A night after a comparatively easy win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Carolina Hurricanes were challenged to follow it up and prove that it wasn’t a fluke by dispatching the Colorado Avalanche and muscling their way back into a playoff spot.
Brock McGinn scored twice and Jeff Skinner added the insurance goal as the Hurricanes came from behind to top the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Saturday night at PNC Arena.
Cam Ward set the tone early with an incredible save on Gabriel Bourque, bailing out his defense after a turnover at the blue line sprung Bourque and Carl Soderberg on a 2-on-1. Haydn Fleury mistimed his slide, allowing Soderberg to one-arm the puck around the fallen defenseman, but Ward entered Bourque’s nightmares with the save of the night.
Tyson Barrie got the Avs on the board first, tiptoeing away from Teuvo Teravainen to one-time a puck over Ward’s blocker with the teams at 4-on-4. But even before the goal could be announced, Brock McGinn scored his first of two goals on the evening, tapping home a pinpoint pass from Elias Lindholm to tie the game.
Teravainen’s night didn’t get any better when he took two penalties early in the second period, spending a total of six minutes in the box before the period was nine minutes old. The Canes’ penalty kill, which hasn’t allowed a power-play goal since the All-Star break, stood tall, and nearly scored one of their own when McGinn rifled a backhand that nearly fooled Semyon Varlamov late in the back half of Teravainen’s double minor for high sticking.
After killing the three penalties, the ice started to tilt toward the Colorado net a bit, and the Canes carried that momentum into the third period to take the lead. On a nearly identical play to the one that tied the game in the first, Lindholm found McGinn again, and the Canes took the lead.
They had a chance to extend their lead with 8:49 to go when Victor Rask bunted a puck out of midair that rang the post to Varlamov’s left, then actualy did so two minutes later. Lee Stempniak’s backhand shot bounced off Varlamov and right to Jeff Skinner, who had no one around him and a wide-open net looking him in the face for his 16th of the season.
With the win, the Canes leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and could still be there when the Los Angeles Kings come to town on Tuesday if the Islanders fail to beat the Calgary Flames tomorrow.
Inside The Room
I liked the effort from everybody. I thought everyone contributed. Guys who didn’t play a lot through 40 played real well in the third. I thought it was a complete effort. The lines work the way they are. There’s more than one viable option. They’ve got a good team. They’re hard to get on the inside on. The adjustments were made for that reason, and it paid off.
(Question from yours truly: “Since the All-Star break you haven’t allowed a power-play goal.”) [knocks on wood] There have been some adjustments system-wise, and some personnel adjustments too, but more trust and familiarity with each other in the units of four. Tough one for Turbo on the double minor, a little unusual for him, but the guys did a good job. For me, that was the turning point, and Wardo made some big saves.
Cam was the best penalty killer, and he has to be. I said to the fellas, both goaltenders were real good this weekend, and the team effort in front of them was more committed and was very good. Good to see.
This last three game stretch has been real good, going back to Philly. I’ve liked a lot of parts of our game in a lot of those games. I thought tonight was very good. We were on our heels because of all the penalty kills. It’s hard, a lot of guys sit there, we get out of the rhythm of the game. In the third I thought the guys did a great job.
I think everyone’s in a good state of mind. We have a day off tomorrow, we have a real good schedule, we’ve been home for a long time, my yard’s never looked better. We’ve had all this rain, right? Everything’s good.
I think we came out with great jump tonight. That first period we were really buzzing. Going down 1-0 we kept our foot on the pedal and did a good job at responding. Getting it back was a huge part of the game, to tie it back up. That four-man PK we did a good job of killing it and building momentum off of that.
Cam keeps us in every game. He battles so hard out there. When he makes those saves we really build off of it. Again tonight he did a great job.
We’re outworking the power plays out there (on the PK). We’re really following our systems and working as a four man unit out there. Getting those saves from Wardo definitely helps us out.
Great that we were able to cash in there in the third period. Obviously Ginner had a heck of the game. He was the man tonight. Clearly he was feeling it. The kid plays the right way, and it’s nice to see him get rewarded.
Everything was clicking. Our PK came up huge, the four-minute PK was a gutsy effort. I thought the tempo was really fast. Both teams wanted the win. You have to take care of business right now. You can’t wait until there are ten games left. You have to be ready every given night, especially at home. I thought the crowd was fantastic tonight. Great to see people in the seats and get them a win.
- The last game I covered was the capitulation against San Jose last weekend. The vibe tonight couldn’t have been any different, right down to the weight room blasting Leona Lewis as guys got their postgame workout in. Something has clicked with the team over the past three games, and it’s evident not only on the ice but how they comport (SAT word!) themselves inside the locker room.
- Lindholm at center is an experiment that’s on the verge of becoming a regular feature. He won 71% of his faceoffs tonight, now has a three-game point streak, and while Peters wouldn’t commit to using him there forever, it certainly seems like his appearances on the wing going forward are going to be fewer and farther between.
- McGinn’s two goals got him into double digits in goal scoring for the first time in his career. Every team needs a “that guy” (think Craig Adams in days of yore) and McGinn is without question “that guy” on this team. The issue comes when a team has five or six “that guy”s on the roster, but for what he does and what he’s asked to do, McGinn plays the role to a T.
- Skinner’s goal was his first in seven games, and first since the All-Star break. He last lit the lamp on January 25 in Montreal. It was his 363rd point, tying him with Erik Cole for third on the Canes’ scoring list since relocation.
- The Canes get the day off tomorrow and will practice again on Monday morning ahead of Tuesday’s tilt with the Kings.
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.