LAS VEGAS - The Carolina Hurricanes hit jackpot and scored their first victory of this road trip by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout.
Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk each netted their first goals as Hurricanes in regulation, and Phil Di Giuseppe tallied the game-winner in the shootout. Cam Ward made 22 saves to secure his 300th career NHL win.
Here are five takeaways from the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
The 30th game of the Hurricanes' 2017-18 season belongs to No. 30. Ward earned his 300th career NHL victory, becoming the fifth active goaltender to do so.
"It feels real good. It's something I've been striving for a while, and I'm very fortunate to get it tonight," he said. "I thought the guys put forth a great effort, especially coming in in a back-to-back situation."
"He was awesome. He made a bunch of big saves," van Riemsdyk said. "Really happy for him to get his 300th win."
In October 2005, Ward stopped Mario Lemieux, Ziggy Palffy and Sidney Crosby to earn his first victory in the NHL. 12 years later, in a city that's new to the NHL, Ward tallied his 300th victory also in the shootout.
Video: CAR@VGK: Ward wins 300th career game in SO
"It's kind of weird how it all comes in a circle. I'm really thankful for the opportunities I've been given throughout my entire career, to be able to stay in the same organization for 13 years and get those 300 wins," he said. "A lot of players and coaching staffs and family have really supported me to get to that point, and I'm very thankful for that."
"It was special to get the win. We should have had it looked after for him in San Jose, but we didn't," head coach Bill Peters said. "Full marks for being a quality goaltender here tonight. He's had a quality career, and for me there's no end in sight. He looks after himself."
Skinner raced to the empty cage to snag the game puck commemorating Ward's milestone victory. He gave his goaltender a face wash and dropped the puck in his glove. That's a keeper.
"It's great to see the guys working so hard for me," Ward said. "It's something I appreciate."
It was a big night for the two former Vegas Golden Knights on the Canes' roster: Kruger and van Riemsdyk, each of them probably riding the high of playing in the old barn to score their first goals of the season.
"I had a brief stint, maybe like 12 hours on the team," van Riemsdyk joked.
Kruger's tally came late in the first period, a lucky bounce that the Canes have been searching for throughout this road trip and fittingly found in Vegas. Brayden McNabb was looking for an outlet pass from behind his own net. He instead fired the puck off the reaching stick of Kruger, and the puck trickled in past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Video: CAR@VGK: Kruger blocks pass, puck ricochets in
"We haven't had many of those. That was a little bit of a bizarre-type play," Peters said. "It was an unfortunate bounce for them but a good bounce for us."
Van Riemsdyk's goal came just over three minutes after Deryk Engelland tied the game at one in the second period. With a scramble in front of Fleury, the puck jumped out to van Riemsdyk, and he buried a top-shelf shot to restore the Canes' one-goal advantage.
Video: CAR@VGK: van Riemsdyk finds twine on tough-angle shot
"You want to help the team any way you can," he said. "Putting one in the net every once in a while definitely feels good. It was nice to get that one."
This game followed a similar script to much of the Hurricanes' road trip. It was a closely-contested match that went down to the wire, and tonight the Canes were able to secure the extra point to end their four-game winless skid. That's big for the Canes as they head to Buffalo to round out this trip later in the week.
"We pride ourselves on being able to skate from top to bottom. We knew it'd be a good, fast game. They played hard and so did we," van Riemsdyk said. "We were fortunate with a couple big saves and big moves in the shootout to come out with the win."
"I saw a lot of effort. I saw a lot of poise, too. We've been in these situations numerous times - one-goal games where the margin for error is extremely small. Tonight we showed good poise," Ward said. "McGinn to extend the shootout. That's a lot of pressure on a player to extend it. And then Phil sealed the deal for us."
"It was very similar to a lot of the games on the trip," Peters said. "We've played well on the trip, and tonight we found a way to get two points."
Di Giuseppe was inserted into the lineup in place of Josh Jooris tonight, and Peters turned to him in the fifth round of the shootout. Di Giuseppe skated right down the middle of the ice, faked forehand, went backhand and deposited the puck in the back of the net. He then dropped to a knee and celebrated with an emphatic pump of the fist.
Video: CAR@VGK: Di Giuseppe makes sweet move for SO win
"He put on a great move. It's not easy to score on Marc-Andre on a deke move," Ward said. "He put together a sweet celly, as he should. He's excited, and it was a big win for us."
Big stick tap to the hundreds of Canes fans that made the trip out to Vegas to watch the first-ever meeting between these two teams. It was great to see a lot of red throughout T-Mobile Arena.
And how about the game experience? It was a raucous atmosphere on a Tuesday night, and it was very Vegas-like from the story-based pregame introduction, to the castle with the giant Golden Knights helmet in the upper-level endzone, to the second intermission on-ice performance from the Drumbots LED percussion line. It was a different but fun night at the rink.
"Coming to a new building in a great city like this that looked pretty much full to me … and it sounded pretty full," van Riemsdyk said. "It wasn't hard to get up for this game, that's for sure."
"To face a new team in a new building in a new city, it was a fun atmosphere," Ward said. "You can see why they have the record they do at home. They put on a pretty good show here. It was fun to be a part of."
The last stop of the Hurricanes' two-week, six-game road trip is Buffalo, where the Canes and Sabres face off on Friday.
"It's a results-league, and you need to find ways to win games," van Riemsydk said. "I think this is a big one for us against a good team that's played well, especially at home. We dug deep on a back-to-back, and I think it shows a lot about us."
"We needed a win. It's been too long. We've been on the road for 10-11 days now looking for our first win," Ward said. "It's a big confidence booster. We needed to put two points on the board. Hopefully we can build on this now and go into Buffalo with another strong effort."