After having to go the last two weeks with five players out of the lineup, the Hurricanes got four of these players back tonight and put together their best performance of the season. Everything just seemed to come together tonight. The first line was firing on all cylinders, the penalty kill was a perfect five for five and Cam Ward came up big when he needed to, all en route to a 4-1 win over a very good Pittsburgh Penguins team. It's amazing what having a healthy roster can do, because this looked more like the team we have grown used to seeing before the wave of injuries happened.
Getting Skinner back definitely helped, as he scored his eighth goal of the season tonight, but what really sparked Carolina tonight was how well the first line of Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin played. The trio were back to their usual selves after a few off games, combining for three goals and completely dominating the Penguins territorially. The latter point is huge because Muller elected to match them up against Sidney Crosby's line and whenever those two were matched up against each other, the Pens were spending most of the time in their own zone. Being able to have that advantage is huge and it was a key reason why the Canes won this game. Them adding three goals was just icing on the cake.
What Carolina needed more than anything tonight was a confidence booster because it was at an all-time low after that horrible performance against Washington. Getting a few key players back in the lineup along with a few good bounces tonight changed everything and now things are looking up heading into the back-to-back series against the Florida Panthers. Let's just hope that this roster brings this type of performance this weekend.no comments