The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind 2-0, put on a furious rally in the third period to tie it up 2-2, but then allowed a goal during a four minute Ottawa powerplay as they lost to the Senators, 3-2.
The Canes started the game out pretty well and put some early pressure on starting Sens goalie Pascal Leclaire, but the netminder had to leave the game due to what appeared to be a pulled muscle. Brian Elliott took over and looked very good for the home team the rest of the way.
The first period was fairly evenly played, although Ottawa outshot Carolina 16-9. The visitors still created several scoring chances, but were unable to convert. Cam Ward was solid in net and kept the score tied until a late period shot by Mike Fisher took an unlucky bounce up into the air and went over the goalie to make the score 1-0.
The second period was one the Canes would like to forget as they turned the puck over repeatedly, messed up zone coverage in their own end, and could get nothing going in the Ottawa zone. The Sens put another 13 shots on Ward and the Canes could only generate 4 of their own as they were absolutely dominated by the home team.
The Sens made it 2-0 when Milan Michalek received a perfect pass from Daniel Alfredsson and deked out Ward at his doorstep. Joni Pitkanen was out of position on the play and lost track of Michalek. Ward made several more outstanding saves during the period to keep things close.
The Canes woke up in the third period and started to exert some consistent pressure on the Sens. This was helped with a bit of line juggling by Paul Maurice, who switched up Chad LaRose and Jeff Skinner, putting the young rookie on Eric Staal's line.
At 7:20 into the period, Sergei Samsonov scored a powerplay goal, then just 1:39 later, Eric Staal would chip in a goal to tie things up. The Canes were buzzing and had the Sens on their heels, but a four minute high sticking call against Jussi Jokinen killed the momentum.
During the first two minutes of the prolonged kill, the Canes generated a couple of nice opportunities. Erik Cole broke into the clear but could not get the puck past Elliott. Then Brandon Sutter stole the puck and had an open shot of his own which was denied. It looked like the Hurricanes might kill it off, but shortly after that, Mike Fisher found himself alone on the attack and beat Ward on a nice shot straight on, from about 25 feet.
Fisher had an excellent game and was named first star.
Carolina really could not get much going after that and ended up skating to the locker room with their first loss of the season.
The team will next battle with Vancouver on Sunday night.
Quick Hits and Stats:
- Eric Staal was named the second star and broke out with a goal and an assist. He had a very good game other than in the faceoff circle, as he won just 25%.
- The team was outshot by the Sens 39-24 and obviously can not allow that big of a difference every night. Erik Cole had several good scoring chances and had a team high 5 shots. Jeff Skinner was next with 4.
- Joni Pitkanen did not have the best of nights but led both teams with 28 minutes of ice time. He also had a team high 3 blocked shots.
- The team was credited with 18 hits, led by Erik Cole with 4.
- In the third period, Patrick Dwyer was laid out with a blind side hit to the head by Nick Foligno and the hit looked like a classic example of what not to do under the league's new "zero tolerance" head hit policy. Paul Maurice said after the game that the refs thought Foligno's hit was shoulder to shoulder. "Unless Patty's head is growing out of his armpit, that's impossible", the coach replied. To his credit, Dwyer got right back up and didn't miss a shift.
- Once again, the faceoffs were not good and the club finished winning 41%. Staal had 25%, (5 of 20), Sutter had 59%, (10 of 17), Jokinen had 36%, (4 of 11), and Dalpe was 2 out of 3.
As with most games, there were plus's and minus's to take away from it.
The good news is that the Canes never gave up and made a real exciting game of it in the third period. If not for the Jokinen penalty, it really looked like they could have come away with at least a point. Also, Cam Ward played extremely well. Cole and Staal looked better in this game and the addition of Skinner had a positive affect. LaRose also looked better once moved to Jokinen and Ruutu's line. Perhaps without the pressure of performing on the first line, he can do better focusing on his typical game. (Sounds like last year?)
The bad news is that the defensive coverage often looked like a mess. Ward had to stop several grade A chances. In the second period the team had trouble passing the puck and looked like they were killing a penalty most of the time as Ottawa held the puck in the Carolina zone seemingly at will. The team needs to tighten up in their own end, if they can.
Following are some links to post game interviews: