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It’s Carolina Hurricanes day on PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Carolina Hurricanes.

The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, but there was reason for fans to be optimistic going into the 2013 campaign due in large part to the additions of Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal.

Between them, Semin was regarded as a far bigger X-factor given his reputation and underwhelming 2011-12 season, but he bounced back with 13 goals and 44 points in 44 games. That earned him a five-year, $35 million extension in March, but ultimately his efforts were overshadowed by a number of key injuries.

Goaltender Cam Ward missed the final 27 games of the season due to a sprained MCL and the Hurricanes’ alternatives, Dan Ellis and Justin Peters, weren’t able to carry the team in his absence. They also lost gritty forward Tuomo Ruutu and top defenseman Joni Pitkanen for the better part of 2013.

The Hurricanes were able to get off to a 15-9-1 start, but they won just two of their following 17 games. As a result, they didn’t even come close to clinching a postseason birth.

Offseason recap

The Hurricanes didn’t have a lot of cap space going into the summer, but they did make a few noteworthy, low-risk signings. They inked 26-year-old forward Nathan Gerbe to a two-way deal after the Buffalo Sabres bought out the final season of his three-year, $4.35 million contract. They lured another bought out player to their ranks by offering defenseman Mike Komisarek a one-year, $700,000 deal.

Carolina also signed Anton Khudobin in an effort to bolster their goaltending following the 27-year-old’s successful campaign as the Boston Bruins’ backup.

On the trade front, the Hurricanes picked up defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for blueliner Jamie McBain and a second-round pick.

Still, perhaps the most noteworthy event of the summer for Carolina was the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. They had the fifth overall pick and used it on forward Elias Lindholm. After recording 30 points in 48 Swedish Elite League games, Lindholm is likely to make the 2013-14 squad.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Hockey tough: Mark Stone shakes off skate to face, scores

Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone celebrates his game winning goal during overtime against the Boston Bruins during an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.  The Senators defeated the Bruins 2-1. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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You’d think the reaction to taking a skate to the face would be something like “Not coming back to that game, getting some ice and maybe do some soul-searching.”

Nope, not in the NHL, at least.

In this league, the real reaction is almost always to come back to the same game … and barely miss a beat.

Ottawa Senators Mark Stone provides the latest example of hockey toughness, as he bounced back almost immediately from this.

What did he do? He scored a nice goal in the Senators’ 6-1 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.