Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rask scores again, Hurricanes beat Flames for 1st win

After squandering two big leads already this season, the Carolina Hurricanes were determined not to let this one slip away.
Victor Rask scored his third goal of the season, Jeff Skinnerhad a goal and an assist and Noah Hanifin had a career-high three assists to lead the Hurricanes to their first victory of the season, 4-2 over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Carolina had started 0-1-2 on a season-opening six-game road trip. In this one, the Hurricanes were up 3-0 before letting the Flames pull within one.
"It's just part of the process of learning how to win and close out games," Skinner said. "They get one late in the second. You don't want to give those up, right when the period ends. They get one there to make it 3-2. We just had to keep our composure and stay tough mentally."
Calgary's comeback attempt hit the wall when penalties toAlex Chiasson and Troy Brouwer in the final three minutes put the Flames down two men and the Hurricanes took advantage on Skinner's second goal of the season.
Skinner's five points tied him with Rask and Lee Stempniakfor the team lead.
With a young team, Carolina coach Bill Peters says it's all part of the learning process.
"We'll get better at playing with the lead. We'll get better at managing situations as we go. We'll learn from each game," he said.
Teuvo Teravainen and Viktor Stalberg also scored for Carolina, which won for the first time at the Saddledome in eight tries, dating back to Dec. 12, 2002.
Brouwer and Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary.
"We're trying to make plays that aren't there and we've got to just make those simple plays," Calgary centerSean Monahan said. "It almost feels like we're not on the same key. It's not working well right now and we've got to figure it out."
Special teams continues to be a point of concern for the Flames. An 0-for-6 night on the power play dropped them to 0 for 19 in their last four games. Carolina went 2 for 8 with the extra man.
"You can't lose special teams battles in this league or you'll lose games," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "It's easy to say but a lot of that is when you're struggling, it comes down to battles and winning those battles and finding ways to get an ugly one."
Carolina surged in front 3-0 at 4:55 of the second when Stalberg slipped behind Dougie Hamilton, took a perfect pass from Klas Dahlbeck and beat Brian Elliott on a deke to his backhand.
That made it three goals on 13 shots on the Flames' new No. 1 goaltender and resulted in a jeer from the agitated home crowd the next time he handled the puck.
Acquired in the offseason from St. Louis, Elliott has started the season with three straight losses. After giving up four goals on 32 shots on Thursday he has an .839 save percentage.
"It's slight breakdowns here and there and it starts with me. I've got to make a save here and there too, to keep us in it," the 32-year-old said. "It's hard coming back in these games when you spot them a couple goals early and you're always coming from behind."
Eddie Lack made 24 stops to earn the win for Carolina.
NOTES: Carolina's six-game road trip to start the season is a result of the North Carolina state fair going on in Raleigh. ... The Flames now begin a difficult stretch in their schedule in which 11 of their next 12 opponents were playoff teams a year ago. ... Former Flames D Jakub Nakladal was among the scratches for Carolina.
Hurricanes: At Philadelphia on Saturday night in the fifth game of their season-opening six-game road trip.
Flames: Host St. Louis on Saturday night in the finale of a three-game homestand.

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