The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind once again last night, this time to the Washington Capitals before putting on a valiant come from behind effort in the third period, but ended up eventually falling to the division and conference leaders, 3-2.
The Caps took the lead a little past midway through the opening period after Justin Peters allowed a rebound that he wished he had back. Alex Ovechkin put a shot on goal which Peters initially stopped, but the puck squirted loose and Nicklas Backstrom was right there to tip it into the net for the visitors.
Backstrom would score again just a minute into the second as he put on a dazzling move while using Tim Gleason as a screen, and he easily slipped the puck past Peters.
The Canes really cranked up the intensity in the third period and started to put pressure on Semyon Varlamov. Joni Pitkanen found Sergei Samsonov in front of the net for the first goal and Eric Staal put back a Jeff Skinner attempt in close to tie things up. But the Hurricanes took two consecutive penalties to kill their momentum and the Caps scored early in their second powerplay of the period as Peters tried to clear a puck to the front instead of to the side. Brooks Laich ended up scoring the game winner for the bad guys.
The Canes pulled the goalie in the last minute in hope of some late game magic, but it was not to happen against the Caps. Both teams deserve credit for diving in front of some loose pucks as they blocked shots in the waning seconds of the game. The home team was trying to protect an empty net, the visitors trying to preserve the victory.
Carolina will practice at noon at the Rec Zone Thanksgiving Day before flying to Boston for their noon start time match against the Bruins on Friday.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- For the first time in a long time, a Carolina player won a fight decisively. Troy Bodie dropped the mitts with Matt Bradley and Bodie bloodied the Cap with several hard right hands. To his credit, Bradley would not go down, but Bodie used his longer reach to his advantage. After the game, Paul Maurice mentioned that "it was nice to win one of those." Bodie was just trying to make an impression, and that he did. He also almost contributed on the score sheet as he made a couple of nice passes to the front of the net.
- The Canes combined for 32 shots on goal led by Staal with five.
- Peters made 35 saves on 38 shots. He made a couple of bad plays which led to goals, but he also made a couple of nice saves, one on Alexander Semin who broke in alone and another on Backstrom, who was buzzing around the Hurricanes zone all night.
- Both teams finished 1-4 on the powerplay.
- Paul Maurice finally switched up the lines a bit as he had Erik Cole and Chad LaRose change places in the third period. The change worked on the Staal line at least as Cole immediately created some extra room. We will see if the coach stays with the change.
- The team finished at 44% on faceoffs which is higher than their season average. Brandon Sutter had a team high 53% as he won 8 of 15 attempts.
- Ian White had a team high four blocked shots.
Joe Corvo had a team high three giveaways followed by Jussi Jokinen and Justin Peters with two each.
- The Canes were credited with 21 hits compared to 27 for Washington. Ryan Carter, Patrick Dwyer, LaRose, and Staal each had three.
- Both Bodie and Carter had about four minutes of playing time, but they made their presence known in that short period of time though.
- The Canes are now 0-9-0 when trailing after the second period. They are 1-7-0 when trailing after one.
A couple of post game media interviews follow:
Here is the Bodie/Bradley fight
And finally, just in time for HBO's Winter Classic Special, the Caps are back on top. Not that the NHL is too happy about it.