Rescheduled games with noon starts apparently can be unpredictable, as Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller was quick to note Saturday. "You see it a lot. These afternoon games you don't know what to expect," Muller said. The Canes topped the Ottawa Senators 6-3 at PNC Arena, in a game in which seven goals were scored in the second period. There were a few "brain cramps," as Muller put it, and some loose defensive play but Carolina won its third straight and did it without Jeff Skinner or Alexander Semin scoring. Manny Malhotra had two goals and assist, Nathan Gerbe a goal and two assists and Drayson Bowman two assists. And that was the Canes' third line. Add in goals from Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Riley Nash and the Canes (23-19-9) had a season high in scoring and now have 11 goals in the past two games. Defenseman Andrej Sekera, a man on the move throughout the game, finished with two assists and was named the game's first star. Semin had his goal streak end at four games but closed with two assists as 11 players had points for the Canes, who have won nine of the past 12. "I just think it's the brand of hockey that we're playing -- a structured, detailed type game," Eric Staal said. "When you do that, chances are going to come depending on who you're up against. I felt like we were hitting some open areas and capitalizing on the chances we got." Gerbe, who had career-high three points, scored the only first-period goal -- swiping the puck, skating behind the net and scoring on a wraparound -- but there were a lot of open areas for both teams in the second. The Canes surged to a 4-0 lead as Staal and Malhotra scored 32 seconds apart and later Nash was unchecked and ripped one past Sens goalie Robin Lehner, who was lifted after the second period. But Kyle Turris scored twice for the Sens (22-20-10), his second coming shorthanded. Ruutu, playing on the fourth line with Nash and Radek Dvorak, scored a power-play goal for a 5-2 lead with 32.3 seconds left in the period, only to have the Sens' Mika Zibanejad knock one past Canes goalie Anton Khudobin 10 seconds later. Khudobin's reaction to the wild second period? "Well, I think angry," he said. "You just can't give them freebies. If you put up four goals you can't just give them the chance to come back in the game." Craig Anderson replaced Lehner in net for Ottawa in the third but it was more of a tight-checking period and the Canes hunkered down defensively. Malhotra had the only goal with an empty-netter in the final two minutes.
Malhotra’s two goals lead Carolina Hurricanes to 6-3 win over Ottawa Senators
Raleigh News & Observer | Jan 26