The Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche battled to a scoreless tie after two periods of play, but Jeff Skinner netted a hard working goal in the third and Brandon Sutter rifled in the game winner just 1:16 into overtime as the Hurricanes won a goalie's dual at the RBC on Friday night by a score of 2-1.
Both Cam Ward and Craig Anderson were at the top of their respective games as they made save after save throughout the night. Ward made 34 saves on 35 shots and the former Florida Panther was 28 out of 30.
The Hurricanes really relied upon their netminder in the opening period as they were getting out-shot by a 10-0 margin before they had a single shot on goal, which was almost half way through the period. Coach Paul Maurice said that their lack of winning faceoffs in that period contributed to the problem as the team was 1 of 9 in the faceoff circle early on.
The Canes ended up winning just 39% of their draws for the game.
After the slow start, the home team put some decent pressure on Anderson late in the period, but the goalie was equal to the challenge.
In the second period, it was a parade to the penalty box as the Canes took three penalties in a row. But with Ward's help, the penalty kill unit did an excellent job, continuing their recent streak of scoreless work.
Early in the third period, Carolina really cranked up the pressure. Jeff Skinner put on a show as he took the puck in deep and tried to create something. With the help of Tuomo Ruutu, who separated the defenseman from the puck after it was knocked away from Skinner, the rookie tried to stuff the puck into the net, but was initially denied.
He then kicked the rebound to himself and roofed a wicked backhander which went over Anderson to break up the scoreless tie.
Colorado would fight back and their leading scorer, Milan Hejduk, broke in open behind the defense and fired a shot far post that beat Ward. The score stayed tied until the end of regulation, but Sutter would end things with his perfect shot, also just inside the far post.
After the game, the young alternate captain said that was exactly where he was going with the puck the whole way. (see interview below).
The Canes will now travel to Nashville as they begin a five game road trip tomorrow night in Music City. I will be there to cover this one.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
Joni Pitkanen got the assist on the game winner as he spotted Sutter and hit him at center ice. The defenseman had a game high 29:01 of ice time.
- Chad LaRose, Skinner, and Sutter each had four shots on goal, which led the team.
- Attendance was 16,277.
- The Canes were given credit for an amazing 46 hits. Tim Gleason led the way with seven, while Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu, and Erik Cole had five each.
- The fourth line did not have much ice time in this close contest as Troy Bodie had 5:52, Jiri Tlusty had 6:43, and Ryan Carter had 8:35. That might change in the second game of the back-to-back tomorrow night.