GLENDALE, ARIZ. – The Carolina Hurricanes are coming home with smiles on their faces after beating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday.
After falling behind 1-0 during the first period, a situation they have played under in numerous games this season, the Hurricanes continued to play within their system and reaped the just reward for it – a valuable two points in the NHL standings.
Led by Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal (1g, 2a) and Nathan Gerbe, Carolina scored three unanswered goals during the final two periods of play to earn their first win in regulation in their last four games played.
In doing so, they claimed four points out of a possible eight to end their recent Western road trip.
“It’s a huge win,” Carolina head coach Kirk Muller said.
“When you look at the standings, you gotta’ pick up points when you can. I think it’s the way we won tonight – the last game of a long road trip. We fought and played hard and played a really strong game to beat a good hockey team.”
Goaltender Justin Peters was exceptional in making 37 saves to push his win total to a career-high seven victories while Carolina pushed its overall record to 14-13-7 to sit alone in third in the Metropolitan Division.
“Justin just keeps tickin’ along here,” Muller said.
“We talk about timely goals, but he made some really timely saves tonight at the right time of the game. He looks real confident. The guys have confidence in him. He’s a big part of this win tonight.”
The win over the Coyotes evened the two teams’ season series at one apiece and avenged a 5-3 loss the Hurricanes suffered in Raleigh back on Oct. 13.
As the NHL’s recent First Star of the Week, Skinner kept the fire on his blade burning with his goal early in the third, giving him a total of eight in his last seven games played, while also claiming his second game-winner on the season.
Skinner sounded pretty modest when describing how he was able to continue to fill the net with his team-leading 12th goal of the year.
“I don’t know, it was laying in Eric’s feet and I just pulled it out and tried to put it on net and it found a way in,” Skinner said.
“We’re gettin’ chances, but sometimes that’s the way it goes – it goes in sometimes for you and sometimes it doesn’t. Some pretty good chances in line and I’ve been lucky to capitalize on a few them.”
Muller kept it all in perspective in recognizing Skinner’s efforts and how it tied into the big picture of adding to the foundation that the Hurricanes have been building upon since the beginning of the season.
“He resembles what our group’s about right now,” Muller said.
“As far as staying true to the system, we’ve been up, we’ve been down, but they’ve been resilient, battling away and waiting for that right opportunity. He’s a goal scorer. When he’s got the opportunity, he’s been capitalizing. He’s been really getting’ some timely goals for us.”