The Carolina Hurricanes outshot, outhit, and outplayed the Boston Bruins for large parts of the game on Tuesday night, but still skated away as losers. Tim Thomas made 43 saves and the Bruins took advantage of key, ill-timed mistakes as they defeated the Hurricanes, 3-2 in front of 17,419 at the RBC Center.
The Canes started out the game behind the eight ball and fell behind early as Boston scored a powerplay goal just 2:04 into the game. Jussi Jokinen was called for tripping 17 seconds into the contest.
The Canes started building more and more pressure in the Boston zone though and finally tied the score when Jokinen knocked in a rebound with 1:21 left in the first. The Canes matched their season high output with 19 shots on goal for the period, then put another 19 shots on goal again in the second.
But Thomas looked like his old Vezina winning self as he dove, flopped, and did anything he could to keep the game knotted up, 1-1 through two periods.
The goalie had 37 saves on 38 shots up to that point.
The Canes started the third a little bit slower and the Bruins jumped on them. Boston won a faceoff in the Carolina zone and Zdeno Chara's tipped shot found Brad Marchand alone in the slot area. Marchand made no mistake as he beat Cam Ward to give the Bruins the 2-1 lead.
The Canes still had some energy left though as once again, they tried to smother Thomas.
Jeff Skinner created a chance on the side of the Boston net as the puck went high into the air, Tuomo Ruutu hit the puck again, and Chad LaRose was in the right place at the right time as he banged in the tying goal from the crease about midway through the third.
But LaRose took an ill-advised penalty when he went after Chara behind the net along the boards and was called for elbowing, (although replays looked like it was a high stick).
Either way, the Bruins would score the game winner during the ensuing powerplay when Milan Lucic found an open spot, right in front of Cam Ward. Mark Recchi fed him a perfect pass, and that was the game.
The home team pulled Ward late in the contest but could not get any more decent chances before time ran out.
It had to be a heart breaking loss for the Hurricanes as they gave it everything they had and still were unable to even get a point for all their hard work and trouble.
When asked about LaRose's penalty after the game, coach Paul Maurice said that he would rather see the emotion and heart, then have LaRose just go through the motions and not hit at all. Still, it's been similar undisciplined play which has cost this team at other times during the season.
(Update:) Maurice's exact quote was:
"The other option is for him to float around out there and not finish his check and this game is 5-0 again. So, we'll take the effort first and try to point him in the right direction the next time. But the effort and heart that he showed and so many of the other players showed was fantastic."
The boys will lace them up again for a game against the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- The Canes ended up with 45 shots on goal compared to 28 for Boston. Joni Pitkanen had a team high six, while Joe Corvo and Cole each had five. The team also had 28 shots blocked by Boston and missed the net 14 times for a grand total of 87 shots for the game. They really did dominate time of possession and scoring chances throughout much of the contest.
- The team may have run out of gas in the third period. After having 36 hits after two periods, they finished the game with 45. The Bruins had 19 for the game. Larose had a team high seven while Ruutu had six. They also went from 19 shots on goal in each of the first two periods, then had seven for the third.
- Faceoffs were better as the team finished at 51%. Everyone was above 50% except for Staal who won 44% of his tries.
- Joe Corvo had four takeaways. Ruutu had three.
This is the type of game where there will be mixed feelings out there. Some fans will be happy for the effort and not care as much concerning the points. Others will feel frustrated that the team played about as hard as they can play, yet still came away with nothing, in regards to the standings.
The defensive effort was supreme for the most part, but there were still some gaps in the defensive zone coverage which led to goals. That still seems to be something that needs to improve.
It's difficult for a team to get this juiced up and to play this hard every night. Can the Hurricanes bring it again on Thursday?