Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Monday his team still was searching for an identity.
The Canes may be close to forging one.
In beating the Calgary Flames 4-1 Monday night at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes again came from behind, displaying resiliency. They used their speed. They again got strong goaltending from Cam Ward and played effectively in the defensive zone to help their goalie.
Jeff Skinner scored his 100th career goal, Justin Faulk had a goal and two assists and Tim Gleason picked up a goal as the Canes (5-6-3) ran their November record to 5-0-1. And Zach Boychuk might have had the biggest goal of the game, coming in the first period when the Canes needed a boost.
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“We’re playing with a lot more consistency and a lot more pace,” said Ward, who had 22 saves in winning his fifth in a row. “That’s a compliment to the coaching staff but the players have to go out there and execute, and we’ve been doing that.”
The Flames (9-6-2) were finishing a successful five-game road trip and had thumped the Canes 5-0 in Calgary last month. When David Jones scored on a first-period power play, the Flames led 1-0 and the Canes again were struggling to get started.
Boychuk took care of that late in the first. Taking a pass from Faulk in the neutral zone, he carried the puck up the left wing with defenseman Dennis Wideman on his right shoulder, then beat goalie Jonas Hiller with a nasty shortside shot that hit Hiller’s mask.
“I just tried to keep on the puck and win that battle,” Boychuk said.
Just like that, the game turned in Carolina’s favor.
“That was a big goal by ‘Chucky,’ ” Faulk said. “Fought off the defender and put it home. But that’s the way our team is. We want to work and compete and win one-on-one battles.”
Faulk scored on a second-period power play – a slam-bang goal. Riley Nash won the faceoff and Faulk unloaded. In four seconds, the Canes led 2-1.
“That seemed to put a dent in us and we couldn’t recuperate,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
Skinner’s 100th, a little more than 12 minutes into the second, came off a nice backhand pass from Alexander Semin and had Skinner pumping his right arm. It also came after Peters juggled his lines, moving Skinner and Semin to Jay McClement’s line while shifting Staal to the wing on Rask’s line.
“That’s something we might leave for a little while,” Peters said of Staal on the wing.
Peters called a timeout with 14:22 remaining in regulation, sternly getting some points across to his team.
“He felt like a lot of guys were watching and not playing the game,” Boychuk said. “It’s nice having a lead but you have to keep your foot on the gas pedal.”
The Canes responded by adding to the lead. Skinner found Gleason pinching in between the circles and Gleason scored his first of the season.
Carolina had gotten two goals from defensemen this season. Faulk and Gleason doubled that total.
“I liked our game,” Peters said. “When we do have an identity people will know what it is, but we’re trying to form an identity and we’re doing a lot of positive things.”
The Flames’ Hartley was impressed.
“They were the better team all over, from the first to their last player,” he said.