RALEIGH, N.C. – Defenseman Justin Faulk’s goal was the difference-maker with 17 seconds remaining, and gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes at PNC Arena on Sunday.
Five different scorers contributed to the effort for Carolina (10-13-4) as Kris Versteeg, Jay McClement, Eric Staal, and Ron Hainsey all preceded Faulk’s winning marker with one of their own.
The win provided goaltender Cam Ward with his ninth win of the season, as he finished the game making 19 saves on the night, while his counterpart, Anders Lindback, stopped 13 of the 18 shots he faced for Arizona (13-13-1).
“It was a tough one,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“It was a funny game – a couple of lead changes there and not much goin’ on at times. It was a game where you needed to stay patient.”
Following a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, the Hurricanes got caught off guard early on.
Tobias Rieder stood all alone in front of Ward as Arizona defenseman Stefan Elliott put a shot towards the Carolina net.
After Ward made a pad save, the unmarked forward stuffed the rebound into the net and gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds in.
It didn’t take long for Carolina to even the score as Versteeg released a low wrist shot while spinning into position in the slot.
Even though Arizona netminder Anders Linback got his pad on the shot, it wasn’t enough and both teams were tied 1-1 at the 2:18 mark.
“They come hard – they check top lines really hard,” Versteeg said of the Coyotes.
“They’re not as much of a physical team, but they pick their spots really well. You’ve gotta keep your head up no matter who you’re playin’ against, but especially that team.”
Play through the rest of the period highlighted a lot of choppy neutral zone work, along with zone time and puck possession that translated into challenging shots that each goaltender had to contend with.
Pinching in on a cross-crease attempt at beating Ward from Brad Richardson, defenseman Niklas Grossman got the puck at the right faceoff dot and threaded a shot into the net, and put Arizona ahead 2-1 with 3:05 to play in the period.
Once again, Carolina answered quickly as McClement outskated his defender on a long dump-in from defenseman Noah Hanifin that would have been whistled for icing otherwise.
With possession of the puck behind the net, McClement stopped left and reversed right to his forehand while attempting to wrap the puck into the goal off Lindback’s left post.
The netminder got his pad on the shot, but gave up a rebound that the Hurricanes center made easy work of, putting the puck into the net to record his first goal of the season.
Starting the second period tied at two goals apiece, both teams continued to work in the corners and moved the puck along the boards in each end.
A turnover by the Coyotes defense allowed Elias Lindholm to take possession of the puck to Lindback’s right.
The winger waited and then saucered a centering pass to Staal who one-timed a shot towards the net and scored his fifth goal of the season and gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the game, 3-2.
“I had some great looks against Montreal and I had some great chances in games prior,” Staal said.
“I gotta rely on my ability to finish when I get those chances and that happened tonight.”
The third period started to show the wear that Carolina had endured in playing its third game in four nights as Elliott scored on a backhand while surrounded by Carolina defenders.
It was another instance where Ward made the first save, but left untouched, Elliott slid the puck past him and tied the game 3-3 at the 6:34 mark.
A power play goal from Antoine Vermette then put Arizona ahead seven minutes later.
The Hurricanes continued to press and it was defenseman Ron Hainsey who eventually tied it up again, gloving the puck down in mid-air in the Arizona slot before snapping a shot that beat Lindback.
It was Hainsey’s third goal of the season.
With the game tied 4-4, Carolina had the opportunity to win the game with a power play opportunity as Arizona’s Martin Hanzal was penalized for high sticking Hurricanes defenseman John Michael-Liles.
The Hurricanes did just that as Faulk’s point shot made it through traffic and into the net.
The goal was his team-leading ninth of the season and kept him at the top of the league amongst in power play goals scored.
“I just tried to find a way to get a shot through to the net,” Faulk said.
“The first one got blocked, but I got lucky it bounced back and I was able to get another crack at it. We had good traffic in front and it just kind of went in there.”