciate it. That is obviously an area we needed to get better at. You have guys in the league that, every team has a guy coming around in the crease, and we know that Gallagher, that’s his style. That’s what he does for a living, really. You’ve got to make sure that you protect that area and make sure that guys think twice.”
On Cam Ward - “I’ve always had confidence in him, ever since I came here a few years ago, he’s a world-class goaltender, has been for awhile, he’s been great for this organization. He really plays the puck well, which is huge for the D-men, especially. He’s fun to be around, and he’s a great veteran. “
On finally getting off the goal-scoring snide: “I see everyone has a goal, you know, your thinking about it. I don’t think it’s effected my game, but it’s always in the back of your mind. It’s definitely a monkey off the back.”
On the fourth line, Lindholm-Kruger-Nordstrom: “That line is awesome. They have been all year. Those three guys...they’re great. I think they are one of the better fourth lines in the league. It’s unbelievable, whenever they are out there, I have so much trust in them, especially in the D-zone, and I know they are gonna do their job and get pucks deep.”
- Brett Pesce’s second period goal was his first of the season and the seventh of his career.
- Cam Ward stopped all 27 shots he faced on his way to the shutout.
- No Cane forward saw less than 11:40 of ice time (Marcus Kruger). Derek Ryan lead the forward group with 18:00.
- Carolina dominated the faceoff dot, winning a whopping 79% of the draws on the evening.
- The shutout was Ward’s second of the season and the 27th of his NHL career.
- Marcus Kruger tallied an assist on the Pesce goal, breaking onto the score sheet for the first time since his goal in Vegas on December 12th.
- Expect to continue to see greater ice time for Lindholm-Kruger-Nordstrom into the weekend. Peters deployed the line second (after the TSA line) in the third period.
Rank the Performances
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