The Carolina Hurricanes were in control most of the game as they defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 last night, on New Year's Eve.
About half way through the first period, the Thrashers took a 1-0 lead on a powerplay goal by Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian superstar had been suffering though a career worst scoring slump, but playing Carolina seems to be a cure for slumping players. Up to that point though, the Thrashers had not mounted any type of consistent offensive threat.
The Canes were out-shooting the Thrashers but could not grace the scoreboard until late in the first when Sergei Samsonov took a nice pass from Eric Staal and backhanded it over Kari Lehtonen while he was being checked and knocked down from behind. The incredible goal made the score 1-1 at the first intermission.
Samsonov scored on another backhander in the second period, this time on a rebound from a Tuomo Ruutu shot. The Carolina first line of Staal, Ruutu, and Samsonov was buzzing all night.
In the third period, the Canes seemed to go into defensive mode, but earned a powerplay chance about five minutes in. Late in the powerplay, Joe Corvo took the puck from end to end and moved around a man for an open chance, after which he rifled a slapshot in the corner of the net.
The Thrashers did finally out-shoot the Canes in the final period, but the home team was concentrating primarily on defense. The 3-1 score held up and Carolina earned the much needed two points.
Cam Ward had a solid game but was not severely tested. He ended up with 20 saves on 21 shots.
Thrashers leading scorer Bryan Little had an assist, but did not have a single shot on goal.
Amazingly, Atlanta out-hit Carolina 35 to 9. That's incredible when you consider that the Thrashers were the tired team because they had played the night before. Ruutu led the home team with three hits.
Rod Brind'Amour's TOI ice was the lowest it's been all season, 16:32. His linemates, Ray Whitney and Scott Walker were both in the 13 minute range. Eric Staal led the forwards with 20 plus minutes and Samsonov had 19.
Joe Corvo was given the task of shadowing Kovalchuk all night. Coach Maurice said after the game that he did a great job.
Samsonov had three points for the night and figured in on each of the Hurricanes goals. He was the number one star for the game.
Afterwards, I was able to film a couple of interviews in the dressing room.
First up is Sergei Samsonov-
Then Joe Corvo talks about his goal-