Down two games to zero in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs, the Hurricanes needed someone to step up with a heroic effort at home to start climbing back into the series in game 3 at home. In that game, Warren Foegele emerged as the hero scoring the games first and second goals and leading the way in a 5-0 win that put a stake in the ground, made a statement and ultimately propelled the Hurricanes to an exhilarating series win in seven games.
Fast forward to December 28, 2019 and though the stakes are not as high, the Hurricanes do again find themselves needing a win at home against the Capitals after three straight losses. And once again Warren Foegele rose up to lead the way to a big win. First he fired a laser into the net on a 2-on-1 rush on a Jordan Staal pass to put the Hurricanes up 2-0. Then after Washington answered, Foegele responded with a great individual play to win a puck in the neutral zone and later make a pass to Dougie Hamilton who finished to put the Hurricanes back up by two goals at 3-1. After Washington again pulled within a goal, Foegele scored again to push the Hurricanes up by 4-2. Foegele finished off his huge four-point night by appropriately collecting an assist on Svechnikov’s clinching empty-netter.
More than anything, the Hurricanes just needed to win any way possible. Coming in with three straight losses and starting a run of seven straight home games, this game was an important one to stop the negative and start positive again at the front of an important run of schedule. Couple success in that regard with a home holiday win against the Capitals and the game was an overwhelming success.
Lucas Wallmark continued his hot streak with an all-important first goal.
Jaccob Slavin (especially) and Dougie Hamilton matched up against high-end offensive firepower and won the battle.
Jordan Staal had a strong game doing what he does best just being difficult to play against even for the NHL’s best.
The third line with Erik Haula back scored a key goal in the third period to help close out the win.
Instead of faltering when the Capitals pushed back with a goal, the Hurricanes three times answered a Capitals goal with the next strike on the score sheet.
The game featured glimpses of the Canes Achilles’ heel in terms of not being able to methodically convert leads into wins with sound play, but as I noted above this game was more about collecting any kind of win against a good team to reverse momentum for the long home stand.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a New Year’s Eve match up again at PNC Arena against the Montreal Canadiens.