The Carolina Hurricanes have sputtered out of the gate during this shortened National Hockey League season but were able to play much better Friday night in a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. Carolina is going to need many more outings like this if the team wants to have any chance to make the playoffs this season. It was the one player who should step up when the team is struggling that got the job done in the win.
That would be the captain Eric Staal, whose first period goal was the only tally of the game. Staal is going to be counted on more with his brother Jordan on the team along with rising star Jeff Skinner getting better each day. While both of those players are on Staal’s level, it will be still up to Staal to get the job done when the team really needs it. With Staal’s goal, the other big piece to the puzzle in the win was goalie Dan Ellis, who stopped all 33 Senators shots in getting the shutout. Ellis has had to step up with how bad Cam Ward has been to start the season.
If Ward continues to have trouble, Carolina is going to be forced to start Ellis even more. That is not the ideal plan for success in Carolina, but it will have to do until Ward gets his act together. At least on this night, Ellis and Staal were enough to get the Hurricanes a much-needed victory against an Ottawa team that has lost just once coming into the game.