The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind 3-0, made a game of it at 3-2, but could not get over the hump as they lost to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, 4-2. The team looked very good at times and held control of the puck nearly the entire first part of the third period as they tried desperately to tie the score, but the effort was not good enough.
The Devils out-shot the visitors in the game 30-23 and took control at the end of the contest after Aaron Ward was called for a key penalty with about five minutes left. Defenseman Andy Greene scored twice and Zach Parise had two assists to lead the home team to victory.
The Hurricanes had a bit of a slow start and were out-shot in the opening period 10-7 as the Devils took a 2-0 lead. Patrik Elias picked up the game's first tally when he shoveled a puck toward the net and it went in off of Aaron Ward's skate.
A few minutes later, Andy Greene took advantage of a screen and fired one in from the outside which Cam Ward did not see and made it 2-0 before the first intermission.
The Devils out-shot the Canes again in the second, 13-9. Andy Greene scored his second goal of the game after he recovered from an Andrew Alberts check. Alberts knocked the blueliner down, but Greene got right back up and beat Alberts and the rest of the defense to the net.
The Canes came alive when Brandon Sutter scored a bouncing goal which hit a Jersey defenseman and found it's way past Martin Brodeur. Less then two minutes later, Tuomo Ruutu would score another one for the visitors as he took a pass from Jussi Jokinen and blistered a shot in the top corner of the net. Joni Pitkanen led Jokinen with the initial pass, setting up the play.
Ruutu's goal was a powerplay tally, giving the team three powerplay goals in the last three games.
The Hurricanes would dominate play at times in the game, but could not solve Brodeur the rest of the way. While they played well, they were unable to get more than nine shots on goal in any period. The Devils would add an empty-netter to complete the scoring with just one click left on the clock.
The last place team simply can not fall behind 3-0 and expect to beat a division leading New Jersey team which has been playing very well of late, but it was a hard fought game and much better than many others the team played earlier in the year.
Next up will be a game against the Eastern Conference leading Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Friday night.
- The Canes were only credited with one hit for the entire game. It was not the hardest hitting game of the year, but the official scorer must have been napping.
- The most agonizing "non shot" of the game was when Erik Cole had a rolling puck on the side of an open net very late in the game and waited instead shooting. Eventually, he tried passing to the front of the net but the team lost control and a golden opportunity was lost.
Eric Staal led the team with four shots on goal and came close to denting the scoresheet but had a frustrating night on defense and finished with a (-2).
- Tuomo Ruutu looked like he had more zip tonight than at any point this year. Could he finally be approaching 100%?
- Joni Pitkanen had two assists but also finished with a (-2).
- Chad LaRose made a nice play as he knocked a puck from the front of the net when it was tipped in the air and Cam Ward lost track of it.
- Cam Ward understandably started out a little shaky, but made some solid saves down the stretch to keep his team in it. None of his goals allowed could be considered "soft" but he had a gaping "5-hole" on the Aaron Ward deflection.
- Speaking of Aaron Ward, his plus/minus (-15) is not far away from Brind'Amour's (-19) and that penalty he took late in the game was brutal. If they can healthy scratch the captain...?