The Carolina Hurricanes snapped a four-game winless streak with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Brock McGinn opened the scoring in the second period, and Derek Ryan's third tally of the season was the game-winner in the third period. Additionally, defenseman Roland McKeown recorded two assists in his second NHL game.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.
Head coach Bill Peters said last week that the Hurricanes have a template, one that, "when we play the way we're designed to play, we're very efficient and successful."
Tonight's game was a pretty accurate representation of that template. The Hurricanes grinded out two points, winning the race to three goals and throwing 48 shots on goal in the process.
Video: Canes snap four-game skid with 3-1 win vs. Panthers
"Much closer to how we want to play. I thought all four lines played really well," Peters said. "I liked the way we played, I really did."
"There are some areas of the game we need to clean up ... but for the most part I feel like we've been consistent in our efforts," Ryan said. "If we continue to play like that I think we're going to score goals and have success."
Aside from Justin Williams' empty-net goal (he quietly had a two-point night and was a plus-3 on the scoresheet - that's reliable veteran production), both of the Canes' goals came right in the neighborhood of the blue paint.
Peters has been preaching getting traffic in front of the net and scoring on seconds and thirds. That's what the team did tonight.
"Pucks and bodies to the net," Ryan said, simply. "We're getting lots of pucks there, but I think we can get some more bodies there and bang in some ugly ones. Then the floodgates will open up a little bit and we'll score some nice ones."
McGinn, facing his brother Jamie opposite, scored the first goal of the game, as he whacked in a loose rebound in the crease at the 12:17 mark of the second period.
Video: FLA@CAR: McGinn backhands rebound to open the scoring
Shortly after the Hurricanes came up with a big penalty kill in a tie game in the third period, Ryan scored his third goal of the season to put the Canes ahead for good. Williams had the shot that Luongo initially turned away, but Ryan was there to bat the rebound out of midair.
"Just a nice faceoff play by us set up by Willy," Ryan explained. "He's popping out up top to get the shot on net, and I'm just going to the net to tip it in."
Video: FLA@CAR: Ryan shows off hand-eye on go-ahead goal
"If you add up those two goals, they're not [more than] six feet away from the net. Ginner is just out of the blue paint, and Doc is right on top of the blue paint," Peters said. "Skinny had a real good look early in the second, and that's right at the blue paint. It's no secret."
Peters said this morning he expected defenseman Roland McKeown to be better in his second NHL game - not that he wasn't fine in his first because he was, but he didn't play in the third period when the Canes shortened their bench - and he certainly made the most of his nearly 10 minutes played in game No. 2.
McKeown tallied two assists tonight, both of the secondary variety but both also key in orchestrating scoring plays.
"Rolly McKeown ended up on the scoresheet twice, his first two points in the NHL. A good night for the young guys," Peters said. "I'm confident we're going to have a real good player if we do the right thing in the development process with Rolly McKeown."
The Hurricanes' power play continues to blemish the team's overall offensive production. The Canes had five opportunities on the man advantage tonight and could not convert on any of them, and the team is now 1-for-22 on the power play in the last eight games.
"I thought the power play was better, especially early in the game," Peters said. "Shot the puck, got it back on retrievals."
Scoring chances aside, the Canes have to turn these chances into conversions. The Canes could have taken and then built a lead with their two power plays in the first period. They got a third opportunity in the second before Florida scored on their first of the game.
"If we can get a little bit on the power play, that's going to make our life easier," Peters said. "That's something we've got to continue to work towards."
Carolina's second back-to-back of the season is on tap for this weekend. The Canes will head to Columbus to face off with the Blue Jackets on Friday before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
"It's huge. It's early in the season, but still these points are so important at the end of the year. You can't let points slip. We have to get that winning mentality," said Scott Darling, who made 30 saves. "This is a good first win, and we have to keep it going in Columbus."
"We just need to string a couple wins together. Easier said than done, but I think that's the biggest thing for this team right now. Get some confidence rolling," Ryan said. "We have some confidence after winning this game and just build on it. Let it snowball and turn into something really special because I feel like we have a special group here, I'm not going to lie."