OTTAWA, Ontario — Anton Khudobin is finally starting to feel some relief after a long struggle to start his season.
Khudobin made 30 saves as the Carolina Huricanes beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 Saturday night. It was the goalie's fourth straight win after going 0-8-2 in his first 10 outings.
"It had to come at some point. I lost my first 10 games and I tried to find my game and I've been a little frustrated," Khudobin said. "Right now I'm just more relaxed and I don't think about anything I just stop the pucks."
Nathan Gerbe and Justin Faulk each had a goal and an assist, and Brad Malone also scored for the Hurricanes.
Cody Ceci and Mark Stone scored for the Senators, who were unable to get any puck possession in the Carolina zone after pulling Craig Anderson in favor of an extra attacker in the final 2 minutes.
Anderson finished with 25 saves.
Gerbe scored the winner with a little under 6 minutes to play in the third period when his shot from 15 feet inside the blue line appeared to hit something on the way to the net before getting past Anderson.
Tied 1-1 entering the third, both teams scored in the first 3 minutes of the period.
Stone gave the Senators their first lead of the game when he beat Khudobin high to the glove side just a minute into the period, but Faulk tied it again at 2:21.
"It's frustrating coming into the locker room after losses. You look at yourself and can't help but think your playoff hopes are dwindling after you lose games. We just need to find ways to get that success," said Stone, who has points in each of his last five games.
"It just takes a little bit of a run and some consistent hockey. This is the time now, these games are important and we have to string some wins together."
The loss leaves the Senators 10 points out of a playoff spot, but it's a game they certainly could have won.
"It's a missed two points at the end of the day," Senators coach Dave Cameron said, then turning to baseball for an analogy.
"It's kind of like if you're at bat with the game on the line and you hit a 450-foot foul ball and then you strike out. When you go back to the dugout what do you think about, the near miss or the strikeout? We have to concentrate on the strikeout to get us over that hump. We have to be able to put that ball in play."
Erik Karlsson had two chances in the third period to break the 2-2 tie but was stopped by Khudobin on a breakaway on one opportunity and then stopped by the post on another.
The Senators had the majority of opportunities in the first period but it was the Hurricanes who emerged from the opening 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
After several turnovers along the side boards the puck went behind the goal line at the side of the Senators net where Patrick Dwyer won a battle with Ottawa defenseman Patrick Wiercioch and fed Malone in front of the net for the first goal of the game.
Malone took a pass and beat Anderson with a quick shot with just 32 seconds left in the period.
It didn't take the Senators long to respond as Ceci scored 4:39 into the second period.
Erik Condra took a shot the Khudobin stopped but he let out a huge rebound that Ceci caught up to and fired into an empty net as he was following up on the play.
There was an ugly incident not long after as Eric Staal caught Senators defenseman Jared Cowen in the mouth with his stick as he took a full swing at a puck that was on its way down following a high bounce.
Staal took a double minor as Cowen left the ice with a bloodied mouth, although he did return to the game.
NOTES: Chris Phillips and Colin Greening were scratches for the Senators. ... Andrej Nestrasil, John-Michael Liles and Alexander Semin were scratches for the Hurricanes. ... Anderson played in his 400th NHL game Saturday and 187th with the Senators. ... The Hurricanes have earned at least one point in 15 of their past 18 games against the Senators. ... Alexander Semin has just one goal and eight points in 26 games this season after signing a one-year, $7 million contract in July with the Hurricanes.