RALEIGH Following Carolina’s loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, defenseman Ron Hainsey said a big part of the Hurricanes’ struggles of late were due to the team not playing with the lead.Hainsey’s now gone, traded to those same Penguins Wednesday, but his old team found a way to get and stay ahead.Jordan Staal scored 79 seconds into the game and two second-period goals propelled Carolina to a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday at PNC Arena.”I think what happens is and a lot of people will tell you in sports when you’re on a winning streak you win a few at the end of that streak that you probably shouldn’t,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said of snapping a five-game slide. “And when you’re on a losing streak you lose maybe one or two at the end of a streak before you break it that you shouldn’t, too.”The Hurricanes (25-24-8) got off to a fast start when Staal scored his 12th goal of the year on a wraparound that got past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson for a 1-0 lead.Carolina continued to dominate the rest of the opening frame, outshooting the Senators 19-7, but the second period was mostly uneventful until there was 4:44 remaining in the frame.Staal won an offensive zone faceoff then got the puck back behind the Ottawa net. He attempted a pass, but it was deflected right to Phil Di Giuseppe who quickly backhanded the puck across the front of the net and to the waiting stick of Elias Lindholm for a 2-0 lead.”Yeah, I kind of saw him when I was coming down,” Di Giuseppe said of his no-look pass, one of his two assists on the night. “I think Jordo was trying to throw it to him. I believe it went off [Ottawa captain Erik] Karlsson’s skate or stick maybe, and I didn’t have a shot, [but] I knew [Lindholm] was there. I didn’t know if it was going to get there. It was a good play by him just to put it in. It was a tough puck to shoot.”Then with 42 seconds left in the second, Carolina pushed their lead to three. Victor Rask fed Sebastian Aho for a chance, and the rebound off Anderson’s pad kicked right to Viktor Stalberg for his ninth goal of the season. It was Rask’s first point in 14 games.”Berger’s is the kind of goal we need more of,” Peters said of Stalberg’s goal. “Aho throws it at the far pad, there’s a big rebound there and all of a sudden he’s coming from high to low and scores on the rebound.”At the other end of the ice, Eddie Lack starting just his second game since mid-November earned his first shutout in nearly 13 months, earning his second win of the season in just his sixth start. His 34 saves were the most he’s had in his nine career shutouts.”It’s always been a little rough for me here and there, and I got the concussion and everything and didn’t play for a while,” Lack said. “It was a really important win for me, and I’m happy that the boys played so well in front of me.”Carolina’s top-ranked penalty kill stopped Ottawa (32-21-6) on both chances despite Hainsey’s departure and the two infractions going against the team’s two remaining top penalty killers, Jaccob Slavin and Jay McClement.”It’s interesting, you only took two penalties but the guys that took ’em are penalty killers and then all of a sudden now you’re a little light,” Peters said of the team’s penalty kill.The Hurricanes had allowed the first goal in each of their last five games four regulation losses and an overtime loss but were able to set the tone thanks to Staal’s early goal and a depleted Senators lineup that was missing Bobby Ryan, Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman (a combined 53 goals and 110 points of production).”I felt like we were controlling from the start, you know?” Lack said. “We put like 10 or 12 shots the first like eight minutes. The boys came out flying and I just had to be big and everything when I had to. It was a good night for us.”Notes: Carolina’s new defense pairings of Slavin and Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce, and Klas Dahlbeck and Ryan Murphy passed their first test since the Hainsey trade. …Four Carolina players had at least five shots of goal: Staal (eight, which matched his career high with the previous two coming while he was with Pittsburgh), Aho (six), Lindholm (six) and Di Giuseppe (five). The Hurricanes finished with 44 shots on goal and 80 shot attempts to Ottawa’s 34 and 53. … Stalberg’s goal was the 80th of his NHL career. … Staal’s two points marked the ninth time this season he has had a multi-point game.
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