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Big First Period Propels Canes Past Wild

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Buoyed by a three-goal first period, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 in the second game of the NHL Prospects Tournament.

Valentin Zykov, Warren Foegele and Steven Lorentz netted goals in the first 20 minutes, Andrew Poturalski added a goal in the second period and Callum Booth made 20-some (unofficially) saves in Carolina's second straight tournament victory.

"It was a very nice start. We got the momentum going in our direction," head coach Ulf Samuelsson said. "The good thing about having a big lead like that is you're feeling good, but the bad news is that the other team is going to get an earful from their coach between periods. They came out and played real hard the remainder of the game and made it a real good game."

"The team worked really hard in front of me and made it really easy for me," Booth said. "The team got a lot of confidence, and we rolled from there."

Video: NHL Prospects Tournament Highlights vs. Minnesota

The Hurricanes didn't waste any time in this one, establishing a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The first goal was gift-wrapped, a Minnesota turnover that landed right on Zykov's tape. He made no mistake and buried it to give the Canes the early advantage.

"I didn't have a lot of time … you've got to do something with it real quick. Afterwards I was a little bit surprised," Zykov said about the play. "We were confident with the puck, and we held the lead."

Carolina took a 2-0 lead when Foegele crashed the net and smacked in the rebound off Janne Kuokkanen's shot. Later in the period, after the Hurricanes had some trouble moving the puck up the ice, they skated down on a 2-on-1 rush, and Lorentz found the back of the net for the 3-0 lead.

"Behind every goal there's usually two or three high-skill plays. I thought we made that on two of our three goals there," Samuelsson said. "We had some good puck movement through the whole ice surface and were able to capitalize on it."

Video: Ulf Samuelsson discusses his team's win over Minnesota

"[A three-goal lead] definitely takes a little pressure off, I can tell you that from my standpoint. Everyone just worked really hard today. I think that was great," Booth said. "A three-goal lead in the first, nothing really beats that. I'm pretty happy that we got the win."

What was a high-scoring first period was also a physical and, at times, chippy period. Julien Gauthier sent a Wild skater over the boards and into the Canes' bench. Tyler Ganly laid a massive hit on Sam Anas, who was bleeding and slow to get up before being helped off the ice. Alex Tuch came to the defense of his teammate, and he and Ganly tussled.

With the regulation win, the Hurricanes have moved into first place in the Ted Lindsay Division. Monday's tilt against the Dallas Stars will decide which of the two will move on to play in the championship game.

"In a short tournament like this, everyone has done a great job on our team to bond together," Booth said. "Now we have two wins and we're going for the third one on Monday."

2016 NHL Prospects Tournament
Fri Sep 16, 2016 Hurricanes Rangers 4-3 W (OT)
Sat Sep 17, 2016 Wild Hurricanes 4-2 W
Mon Sep 19, 2016 Stars Hurricanes 6:30 p.m.
Tue Sep 20, 2016 TBD TBD TBD
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