In his first game after being named as alternate captain, Brandon Sutter scored two goals and led the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 overtime win in an exhibition contest over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday afternoon at the RBC. The team had to catch a flight to Russia as soon as they got packed up afterward, as this will be the last game in Raleigh for them until October 27 when they face the Washington Capitals.
After a scoreless first period, Sutter tipped in a shot from the point by Joe Corvo to start things off. The goal was a powerplay tally making them 1 out of 4 for the game.
Atlanta picked up the pressure to kick off the third, but the Canes fought back and had a few more chances of their own. The Thrashers finally were able to tie the game with just 1:03 to play when they pulled their goalie to give themselves an advantage. Bryan Little fed Nick Antropov and the Russian picked a perfect spot on Cam Ward, ruining the goalie's bid for two straight shutouts.
The Carolina netminder was spectacular at times but saved his best save for the extra period as he robbed Bryan Little with an acrobatic save. Little was set up for an open attempt at the doorstep by former Cane Andrew Ladd.
Shortly after that play, Jamie McBain created an odd man rush for the home team as he passed to Erik Cole, who found an open Sutter streaking toward the net. Sutter tipped the perfect pass in, sending a partisan crowd of 15,787 home with pleasant memories.
- The Canes had 14 hits led by Tim Gleason with 4. Gleason lined up one Thrasher beautifully and took him out along the boards with a thunderous hip check, which was the hit of the game.
- Chad LaRose had a team high 2 blocked shots.
- The Hurricanes finished with 30 shots on goal. Jamie McBain was number one with 5 shots.
- Cam Ward made 30 saves on 31 Atlanta shots and looked very strong throughout
- For the first time this preseason, the Canes broke the 60% mark on faceoffs. These were the results: Staal 54%, Sutter 55%, Dalpe 83%, Jokinen 56%.
The rookies each made a case for themselves to stay with the big club. Drayson Bowman played another physical game and showed a lot of speed, at one time out-hustling two Thrashers to a loose puck.
Zac Dalpe had an excellent night in the face off circle, winning 5-6. He also showed some speed, broke away for a nice opportunity, and filled in nicely on the penalty kill when called upon.
Jeff Skinner showed the most promise though, as he repeatedly hustled to keep the puck in the zone and was buzzing around the net all night. At one point, he took the puck away from a Thrasher at the blueline, powered his way to the net, and drew a penalty which led to the first Hurricanes goal.
After the game, Paul Maurice had nothing but positive to say about his team. Check out interviews of him, Jamie McBain, and Brandon Sutter next.