Coming off of a high-scoring victory over the Coyotes, the Carolina Hurricanes looked to build on it as they took on the Ottawa Senators in Canada’s capitol on Saturday night.
Mission accomplished. The Hurricanes turned it on in the second half of the hockey game and ran away with a 5-2 win.
After an early surge from the Sens, it was the Canes who got on the board first.
Valentin Zykov showed off his strength in the trenches by winning a puck battle behind the Ottawa net, and his feed to Phil Di Giuseppe in front was sniped home. The goal was Di Giuseppe’s second goal and fourth point in two games and Zykov’s assist gave him three points over that same two-game period.
Two minutes later, the home team responded. Ryan Dzingel rolled out of the corner and threw a shot on net through traffic, and Bobby Ryan outmuscled Canes rookie Roland McKeown and was able to get a piece of the shot before it slipped past Cam Ward to make it 1-1.
Despite getting outshot 12-5 and allowing a pair of clear-cut breakaways, Carolina escaped the opening frame with the score being even at one goal apiece.
Play slowed down at times in the second frame, but the Senators kept getting a majority of the opportunities and were able to slow down the Hurricanes’ offensive attack almost down to a halt as the road team managed just ten shots on net through the first half of the game.
It only took one bounce to go Carolina’s way, though.
Klas Dahlbeck threw a seeing-eye wrist shot on net from the blue line and Brock McGinn got a stick on the puck in the high slot. Mike Condon couldn’t adjust fast enough and, in turn, allowed his second goal-against on the night and the Canes took a 2-1 lead with less than three minutes to go in the period.
They couldn’t extend the lead after Ottawa’s failed offsides challenge resulted in a powerplay, but the Canes held on to their one-goal advantage as the horn sounded to end the second period.
Things opened up in a big way for Carolina in the third period.
The Canes hung a pair of goals on the Sens in just over a minute as Noah Hanifin finished off a fantastic individual play and pass from Sebastian Aho and Jeff Skinner, sprung by a Di Giuseppe steal and breakout pass, roofed a backhander off and over Condon. Sebastian Aho’s assist on the Hanifin goal extended his point streak to a career-high seven games, and the two quick goals extended Carolina’s lead to 4-1 just before the half-way mark of period three.
Ottawa responded with a late goal from Thomas Chabot on the doorstep of the Canes’ crease, but their comeback attempt was put to an end as Jordan Staal netted an empty-net goal, his 17th tally of the year, with 35 seconds to go in the hockey game.
Cam Ward stopped 34 of 36 shots in the win, and the Canes offense showed up when they needed it in the second half of the game.
Carolina has won two consecutive games and three of their last four as they have started to right the ship here in the final three weeks of the season. It’ll be too little too late with regards to the playoff race, but their effort in the second and third period in Ottawa was encouraging.
Rank the Performances
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