Analysis from New Jersey
→ The Carolina Hurricanes capped an incredibly successful four-game road trip with a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Jeff Skinner tallied the game-winning goal, Sebastian Aho added a pair and Eddie Lack made 26 saves as the Hurricanes extended their point streak to 10 games (7-0-3).
"It's a big win for us late in the road trip. It was a tight game up until the end. Everyone contributed again. All four lines were going," Skinner said. "After the second goal we got a huge kill by the PK, and Eddie made some huge stops coming down the stretch. We were able to put it away with Fishy with a big goal for us. It's a big win, and now we've got to go home and follow this up."
"We've got some good confidence," Aho said. "We have lots of players who are playing good right now, and we have two great goalkeepers who give us a chance to win every night."
Video: Aho pots a pair to lead Hurricanes past Devils, 3-1
→ Jeff Skinner cannot be stopped.
The Hurricanes needed a play in the third period, and Skinner stepped up. He made a steal at his own blue line, poked the puck down the ice and was off to the races. He dangled, forehand-backhand-forehand and scored.
"It was a little tight, but Skinny came up huge for us when we needed him to," Lack said. "He's been so good for a long time now. It's so fun to watch. You're in a 1-1 game, and he's going to get one eventually."
"Skinny is scoring goals and scoring big goals," head coach Bill Peters said. "It was a real good play by him to strip a guy at the line, go in and make a nice play on a high-end goaltender. That's a big-time goal. We needed that little wiggle room, and Seabass gave us that."
Skinner, now a 30-goal scorer for the third time in his career, has tallied goals (7) in his last five games.
"I'm just trying to follow Lindy," Skinner joked.
→ Sebastian Aho tallied his fifth multi-goal game of the season in tremendous fashion.
His first of the game came after a scoreless first period, as the Hurricanes broke the ice in the second with a familiar cast of characters making it happen. Stickhandling behind the net, Elias Lindholm fed Aho in the slot for the rookie's 22nd goal of the season. Yet another primary assist extended Lindholm's career-long point streak to 10 games (4g, 7a).
"That was an easy shot to put the puck in the net. It was a great play by Lindy," Aho said. "He's really hot right now."
Aho stretched the Canes' lead to two goals late in regulation, as he outworked three Devils by himself, fished out a loose puck, kicked it to his stick and roofed the shot. Aho now has three goals and five assists in a career-long six-game point streak.
"We wanted to play a fast 60 minutes," Aho said. "We just tried to make one last push there. It was a huge goal by Skinny and a couple good saves by Eddie. That was the key in the win."
"World-class talent and a world-class player," Peters said of Aho. "He's a real good kid. Smart, smart. Elite hockey sense. Very competitive."
→ The latter portion of the second period was not as strong as the front half, and the ice may have tilted somewhat after the Hurricanes were unable to convert on a pair of power plays, including a 39-second 5-on-3 advantage.
The Hurricanes began to mismanage the puck a bit and struggled to move it out of their own zone and up the ice. In one of these instances, an errant pass through the neutral zone took an unfortunate bounce and led to an odd-man rush the other way, with Taylor Hall feeding Travis Zajac for the game-tying marker.
"I didn't think we gave up much in the first 30-35 minutes, and then we gave up a little bit in the final 25," Peter said. "It's all about doing a good job when you get your opportunities and defending properly."
When the Hurricanes needed Lack to come up big down the stretch, he did just that. Lack stoned a breakaway attempt off the stick of Blake Pietila in the third period.
"Eddie was really good here tonight," Peters said. "He made the big save at a key time. He did that and has done that here for a while now. That's an encouraging sign."
→ Capturing seven of a possible eight points is just about as good as this road trip could have played out. The Hurricanes now return home for four straight, beginning Monday and Tuesday with a back-to-back set against the Detroit Red Wings.
"It was a real good segment. Nine out of 10 points in the segment," Peters said, referencing the set of five games the Canes just played. "We've had two good segments in a row, and we're going to have to have two more good ones coming up. Guys are playing well and dialed in. You've got to continue to keep pace around the league."
With nine games left to play, the Hurricanes are five points out of a playoff spot and have games in hand. At the very least, it's going to be an interesting finish.
"We know what we kind of need in points in each segment, and if we get those points, we'll be right in it in the end," Peters said. "We'll see."