WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – A four-goal burst during the first 10 minutes of play in the opening period was enough for the Carolina Hurricanes to eventually secure a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Friday.
Following up on a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Andrej Nestrasils’ two goals along with singles from Phil Di Giueseppe, Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk was enough to earn Carolina a win two nights later.
Goaltender Cam Ward’s energetic play, making 33 saves in his first start since Jan. 15 while coming off a concussion injury, along with a three-point finish from Staal were significant contributing factors to the win.
“We got two points, we got off to a good start, so there are some positives with lots of things to work on,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said afterwards.
“We’re not quite where we were when we entered the (NHL) All-Star break. We have to bring our team game back to that level…I thought structurally we did some things early, and then we got away from it and allowed them to build some momentum and get back in the game.”
Carolina had to withstand a strong three-goal pushback from the Jets as consecutive goals from Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd, and Blake Wheeler came late in the second and into the third period.
With the Hurricanes holding onto to a 4-3 lead, Nestrasil’s second goal of the game on a set-up from Staal with 1:20 to play ended the Jets’ comeback hopes.
“He’s playing at an elite level right now…he’s hard to play against,” Peters said of Staal who’s posted 15 points (5g, 10a) in his last 13 games.
Sitting two points back in the Eastern Conference wildcard race, the Hurricanes travel next to face the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.