Carolina at Minnesota

Hurricanes hold off Wild in season opener in Finland wire reports

HELSINKI -- Brandon Sutter scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in the opening game of the NHL season on Thursday.

Anton Babchuk, back after a year in the Russian KHL, and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Hurricanes.

Brent Burns scored for Minnesota with 3:21 left, but Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made a late save to preserve the win.

Guillaume Latendresse scored for Minnesota 3:33 into the game, but Sutter tied it on a power play with 10 seconds left in the first period.

Babchuk put Carolina in front at 5:58 of the second period on another power play in which coach Paul Maurice lined up three forwards.

"I'll do it again. If the power play struggles, it affects the offense, and it has been good to think of something which could be positive," Maurice said.

New Minnesota center Matt Cullen tied it at 9:52 against his former team, but Carolina upped the pace and took control.

Jokinen restored the Hurricanes' lead on a two-man advantage at 11:16, and Sutter made it 4-2 at 18:03 after a great rush by Patrick Dwyer up the right wing.

"We were nervous during the first 10 minutes," Jokinen said. "Then we got bigger intensity and energy and played a good second period. They have two good units offensively, but their weakness is the defense, and we used that, putting pressure on their defensemen."

Carolina's first-round draft pick Jeff Skinner impressed on debut in the line with Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu.

"He had three chances and brought out a great save from the goalie," Maurice said. "He's still learning the game, and the first thing is earning the confidence of the coaches, get us thinking about how many minutes he should have, and if he could make our top nine forwards. If it stays like this, he will. He has eight more games to convince us."

Ward came away with 29 saves, while Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom turned away 31 shots.

The teams play again in Helsinki on Friday.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal is taken down as he attempts to score from a tough position. (Getty Images)
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal is taken down as he attempts to score from a tough position. (Getty Images)
Carolina  (1-0-0) «1304
Minnesota (0-1-0)1113
Three Stars
B. Sutter

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
J. Jokinen

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Pitkanen

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
03:33Guillaume Latendresse (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu, Brodziak
19:50Power Play - Brandon Sutter (1), Tip-In. Assist: Jokinen, McBain
05:58Anton Babchuk (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Cole, Dalpe
09:52Power Play - Matt Cullen (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Havlat
11:16Power Play - Jussi Jokinen (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Corvo, Pitkanen
18:03Brandon Sutter (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Dwyer, Gleason
16:39Power Play - Brent Burns (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Miettinen, Cullen
Penalty Summary
10:38Zanon, 2 min, Tripping
19:15Barker, 2 min, Interference
47.0Harrison, 2 min, Tripping
09:15Gleason, 2 min, Cross-Checking
10:29Barker, 2 min, Holding
10:39Cullen, 2 min, Slashing
12:42Zanon, 2 min, Hooking
51.0Staal, 2 min, Tripping
12:41Babchuk, 2 min, Hooking
15:11McBain, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
Cam Ward60:00263
Niklas Backstrom58:45274
Game Information
Attendance - 12355
Referees - Tim Peel, Rob Martell
Linesmen - Brian Mach, Andy McElman
Other Games
Chi 3 Final
Colo 4
Mon 2 Final
Tor 3
Cal 0 Final
Edm 4
Phi 3 Final
Pitt 2