Chad LaRose and his Carolina teammates picked the right night to find their long-lost scoring touch.
LaRose had his first multi-goal game in four months, Cam Ward made 36 saves and Carolina scored more than three goals for the first time in 11 game as the 'Canes rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 at the RBC Center on Tuesday night.
"Some (other) games have been better offensively for us and they haven't hit the back of the net," said LaRose, who hadn't scored more than once in a game since Nov. 17 -- the last time the Senators came to Raleigh. "Tonight they did, and hopefully that gets some confidence going in the guys."
The Hurricanes, who entered the night three points behind eighth-place Buffalo, finally got untracked after goals by Chad Greening and Marek Svatos gave the last-place Senators a 2-0 lead 13:40 into the game.
But Tuomo Ruutu got one goal back just 27 seconds after Svatos' goal by tipping Jussi Jokinen's wrister past Craig McElhinney. That woke up the crowd, which got even louder when LaRose's wrist shot from the left circle beat Curtis McElhinney to the short side just 25 seconds later, tying the game.
"It was a good response by Ruutu's line to go down and just put the puck at the net," forward Eric Cole said. "Ruutie, like he always does, does a great job in front of the net, gets his stick on it and we're back in the game."
LaRose put the 'Canes ahead to stay with 43 seconds left in the second when he finished off a 3-on-2 rush with a wrister past McElhinney.
"I think Mac probably wanted that one back, and to give up another one like that was tough," Ottawa's Ryan Shannon said. "That was a big momentum swing, that second goal."
The two-goal effort gave LaRose four points in his last four games, more than any other Hurricanes player.
"His last five or 10 games, he's really brought his intensity level up and is playing great," coach Paul Maurice said. "He's got 15 goals now, and that's a good number for a guy that doesn't get a lot of power-play time. He's been real good for us."
Cory Stillman made it 4-2 at 6:04 of the third, finishing off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play that saw Stillman get the puck from Cole and dish to Staal in the slot, only to have Staal to give it right back for the finish.
"It was a beautiful goal and just shows how unselfish our captain is," said LaRose, referring to Staal's decision to pass up the shot despite carrying a six-game goal drought into the contest. "People might think he's trying to score, but then he makes sure it gets to the back of the net with a great play."
But the 'Canes got two scares. One came when Erik Karlsson scored with 5:44 remaining to cut Carolina's lead to one goal. The other came a few minutes earlier when Staal, Carolina's captain and top scorer, left with an undisclosed injury. Maurice said the move was a precaution and that Staal should be able to play against Tampa Bay on Friday.
It was the seventh straight loss in Raleigh for the Senators, who haven't won at the RBC Center since Dec. 12, 2007. Still, coach Cory Clouston was happy with his team's effort.
"Our guys played hard, they played well," Clouston said. "I'm not upset with the performance or the effort or the intelligence of our play. There were just a lot of good things out there."
Despite being planted in last place in the East, the Senators continue to play hard/
"We're relying on guys who are just coming up from the AHL, we're relying on guys who are third- and fourth-liners on our team," Clouston said. "We did a lot of good things. We feel we deserved a better fate. We feel we deserved that win. Unfortunately, Ward was really good."
Material from team media was used in this report
|Colin Greening (3) ASST: Jason Spezza (27), Bobby Butler (5)|
1 - 0 OTT
|Marek Svatos (2) ASST: Erik Condra (4), David Hale (2)|
2 - 0 OTT
|Tuomo Ruutu (18) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (32), Jeff Skinner (28)|
2 - 1 OTT
|Chad LaRose (14) ASST: Joni Pitkanen (28)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Chad LaRose (15) ASST: Brandon Sutter (14), Tim Gleason (13)|
3 - 2 CAR
|Cory Stillman (10) ASST: Eric Staal (36), Erik Cole (25)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Erik Karlsson (13) ASST: Jason Spezza (28), Nick Foligno (19)|
4 - 3 CAR
|Erik Karlsson Interference against Jerome Samson|
|Cory Stillman Interference on goalkeeper against Curtis McElhinney|
|Joe Corvo Hooking against Colin Greening|
|Filip Kuba Interference against Erik Cole|
|Joni Pitkanen Roughing against Ryan Shannon|
|Zack Smith Tripping against Jerome Samson|
|Chris Neil Roughing against Bryan Allen|
|Bryan Allen Tripping against Chris Neil|