The Carolina Hurricanes got a big win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, helping them take sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division. It was a great night offensively for many players on the team, but rookie Riley Nash took center stage with his first NHL goal and two assists. The Hurricanes have called on many of their young players this season and Nash now leads all of them with four points in seven games.
Jussi Jokinen had two goals and an assist, Eric Staal scored two goals and Jiri Tlusty scored his 10th goal in 11 games as the Hurricanes offense had one of its best nights of the season. Alexander Semin had three assists and now has a team-leading 15 helpers in addition to being plus-14 on the season. Cam Ward made 22 saves to get his eighth win of the season. Carolina has won three of their last four games following a season-worst three-game losing streak. They have a two-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the standings and do not face a division foe until March 16.
In 50 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this season, Nash had scored 11 goals and recorded 35 points. He has found success on a third line that also features Brett Sutter and Patrick Dwyer. The Hurricanes have to be happy with the performance of their youngsters this season, as Dwyer, Justin Faulk and Bobby Sanguinetti have all been solid contributors this season. Nash was the second Carolina player to get a first career goal this week, as Sanguinetti got his first goal last Sunday against the New York Islanders.