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With five straight wins, the Hurricanes are ‘building some momentum’

Hurricanes Maple Leafs Hockey

Carolina Hurricanes’ Viktor Stalberg (25) celebrates his goal as Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nikita Zaitsev (22) skates nearby during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)


Two weeks ago, we wrote about the curious Carolina Hurricanes, who couldn’t seem to translate their strong possession stats into victories. At the time, the ‘Canes were 3-5-4, dead last in the NHL.

How quickly things can change.

Today, after five straight regulation wins, Carolina is 8-6-4, just two points back of a wild-card spot.

How have they done it?

Well, they’re finally getting the saves. Cam Ward was in goal for all five of the wins, and he’s allowed just five goals on 131 shots, for a save percentage of .962.

As for the offense, it hasn’t exactly taken off, save for one five-goal outburst against Washington. But the ‘Canes are scoring just enough. Last night in Toronto, Jeff Skinner (power play) and Viktor Stalberg (shorthanded) potted goals in a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs.

“I think we’re obviously building some momentum here,” Ward told reporters, “and just carrying it into the next game.”

Two weeks ago, it looked like the decision to re-sign Ward was a mistake by GM Ron Francis. But Ward is now 7-4-3 with a .919 save percentage.

“When we looked at the options that were out there, we felt this was the best option for our team,” Francis told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central at Noon. “We didn’t have to give up picks or prospects to get somebody else. We had a guy that wanted to be there and was excited to be there. It’s great to see him playing well.”

The ‘Canes play tomorrow in Montreal and Saturday in Ottawa, before returning home to face Florida Sunday.

Perhaps their winning ways can lead to some bigger crowds at PNC Arena. Their last home game, a 3-1 victory over the Jets on Sunday, drew just 10,809. And, of course, there were those relocation rumors earlier in the week.