Don’t look now, but the Hurricanes are streaking into the new year. With a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena, the Canes have now won three straight for the first time since November.
Thanks to another big game from Dougie Hamilton, a standout performance from newcomer Greg McKegg and another solid outing from Curtis McElhinney, the Canes picked up a key win against a Metropolitan Division foe.
Here’s a few key takeaways from the win.
McKegg stands tall
With Clark Bishop getting injured in Philadelphia last night, the Canes called up Greg McKegg on emergency recall from Charlotte. He came up huge, with the game-winning goal on a tip drill from Brett Pesce and a drop pass for an assist on Dougie Hamilton’s goal (more on that in a bit).
Obviously the output was surprising, but kudos to McKegg for stepping up in spot duty when the Canes needed him. That’s how you earn a longer look.
Hamilton heating up?
After not scoring since Nov. 10, Dougie Hamilton now has two goals and two assists in two games for the Canes. Obviously the sample size is small, but if Hamilton is going to go on a tear and start looking like the top offensive defenseman the team thought it was getting from Calgary, it would be huge.
Power play healing
After the Canes’ much-maligned power play potted two goals in Philly, it as good as opened the scoring against Columbus. The tally wasn’t technically scored as a power-play goal as it crossed the line right at two minutes, but the penalty box door hadn’t even opened yet.
The goal was a beauty too, with Micheal Ferland finishing off a tic-tac-toe play with Sebastian Aho and Justin Williams from the slot. If the Canes are going to make any kind of a run, they need the power play to keep heating up.
McElhinney solid again
Curtis McElhinney is the definition of solid. He’s calm when he’s making saves, calm when he gives up a goal and pretty much always calm, which seems to calm the rest of the team down when needed.
As head coach Rod Brind’Amour stated after the game, McElhinney is there to make the big save every time the Canes needed. On the aforementioned power play, a neutral zone turnover by Williams led to an odd-man rush for Columbus. McElhinney stepped up to snare a slapshot from Cam Atkinson, setting the table for the Canes to open the scoring.
The Canes now have a chance to tally their second four-game winning streak of the season tomorrow afternoon when they visit the woebegone Senators. They’re eight points out with a game in hand. Their annual late-February hot streak may have begun six weeks early, and if it has, this thing may not be over yet.