Hurricanes douse Flames for first win

Special teams the difference for Carolina

Sergei Belski—USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames goalie Brian Elliott reaches for the puck as Hurricanes left wing Viktor Stalbergscores a goal inthe second period ofCarolina's 4-2 winat Scotiabank Saddledome.

CALGARY, Alberta — Eddie Lack doesn’t know why he plays well against the Calgary Flames, he’s just happy he does.The Swedish goaltender made 24 saves Thursday night to backstop the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over their hosts for Carolina’s first win of the season and fifth for Lack in seven career starts against the Flames.”In the beginning of my career [with Vancouver] we played good team games and it was the same today,” he said.”It’s just circumstantial.”Teuvo Teravainen, Victor Rask, Viktor Stalberg and Jeff Skinner scored for Carolina (1-1-2), which is starting the season with a six-game road trip.Johnny Gaudreau, who signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract the day before the season began, scored his first of the season for Calgary (1-3-1). Troy Brouwer also scored for the Flames.Lack had a 1.99 goals against average against Calgary coming into the game. Brian Elliott, who was picked up from St. Louis in the offseason as Calgary looked to strengthen their goaltending, made 28 stops and is winless in three games.Carolina surrendered three-goal leads in losing in overtime in the first two games of their Western Canadian trip and the fact they didn’t Thursday left head coach Bill Peters nothing but happy.”We were poised and more confident in each other and the system,” he said. “We got real good contribution from throughout the lineup.”Special teams were key to this game. The Hurricanes were 2-for-8 on the power play while the Flames struggled, going 0-for-6, which left their new head coach Glen Gulutzan wanting to talk about one thing only when addressing the Calgary media.”Our whole game isn’t what’s frustrating, just parts of it are, and what’s frustrating me is the specialty teams,” he said. “They had two power play goals and we didn’t. We just couldn’t win on special teams.”The Flames had plenty of opportunities in the opening period with eight power-play minutes, four of them coming on a double minor for high sticking when Lee Stempniak clipped Flames captain Mark Giordano under the eye with an accidental high stick.”It’s good to get the first win,” said Stempniak, a former Flame who is with his 10th NHL team. “Results aside I think we’ve played very well and we’re pretty satisfied. We’re looking to build on this.”Lack regrouped after giving up four goals in his only other start this season, a 5-4 overtime loss to his first NHL team in Vancouver five days previous.”We haven’t had any luck with three-goal leads so far so I’m really happy that we got it done there at the end. It’s a good feeling,” he said.The Flames looked lifeless until late in the second when Brouwer scored.”I don’t know what it is,” center Sean Monahan wondered. “I think we got to be more desperate, be hungry. We’ve got to get dirty. We’re losing battles on the wall and we should be getting those pucks. I think that’s hurting us.”Teravainen popped his own rebound past Elliott to open the scoring at 7:55 and Rask’s wrister found the net from the top of the faceoff circle through a screen on the power play at 16:12.Stalberg — who was a healthy scratch the game before in Edmonton — got in behind the Flames defense at Calgary’s blue line, took a nice feed from Klas Dahlbeck and slipped a weak backhand past Elliott to make it 3-0 at 4:55 the second period.Brouwer woke up the listless Flames with just 1:53 left in the second. He burst in on his off-wing and snapped a shot over Lack’s stick-side.NOTES: Flames’ 2016 first round pick Matthew Tkachuk played his fifth game Thursday, inching closer to the ninth he is allowed before Calgary must decide on whether to send him back to junior. The left-winger scored his first NHL goal in Tuesday’s overtime victory over Buffalo. … Calgary scratches were Dennis Wideman, Nicklas Grossmann and Freddie Hamilton. … Carolina scratches were Jakub Nakladal, Andrej Nestrasil and Martin Frk. … Carolina won’t play its first home game until Oct. 28. They wrap up a six-game road trip to start the season with games in Philadelphia on Saturday and Detroit on Tuesday. … The Hurricanes had gone 0-6-1 since their last win in Calgary (2002).