Jussi Jokinen did it again for Carolina. The surprise of the 2009 playoffs scored the game winning goal at 2:48 in overtime and the Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins, 3-2, in front of a sold out crowd last night at the RBC. The win gives the Canes a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series with game four to be played in Raleigh on Friday night.
Jokinen scored his second game winner this post season. His first one was an NHL record breaking goal with just 0.2 seconds left on the clock in game four against the Devils. The Finn also scored the game tying goal against New Jersey with a minute and change left in game seven.
As Cam Ward said after the game, Jussi has been "money".
An emotional Jokinen reminisced with reporters after the game about how far he has come the past few months, from a player no one wanted on the waiver wire, to a valued player on a team winning in the playoffs. He said that Mark Recchi was one of the players who helped him get through the tough times in Tampa Bay.
What Jokinen didn't mention was that he also had to deal with the death of his father in March. Needless to say, it has been a season of extremes for the future restricted free agent.
But this was not just a one man effort for the Hurricanes. The home team dominated the visitors in just about every category but the scoreboard, and once again, everyone on the team contributed. The Canes out-shot, (41-23), and out-chanced, (12-6), the Bruins by almost a two to one margin.
Carolina seemed to have the better of the play in the first period, but were unable to get on the scoreboard. Ray Whitney just missed a point blank chance, as did Matt Cullen. Boston's Milan Lucic did not miss with his chance though, and the visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead about eight minutes into the first.
The second period was all Carolina though as they imposed their will on Boston. At one point later in the period, they held the puck in the Bruins zone for over a minute and ended up drawing a penalty. During the ensuing powerplay, the puck went behind the net but Eric Staal took it away from Steve Montador and skated all alone in front of Tim Thomas. The goalie did not have a chance as the All Star center buried the shot to tie the score for the Hurricanes.
The crowd went nuts and the team responded with even more pressure in the opposing zone. Just a minute and change later, Scott Walker found an open Sergei Samsonov approaching the slot and the Russian sniper made no mistake, scoring his first goal of the playoffs.
The Bruins got a bit lucky in the third period and tied the score when a Chuck Kobasew shot bounced in the net off of Mark Recchi's shin pad. Fans started to wonder, would the Canes end up losing this game even though they played well enough to win?
But after a couple of key saves near the beginning of overtime by Cam Ward, Jokinen made sure the valiant effort in regulation was not wasted and he put the Canes in the lead of this series with his game winner. We will see what the Bruins are made of when they come out in desperation mode on Friday.
Boston must be a bit concerned by now because the Hurricanes have outplayed them two games in a row. Bruins coach Claude Julien was unhappy with the way his team played and said "the better team won this game."
Cam Ward had another outstanding game. He had 21 saves on 23 shots, the most important of those being in OT. His rebound control was excellent.
Tim Thomas had a lot of saves, but allowed too many juicy rebounds. Jokinen's game winner was off of a rebound.
Scott Walker had an amazing nine hits and was named third star. Erik Cole had eight.
This was the first time this postseason that the Bruins scored first in a game, but still lost. It was also the first time they allowed a powerplay goal in the playoffs.
The Canes are still undefeated in the playoffs when Eric Staal scores. They have only lost once or twice all year when he notches a goal. People around the league should take notice because he is consistently dominating the game at both ends of the ice against grade A competition. The center is having a great postseason so far.
The Hurricanes had 16 blocked shots and were led by Anton Babchuk with three. The Bruins had a total of eight.
Chad LaRose once again skated like he was shot out of a cannon. He was all over the rink and created a lot of havoc as well as helped with puck possession.
This sounds like a broken record, but Joni Pitkaknen led both teams with 28:42 of ice time. Next highest on the Canes was Joe Corvo with a far distant 23 minutes.
Paul Maurice did another great job of mixing the lines up and had Staal on the ice sometimes with Chara, sometimes without him. The new line of Samsonov, Ruutu, and Jokinen looked very good and were rewarded when they teamed up for the winner.
Post game interviews: