Analysis from St. Louis
→ The Carolina Hurricanes broke a 2-2 stalemate in the third period with a late power-play goal to skate away with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal, while Derek Ryan tallied twice, as the Hurricanes bounced back from a disappointing effort against New Jersey on Tuesday night.
"I thought we managed the puck extremely well. We didn't give them a lot of chances," said Jay McClement, who evened the score at two in the second period. "We just stuck with it, had a couple big kills at the end and the power play came through."
"It's a big win. We've been playing pretty well at home as of late. Coming off a loss at home, we wanted to have a good response," Skinner said. "I thought we played a pretty solid game."
"We didn't love our game the other night, and there's a certain standard that we hold ourselves accountable to, a way we want to play and an identity we want to carve out," head coach Bill Peters said. "Tonight was more our identity for sure. We didn't give up a lot."
Video: Ryan, Skinner lead Hurricanes past Blues, 4-2
→ The Hurricanes' power play had been stale as of late. It had not generated much, and it hadn't been particularly dangerous, going seven games without a marker on the man-advantage (0-for-16).
And then when the Canes' needed it most, with the score tied 2-2 in the final six minutes of regulation, the power play capitalized.
Jeff Skinner accepted a pass from Noah Hanifin, stepped up at the top of the far circle and blasted his 14th of the season to the back of the net to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
"It was a real good shot on the game-winner," Peters said. "Shooter's mentality. He's a dangerous guy."
"So much in this league is the little things, and the specialty teams make the difference," Ryan said. "That was the case tonight."
After the penalty kill dispatched a penalty after Skinner's goal, Ryan added an empty-net goal late to seal the victory for the Hurricanes.
"I liked our specialty teams. It was a good effort throughout," Peters said. "Everyone found a way to contribute, all four lines and all six D."
→ It took just 69 seconds for Ryan, who had gone without a goal in nine straight games, to get the Hurricanes on the board, as he skated in on an odd-man rush and beat Jake Allen low to the far side.
"It's always nice to get one early," Peters said. "He made the right play coming in on the off wing. Kept it and shot it."
"It had been awhile since I scored, so it feels good to get another one," Ryan said. "It feels even better helping the team get two big points."
→ The Blues and Hurricanes combined for three goals in the middle frame. The Blues scored two straight, first Joel Edmundson from the point and then Vladimir Tarasenko on the power play, to take a 2-1 lead.
The Hurricanes answered, as Jay McClement, who was drafted by the Blues in 2001 and played with them in six seasons, fired home a one-timer from the near boards, sneaking the laser of a shot under Allen's arm.
That goal came after a grinding, effective shift from the Hurricanes. Jordan Staal's line and the Hainsey-Faulk defensive pairing worked it around the zone and then changed, all the while maintaining possession, as the Slavin-Pesce pairing and the fourth forward line hopped over the boards.
"It was a great shift by Jordo's line. They had them hemmed in, and then they changed," McClement said. "Fresh legs against a tired five guys for them. We were able to take advantage of it."
→ Ty Rattie made his Hurricanes debut tonight against his former team, a day after being claimed on waivers by the Canes. He skated on a line with Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner and logged 12:59 of ice time, two shots and three hits.
"He was good," Peters said. "He's been well-coached for a long time in the St. Louis program. We expect him to be able to come in and help us out."
→ It's off to Chicago now for the Hurricanes, who will face off with the Blackhawks tomorrow night before heading back to Raleigh for four straight.
"We looked more like ourselves tonight, more to our identity the way we want to play," Peters said.
"Start it off with a nice win, get some confidence and the boys rolling," Ryan said. "Hopefully that continues in Chicago."