Versteeg scored twice and Carolina beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Sunday night.
Acquired from Chicago in September, Versteeg said he’s had to learn new habits with the Hurricanes. It’s been a common refrain for the forward, who has had two stints with the Blackhawks and also spent time with Toronto, Florida and Boston.
“He’s what we needed,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “He’s got skill, he’s got patience and poise with the puck. We knew that coming into the season.”
Versteeg scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season, and Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom also scored for Carolina. The Hurricanes led 3-0 early in the second period and chased Calgary goalie Karri Ramo. Eddie Lack made 33 saves for Carolina.
Versteeg scored his first on a pass from Eric Staal to put Carolina ahead 3-0 at 3:50 of the second. He scored again on a power play with 8:47 left in the third for a 4-2 advantage.
“When you get to new teams, sometimes people think it’s going to (click) right away,” Versteeg said. “It’s new things every day. Over the last month and a half, I’ve started to adjust, and I feel a little more comfortable each day.”
Lack also seems more comfortable in net for Carolina after being pressed into the starter’s role when Cam Ward was put on injured reserve Wednesday with a concussion. Lack was particularly sharp after Calgary cut the lead to 3-2.
“The more I play, the more comfortable I feel,” Lack said. “Sometimes, it’s tough to get in a bit of a rhythm. You’re always afraid if you make one mistake, you can be out. But I feel pretty comfortable now.”
Rask and Lindholm scored first-period goals. Lindholm’s came on a penalty shot with 2:33 left.
Hudler scored his sixth of the season and first in 15 games midway through the second, knocking in a pass from Mark Giordano.
Colborne scored for Calgary 5:01 into the third to make it 3-2. The Flames pushed hard out of the final intermission and had the first 10 shots of the last period.
Carolina held on thanks to its penalty killing. The Hurricanes killed off five penalties and have stalled 55 of 63 power plays this season at home.
“We did some good things 5-on-5, but, again, special teams let us down,” Colborne said.
Nordstrom scored 32 seconds after Versteeg to seal it, giving Carolina five goals for the first time in 20 games.
NOTES: This was the first of two meetings in 10 days for the teams. Carolina visits Calgary on Feb. 3. … Calgary entered 8-2-0-1 against Carolina in the past 11 meetings, with four shutouts. … Hudler’s goal was his first since Dec. 4 in a 5-4 victory over Boston. … Giordano’s assist was his 20th of the season. … The Flames were playing the fourth of five consecutive games on the road.