Analysis from Raleigh
→ The Carolina Hurricanes earned their first win in nearly three weeks with a decisive 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Viktor Stalberg each tallied goals to help the Canes break out of their offensive funk, and Eddie Lack made 34 saves in his first shutout of the season and ninth of his career.
Video: Lack, Staal lead 'Canes to 3-0 home win
→ It had been awhile since Lack broke out his trademark victory dance, but as soon as the final horn sounded, he lifted his leg and pumped his arms in the air in celebration. The Canes' Hockey is for Everyone ambassador, on You Can Play Night no less, sparkled in his second start since returning from a pair of concussions.
The Swedish netminder wasn't tested much in the first period, but he totaled 34 saves in a solid 60-minute effort.
"I saw it well today and had a little bit of luck when I needed it," Lack said. "It was a really important win for me, and I'm happy that the boys played so well in front of me."
"He was big. He was square. He didn't get tested a whole lot early, but when he did get tested he came up big," head coach Bill Peters said. "There's a zero on the board. He's a good teammate, and the guys really like him. You want to make sure the night ends with that zero still up there."
With a game every other day ahead in March, Peters said he wanted to get Lack back into game action, and tonight was a perfect opportunity.
"We've got to get him going. We haven't had an opportunity to play him a whole bunch," Peters said. "We don't want him to sit. We want to get him going. I thought he did a great job here tonight, and he took advantage of his opportunity."
"I've been thinking a lot, thinking about what I can do differently. I just feel like once I'm out there playing I've been thinking a little too much about technical stuff instead of just playing and having fun," Lack said. "That's something that I've really been trying to work on here lately - getting back to having fun because that's when I play my best hockey."
He certainly had fun tonight, and perhaps he'll see the crease again on Sunday. Peters didn't divulge his starting goaltender for then just yet, but tonight's performance?
"That will factor into the decision," Peters said with a smile.
→ Just 79 seconds into tonight's contest, Staal scored his 12th goal of the season to give his team the early lead. After fishing the puck out the near corner, Staal shook Dion Phaneuf and beat him around the net before sliding the puck in past Craig Anderson off the far post.
"We had a good cycle going, and he just took it right to the cage," Phil Di Giuseppe said.
The Hurricanes controlled much of the first period, out-shooting the Senators 8-1 in the first 3:30 of the game and 19-7 in the first period. But they still took a one-goal lead into the intermission.
Video: Hear from Lack, Staal, Di Giuseppe, and Peters
→ But then? The Hurricanes built on their lead late in the second period, scoring two goals in a span of just over four minutes to stretch their advantage to 3-0.
"I thought we generated chances throughout the game, and that's what we've got to continue to focus on: being aggressive offensively without being high-risk," Peters said. "I thought the guys were aggressive and attacking the net."
Lindholm was the beneficiary of a terrific cross-crease backhand feed from Di Giuseppe, and the young Swede doubled the Canes' lead with his sixth goal of the season.
"Lindy told me before the game that he would have two, so I was a little disappointed he only got one," Lack joked.
Then, Stalberg located a Sebastian Aho rebound and fired it to the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season. On the scoresheet on that sequence was Victor Rask, whose secondary assist was his first point since January 13.
"Berger's is the kind of goal that we need more of," Peters said. "Aho throws it to the far pad, and there's a big rebound there. All of a sudden, he's coming high to low and scores on the rebound."
"We've been playing well, just not getting rewarded for it on the scoresheet. It's nice to score," Di Giuseppe said. "It was nice to come out with three tonight."
→ The Hurricanes' close out their five-game homestand on Sunday when they host the Calgary Flames on Military Appreciation Day with a 3 p.m. matinee puck drop.
"It felt like the boys really wanted this one to end the losing streak, you know?" Lack said. "It was a big win for our team, and now we move on to Sunday."