Jordan Staal was given the Carolina Hurricanes’ fireman’s helmet and Cam Ward won in a shootout.
That in itself was enough for the Canes to celebrate Saturday after a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at PNC Arena.
Staal, who had a goal and assist, has struggled offensively much of the season after recovering from a broken leg. And Ward’s problems in shootouts – the veteran goalie now is 13-30 in his career – are well-chronicled.
Told Saturday that it was a nice shootout win, Ward beamed and said, “Yeah, you don’t see those very often. I was very determined to see that we got the win.”
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The Canes, going first in the shootout, got goals from Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry, both with nice moves. Ward stopped Jakub Voracek, then allowed a goal to rookie Nick Cousins, and when Emergy denied Victor Rask it was Ward against Claude Giroux to decide it.
Giroux tried a backhander but Ward was there for the stop.
Staal’s line had stopped Giroux’s line – with Voracek and Michael Raffl – for much of the afternoon game. Canes coach Bill Peters had Eric Staal back on his brother’s left wing and Elias Lindholm on the right side. Lindholm scored the game’s first goal in the first period.
“To be able to shut them down and generate offense is quality work,” Peters said.
Raffl had a power-play goal for the Flyers in the second period, and Sean Couturier tied the score at 2 with 1:50 left in regulation.
Ward, who had 21 saves, said the late goal by the Flyers (31-29-18) only added to the Canes’ motivation to dig deeper and win.
“It’s never easy when you get scored on late,” Ward said. “But I didn’t sense any panic. I thought in the overtime period we had some looks and didn’t give up a shot. We were able to bear down. So a good mental test for the guys.”
Rask had a chance to win it with a little more than a minute remaining in the overtime, but Emery stopped his shot from the slot.
Lindholm scored his 17th of the season 11 minutes into the first after Eric Staal’s pass from the neutral zone set up Jordan Staal for a shot from the left wing. Eric Staal and Lindholm drove the net and Lindholm ripped in the rebound.
The Canes (29-38-11) came up empty on two first-period power plays but took a 2-0 lead in the second on Jordan Staal’s fifth goal of the season, and his first goal in 19 games. Jordan Staal swiped the puck from defenseman Nicklas Grossmann in the neutral zone and beat Emery with a sharp, shortside shot.
Raffl’s goal came after a hooking penalty against Canes forward Alexander Semin. Raffl got a piece of a Couturier shot with 10 seconds left in the power play.
“That’s obviously a frustrating situation but I thought the guys did a good job not sagging at that time,” Peters said.
The Hurricanes were coming off a tough two-game road trip. They were beaten 4-2 by the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, then blasted 6-1 Thursday by the Florida Panthers in a game many of the Canes believed was their worst of the season.
“We haven’t been real happy with our efforts,” Ward said.
That wasn’t the case Saturday. Jordan Staal was given the red helmet as the team MVP for the first time this season, and Ward earned his second shootout win after beating Arizona on Feb. 5.
As Jordan Staal said, “It’s just good to get the ‘W.’”