For most of the night, the Carolina Hurricanes battled even up with the New York Rangers, as goalies Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Ward were both performing like it was a playoff game, but the home team would eventually come out on top as the Rangers prevailed, 2-1 over Carolina in overtime.
After two tightly-checked, scoreless periods, it looked like any team that was fortunate enough to score a single goal would be the winner.
The Blueshirts finally did break the ice when defenseman Matt Gilroy lit the lamp with a shot from near the point, 8:41 into the third period. It was Gilroy's third goal of the season.
Cam Ward made several brilliant saves throughout the contest, but much like the Florida game, lost sight of a long shot from the outside which proved costly.
Although once again, the Canes did not give up. With less than seven minutes left in the game, Eric Staal won a faceoff in the New York zone and drove to the net.
Joe Corvo got a shot through to Lundqvist and the goalie spit out a juicy rebound to the Carolina Captain. It was a bam-bam play, but Staal was able to get his stick on the puck and send it past the Swede as he crashed head first into the Rangers' goalie right after the puck fell into the net.
With the score tied 1-1, both teams created a couple of chances before the end of regulation, but failed to end the game.
The Canes had some decent puck possession time in the extra period, but did not register a single shot on goal. At one point, they were passing the puck around the perimeter and eventually lost control of it at the blueline, without benefit of a scoring chance.
Rookie Mats Zuccarello scored the game winner when he roofed the puck over Cam Ward at a tight angle near the post, with 1:51 left in OT. It was the rookies' first career goal.
Overall, the Hurricanes played a decent road game as they showed good intensity and effort. Cam Ward was forced to make more, high quality saves than Lundqvist, which would indicate that the Rangers had the better of the play at times.
Still, if the Canes could have scored a powerplay tally, (0-3), or a breakaway, (Cole), they could have won this one. The team moves on to Sunrise, Florida for a rematch with the Panthers on Friday night.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- Is the glass half full or half empty? It was a very good effort on the road and it's nice to get a point, but Ward needed his "A" game and still came out on the losing end. Moral victories alone won't get you into the playoffs.
- Give Tortorella credit for gambling and giving his rookie a chance in the overtime period. While Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk each saw action in the final two minutes of regulation, neither of them had a chance to see the ice in OT. Rookie Jeff Skinner had 42 seconds of ice time, though. Much like the Florida game, Staal and Cole got caught on the ice for an extended shift to start things out, but this time it didn't lead to a goal, although it did keep fresh bodies on the bench.
- Both Dalpe and Boychuk made a good showing for themselves, even if it didn't translate to the scoresheet. Boychuk had three shots and three hits in just under 16 minutes. Dalpe had three shots and one hit in 12:22.
- The team was given credit for 30 hits, compared to 21 for the Rangers. Erik Cole led the way with five while Chad LaRose had four.
- The Canes were out-shot 35 to 32 and were also out-chanced. Staal and Corvo led the way with four shots each.
- Troy Bodie and Brandon Prust dropped the gloves and fought for as long as they could keep swinging. That was longest fight a Cane had been involved with for quite some time, so props to Bodie for a great showing.
- The team won 42% of the game's faceoffs. Sutter finished at 59% and Staal was at 48%. Ruutu might be moving back to wing after his 13% showing, (1 of 8).
Post Game Interviews: