Riley Nash got the first goal of the game more than three minutes into the second period after Radek Dvorak kept the puck in at the blue line then made a slap pass to Nash, who was rushing the net. The puck actually hit Tom Gilbert‘s stick, but rebounded off Tim Thomas‘ pad straight to Nash who put the puck in the back of the net.
The Panthers tied the game with less than five minutes left in the second period when Marcel Goc outworked Jay Harrison to get to the front of Canes’ net. Jonathan Huberdeau fed Goc a pass and the German center just had to tip it past Anton Khudobin.
Alexander Semin scored his first goal two and a half minutes into the third period after a face-off win by Eric Staal. The Russian winger was along the circle to shoot the puck over Thomas’ glove to give the Canes a one-goal lead.
Semin scored the next goal shorthanded on a breakaway. The former Capital blocked a shot, which ricocheted to Eric Staal. The captain hit Semin for a breakaway pass, then Semin deked right and somehow got the puck past Thomas, who was covering most of the net.
Tomas Kopecky made the game a nail-biter when he scored with more than five minutes left in the game, tipping a shot from Dmitry Kulikov past Khudobin. The Russian netminder didn’t even move on the shot, losing it in traffic.
Alex Semin had a great game and it was good to see him finally pull out of the rut he was in. As was pointed out earlier this week, the winger was having difficulties finding the back of the net and had a low shooting percentage because of it.
While the first line didn’t look stellar together, the one even-strength goal should keep the line together for the time being.
After the first period, it looked like Tim Thomas would be tough to beat, but the Canes stuck to it and were able to get three goals on the former Bruin. For a team that has had its fair share of problems with hot goalies, it was nice to see the hard work actually pay off.
With 10 minutes of penalty time, the penalty kill did a good job, most notably Mike Komisarek and Jay Harrison, who have not been in the lineup that much of late. Scoring a ninth shorthanded goal on the season was also a plus.
The defense had a strong game. Besides the first goal, all six defensemen were good on their coverage and helping Anton Khudobin in keeping the puck out of the net.
Speaking of Khudobin, he had another solid game, making the saves he needed to make to keep the Hurricanes in front to earn the win.
The Hurricanes won’t have a long break, playing the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow at 5 p.m. A preview will be posted in the morning.