RALEIGH — Sunday’s matinee between the Carolina and Arizona didn’t have the entertainment value of recent Hurricanes’ high-scoring losses, but it had plenty of what the young team needed: a shutout, a goal from a struggling player and two points in the standings.
Warren Foegele ended a 27-game goal-scoring drought and Petr Mrazek got the first shutout for a Hurricanes goalie this season in Carolina’s 3-0 win over the Coyotes in front of 13,051 at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes used a physical forecheck and finished the game with 48 hits — including 34 by forwards — to set the tone.
“That’s the game plan, tonight and every night,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We got in and got on the forecheck and finished their D. So their D weren’t really a factor up in the rush.”
That game plan led to the first goal of the afternoon just past the game’s midway point.
After Clark Bishop and Phil Di Giuseppe forced a turnover with some resilient forechecking, defenseman Calvin de Haan’s point shot was kicked away by Arizona goalie Adin Hill (24 saves). Unfortunately for the Coyotes, it went right to Foegele, who slapped into the open net to end a 27-game goal drought.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without producing points like that,” said Foegele, who celebrated by throwing an imaginary monkey off his back. “But I’m more happy that we got the win and, of course, contributing any way I can.”
It was Foegele’s first goal since Oct. 9, way back when he scored his third goal in just the fourth game of the season. The drought had left the rookie feeling snakebitten.
“A little bit there, and then you kind of question your abilities and things go in your head that shouldn’t,” he said. “But I felt pretty good the last couple days with my energy, so I felt pretty good going into today.”
Four minutes later, the Hurricanes pushed the lead to two.
Carolina captain Justin Williams fed the puck up to Justin Faulk, who found a streaking Andrei Svechnikov for a quick wrist shot that beat Hill for his ninth goal and a 2-0 Hurricanes lead at 13:44 of the second.
It was Svechnikov’s ninth goal of his rookie season left the game in the third but Brind’Amour did not know the extent of his injury, just saying he “tweaked” something and couldn’t continue.
In the third, the focus turned to getting Mrazek his first shutout since his 28-save effort with Philadelphia on Feb. 26 of last season.
Arizona did get one by the Carolina goalie, but Alex Galchenyuk’s redirection was ruled no goal due a high stick.
Just 25 seconds after the play was quickly reviewed in Toronto, Sebastian Aho received a one-touch pass from de Haan and buried a shot past Hill on the rush to give Carolina a 3-0 lead at 4:32 of the third.
Carolina then locked it down, earning the team its first shutout first since Feb. 1, when Cam Ward blanked the Canadiens 2-0.
“That was the key today for us, playing good in the defensive zone, great penalty kill,” Mrazek (23 saves) said. “We managed the puck really well in the D zone.”
A big part of that was de Haan, who on top of getting two assists was a stabilizing force in the Carolina end.
“He was good tonight,” Brind’Amour said. “I think he needs to play that way with a little edge. I think that got away from him a little bit, and the whole D corps in general. And I think tonight they were a little better, him for sure.”
Notes: Micheal Ferland, Haydn Fleury, Curtis McElhinney and Jordan Staal all missed the game with injuries. … Bishop, Janne Kuokkanen and Scott Darling were all assigned to Charlotte after the game. … Faulk ended a 12-game point drought with his assist.