RALEIGH, N.C. – Manny Legace was still smarting that former teammate Matt Cullen broke up his shutout for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Carolina goalie’s mood brightened considerably when reminded that the Hurricanes’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators gave him at least one victory over all 30 current NHL franchises.
The 37-year-old Legace made 25 saves, including a big stop on Daniel Alfredsson on a third-period breakaway, to reach the career milestone and help Carolina to its seventh consecutive victory.
“Oh, was that tonight? That’s pretty cool,” Legace, 37, said. “I didn’t realize I’ve beat everybody. It’s something I can tell my grandkids.”
Legace, a mid-season pickup after an injury to Cam Ward, has split time with rookie Justin Peters during the current Carolina streak, which has the Hurricanes at least in striking distance of a playoff spot. The victory came after the Hurricanes dealt five players at the NHL trade deadline, and two others just before the Olympic break.
Carolina has won 11 of its past 13, despite all the changes in its lineup. The team worked in defenceman Alexandre Picard just before the Olympics and added Brian Pothier against Ottawa on Thursday.
“They stepped in and haven’t missed a beat,” Legace said. “It’s like they’ve been here three months. We’re going to miss our (traded) guys, but the new guys handled it very well.”
One reason for their comfort level, the Hurricanes say, is the presence of Legace, who was playing for Chicago of the AHL before getting the call from Carolina.
“The guys in front of him really want to play for him,” coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s good to have a veteran guy who shows that he really loves the game. He’s been a good goaltender his whole life.”
Tom Kostopoulos and Rod Brind’Amour scored about a minute apart in the first period to give Legace an early lead. Chad LaRose and Brandon Sutter also scored, and Zach Boychuk had two assists.
Legace stopped Alfredsson midway through the third period, then denied Jason Spezza in front of the net.
Former Hurricane Cullen, traded to Ottawa on Feb. 12, broke up the shutout on a wraparound with 8:05 left.
“I’m going to say something to him before he gets out of here,” Legace said in jest.
Kostopoulos and Brind’Amour, part of Carolina’s fourth line with Boychuk, scored 65 seconds apart on backup goalie Pascal Leclaire, who was pulled by coach Cory Clouston after the second goal and replaced by usual starter Brian Elliott.
“Maybe it was better for the team, a spark or something, but it’s unfortunate,” Leclaire said. “I was hoping for a longer start, but I respect the decision.”
The Senators are in need of a post-Olympic spark, losing consecutive games by a 4-1 score. Before the Olympics, Ottawa had won 14 of 16.
“We needed a kick in the pants and a little bit of a shakeup and trying to get the momentum back on our side,” Clouston said. “We had our chances, but it came down to goaltending.”
NOTES: Alfredsson assisted on Cullen’s goal, giving him 600 assists for his career. … Leclaire faced just five shots in the first period before he was benched. … The Senators have lost five in a row in Raleigh dating to 2007. … During the Hurricanes’ seven-game winning streak, they have outscored the opposition 29-12. … The Hurricanes’ Jussi Jokinen had his points streak snapped at 10.