The goal scoring and 5-4 result suggested a high octane, offensive battle between Arizona and Carolina. The Canes win was a wild 1 in terms of back and forth goal scoring, but it was more the result of weak goaltending than legitimate offense. The shot totals were modest at 23 (Arizona) and 18 (Carolina) and the scoring chances too, but both goalies took turns struggling.
But when a team is near the bottom of the league in the standings and playing a back-to-back, you take any kind of win you can get and move on. The win marks the end of the home-heavy stretch of hockey that started at the beginning of November and sends the team on the road with a 2-game winning streak.
A few player and other notes:
Kris Versteeg. He played like he was annoyed in a good way with being healthy scratched on Saturday night. He was pesky around the puck all night, did things with a purpose and kicked in some scoring plays to boot. Only 2 minutes into the game and with his team trailing 1-0 already, he found the puck on his stick and beat Lindback with a shot that leaked through him and into the net. On the first goal scored by Eric Staal, Versteeg won the puck initially in the offensive zone and then flew across the front of the crease creating a distraction and passing lane to Eric Staal right behind him.
Jeff Skinner. He did not follow up his 2 goals Saturday on the score sheet on Sunday, but he had a very good first period and decent game overall.
Cam Ward. He struggled again. The first goal against on a rebound on the first shot saw him make an okay save but for whatever reason drift away from the net. At the point where the rebound was shot into the net, he was covering exactly none of it. Along the way he gave up a couple legitimate goals before being beat by a soft backhand in the third period to let the Coyotes tie the game. He was saved from being the goat with a weak 4 goals against by the goalie at the other end struggling just as much.
Eric Staal. After what seemed like a frustrating game wrapped inside a win on Saturday, Eric Staal broke through Sunday with a goal and an assist in Sunday’s win.
Nestrasil/JStaal/Nordstrom. They continue to play solid hockey on a nightly basis with a similar formula. They play as little defense as possible playing a strong puck possession/cycling game on the boards and defend well when needed. And they continue to chip in offense. Tonight the goal actually came from Ron Hainsey on their shift.
Mr. Feelgood. Fittingly a generally feel good Canes weekend ended with a later power play goal by the Canes player leading the way in optimism. It was not the usual huge blast from Faulk, but on a night when goaltending was suspect, his shot from the point was good enough to claim a win with 17 seconds left. Faulk has also been better defensively in each of the last 2 wins.
Next up is 4 straight on the road starting Tuesday night in Dallas.