Analysis from Raleigh
→ Three was the magic number for the Carolina Hurricanes, as they used a three-goal third period to extend their winning streak to three games by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Jeff Skinner, Teuvo Teravainen and Victor Rask netted goals for the Hurricanes in the third, and Cam Ward made 31 saves in his third straight win.
"It changes the whole dynamic. Guys are excited coming to the rink and having a lot of fun. Winning is fun. You put in a lot of hard work and to be rewarded with wins is really what it's all about," Ward said. "Tonight was a prime example of they don't ask how you get it done, just get it done. To be able to walk away with two points tonight is really good."
Video: Hurricanes hang on to sink Canadiens, 3-2
→ The Hurricanes trailed the Canadiens 1-0 heading into the third period, but in the span of six minutes, the Canes found the twine thrice to hand the Habs just their third regulation loss of the season.
The Hurricanes' first two tallies came via redirections of point shots off the stick of Ron Hainsey. Skinner scored the first, turning his skate to direct the puck to the upper corner of the net. Then it was Teravainen cruising through the slot and getting a stick on Hainsey's shot to put the Canes on top.
"We got on them a little quicker in the third, got some zone time and our forwards made some nice plays," said Hainsey, who was named first star of the game.
"He's been outstanding, and he flies under the radar," head coach Bill Peters said of the Canes' veteran defenseman. "He's been steady as they come."
Not even 90 seconds later, Elias Lindholm attracted two defenders and fed Rask, who dangled, shot and scored.
→ This offensive outburst came after the Canes had just four shots on goal in both the first and second periods, a stark contrast to their shot output in the last five games, in which they've registered 30-plus shots in each contest. The Canes' bested their shot total from the first 40 minutes in the last 20 minutes alone, when they had 10 shots and scored on three.
The biggest difference between the first two periods and the third? Peters pointed toward the faceoff circle.
"We were at 38 percent after two periods, and then all of a sudden in the third period we went 13-for-20, and we had the puck more," he said.
Peters and his staff also shortened their bench and juggled their lines a tad, as Skinner joined Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho on a line.
"We shuffled the deck and went down to three lines. It ended up giving us a little bit of a spark," Peters said. "Skinny had good jump. I thought Skinny had probably the most jump out of any of our wingers. I wanted to reward him."
Video: Hear from Hainsey, Ward, Rask, and Peters Postgame
→ Ward made his fifth consecutive start in net tonight, and he improved his November record to 4-1-2. Ward has posted a 1.62 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage while allowing just 12 goals in that stretch.
There wasn't much Ward could do on the Canadiens' first goal. Daniel Carr and Noah Hanifin were engaged at the top of the crease, and Hanifin shoved Carr, who folded like a cheap tent into Ward. With Ward down and out, Jeff Petry hammered the puck into the gaping cage. The Hurricanes challenged on the grounds of goaltender interference, but the goal stood as called.
The Canadiens trimmed the Canes' lead to just a goal late in the third period, but the Hurricanes held strong down the stretch to earn the two points.
"We're doing everything we can to prepare, whether it's on the ice or off the ice. When you're creating good habits, good things happen on the ice. I feel like we've done that. We've also learned from previous games earlier in the season," Ward said. "When things don't go well … you can either dwell on it or look at it as a way to improve. We feel a lot more comfortable when we do have a lead."
→ The Hurricanes' five-game homestand concludes on Sunday with an evening tilt against the Winnipeg Jets, a chance for Carolina to extend its winning streak to four games before playing the next nine of 11 games on the road.
"Getting that last win on this homestand is very, very important," Hainsey said. "Sunday's game is one we have to be ready for right off the hop. We get a win there, and it gives us a great homestand here winning four in a row."
"We're building some momentum here at home. It's important that we respond and get things done on Sunday," Ward said. "We can all remember what happened in game one. We can use that as motivation and prepare for that."