The Hurricanes had some good moments and some bad last night. They ended up earning a point in a place where points are hard to come by, (for most teams), and lost to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2 in a shootout.
It was a close game all the way. Carolina took the lead about mid-way through the first period on a blast from the point by Anton Babchuk while on the powerplay. It was the first powerplay goal for the team in five games and the first goal of the year for the defenseman.
Montreal was able to tie the score shortly afterwards though. Ray Whitney lost control of the puck attempting to cross the blueline and Alex Kovalev was all over it. The veteran Russian sniper took his time and was faking a pass, but ended up sneaking the puck past Cam Ward on the short side.
The Hurricanes had some undisciplined moments and took too many penalties. Evidence of this was near the end of the first period when Matt Cullen and Tim Gleason were both in the box, giving the Habs a 5 on 3 advantage. The team did a commendable job of killing the penalties until with just 11 seconds left in the period, Dennis Seidenberg was called for covering the puck in the crease and the refs awarded Montreal a penalty shot.
The call was a bit questionable and was hard to track on video, and Peter Laviolette complained heavily about it when the period was over. Alex Tanguay buried the penalty shot giving the Habs a 2-1 lead going into the first break.
That made two games in a row the Hurricanes committed that unusual, but costly mistake.
Speaking of closing your hand on the puck while in the crease, later in the game it appeared that a Montreal player helped out Carey Price on a play when he actually shoveled a puck with his hand out of the crease. The replay looked much more obvious than the earlier call against the Canes, but the refs never saw it, there was no call, and no penalty shot was awarded.
The second period was a scoreless, fairly even back and forth affair.
Just 40 seconds into the third period, the Hurricanes tied the score on a nice hustle play by Matt Cullen. Dennis Seidenberg put the puck on net and the rebound came out at a sharp angle. Cullen was still able to make the play, poking in the puck past Price.
Carolina probably outplayed Montreal in that last period and were even able to draw a couple of penalties, but they were unable to take advantage and the game ended up tied.
The overtime period was again pretty even until with just about two minutes left, Eric Staal was knocked down in the corner by Mike Komisarek. Staal was then called for tripping the defenseman and was sent to the box, while chirping to the officials the whole way. The replay again was inconclusive, but the call was made.
One more time the Canes penalty kill was up to the task, and the overtime period ended in a tie.
During the shootout, the Carolina snipers didn't look very good on their attempts. Matt Cullen made some nice moves, but was stopped pretty easily. It looked like Eric Staal shot the puck right into Price's leg pad, and then Ray Whitney missed the net.
Cam Ward was able to stop Tomas Plekanec, but Saku Koivu opened up the goalie's legs and slipped the puck through the five-hole for the game-winner.
All in all, it was a very competitive game and coach Laviolette said afterwards that he was very pleased with the effort.
But the team hurt themselves again by taking too many penalties. Even though the penalty killers did a good job of killing them, it takes away from the offensive flow and prevents the team from scoring. Also, if the Canes could have taken advantage of one of those two (and a half), powerplay opportunities in the third period, they could have won this game in regulation.
Still, it was a good game, they earned a point, and they probably won't complain.
The good stuff-
The effort looked more consistent throughout the game. The coach was happier with it, so that says something.
They were able to out-shoot the Habs in each regulation period and ended up with a 33-25 advantage.
The penalty kill looked good and Cam Ward made some excellent saves.
They limited their turnovers and were able to get the puck out of their zone much better than most games this year. They only had six giveaways in the game.
The bad stuff-
Even though they scored early, the powerplay still seemed a bit ragged and predictable. They would continually just skate to center ice and dump the puck in, quite often to the exact same spot. Even though they were able to get the puck past Price, a Montreal player was usually able to beat the Canes to it and clear it back out. That play seemed to happen over and over again.
They need to cut down on the penalties.
As in year's past, they did not look good on the shootout. For a small, skilled team, it's hard to understand why Carolina continually has trouble scoring in those situations.
The questionable stuff-
I know that Samsonov didn't play well in Montreal, but did the fans have to boo him everytime he touched the puck?
The officiating. Enough said about that.