14-1-4, that is the Carolina Hurricanes record this season when scoring first. Getting out to an early lead is even more important after coming off a shut-out loss to Montreal and welcoming the Western division power St. Louis Blues to Raleigh. Hurricane forward Nathan Gerbe got Carolina that early lead 3:46 into the first period on the power play. With Blues forward Brendan Morrow in the box for hi-sticking (his first of three trips to the sin bin for the game), ‘Canes defenseman Andrej Sekera found Gerbe in a soft spot in the zone and he was able to bury it past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak. St. Louis was able to answer later in the period on a power play of their own. Blues captain, David Backes, got behind the Carolina defense and buried one glove side on Hurricane goalie Anton Khubodin. The teams went to the first intermission tied at one.
Carolina jumped back on top early in the second period. Jordan Staal one a face-off for the Hurricanes to the right of Halak. The puck found its way to Jeff Skinner who blasted home his team leading 23rd goal of the year. Anton Khubodin and the rest of the Hurricane defense did most of the rest to allow this to be the eventual game winner. Alexander Semin capped off the game with highlight worth empty net goal with Halak pulled for the extra skater. Semin stole the puck in the neutral zone only to fall to his knees with the puck in front of him. He some how managed to move the puck from his backhand to forehand all while regaining his edge and slapped it past Blues winger Valdimir Tarasenko who skated back to protect the empty net.
Anton Khudobin has now moved his record to 12-4-0 on the season and his 2.24 GAA and .925 SV% will likely drop ever so slightly. With Cam Ward finally healthy and on a reconditioning stint with the Charlotte Checkers, Hurricanes management will have some decision making to do when it comes to the net minder. Ward will likely get the start again for the Checkers on Saturday and rejoin the team next week. The question is will they keep three goalies on the roster? Khudobin has clearly earned the number one spot and Justin Peters would have to clear waivers to be sent back to the AHL.
Tonight was the first of a four game home stand before the Olympic break. Winnipeg and Former Hurricane coach Paul Maurice come to town Tuesday night.