Behind 60 minutes of solid play, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers, 3-1, and played their strongest game since the Olympic break.
Jiri Tlusty started the three-goal second period after Jordan Staal fed him right in the slot. Tlusty then put an easy wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist.
About four minutes later, Kevin Klein snapped a shot, also in the slot, over Cam Ward’s glove after the Hurricanes were running around in their own zone too much.
With less than two minutes left in the middle stanza, Tlusty returned the favor Staal gave him in the first by feeding the center a crisp pass on a 2-on-0 that gave Staal a wide-open shot on Lundqvist.
In the third period, Jeff Skinner showed his stick-handling skills by working his way to get a nice shot before Elias Lindholm slammed home the rebound to give the team a 3-1 lead.
The effort and hard work the Canes showed in this game is unparalleled to any game the team has played since the Olympic break. It was obvious the players wanted this one and played to win.
At the beginning of the game, the Hurricanes showed some defensive lapses and when the Rangers got their first powerplay, I was worried it would open the floodgates. But instead the penalty-kill unit did a great job that helped set the momentum for the rest of the game.
I really liked the two top-six lines. Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty showed some chemistry and Alexander Semin was no slouch either. Elias Lindholm is such a hard worker that it makes up in the neutral zone for the bad defensive play of Jeff Skinner. However, Eric Staal NEEDS to stop taking dumb penalties. Tonight, he had one near the end of the game that could have been costly.
Cam Ward made some game-changing saves, most notably a Martin St. Louis breakaway after Mike Komisarek tripped up Ron Hainsey on the blue line. With that said, there were some times when Ward got himself out of position, than had to make a harder save than needed. With a win under his belt, those nerves that may have caused those mistakes should settle.
Overall, it was a great game by the Canes and hopefully, they can continue that into Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.