The Carolina Hurricanes dominated the first period and the end of the third period, and that was enough to get them one point — but not two — against the Ottawa Senators Tuesday at the RBC Center. Despite trailing 2-0 with less than five minutes remaining, the Canes rallied for two goals to force overtime before falling in the shootout, 3-2.
1. The Tuomo Ruutu goal that got Carolina back into the game was one of the flukier ones you'll see. Defenseman Jay Harrison sent the puck up the ice for what was going to be an icing call, but Jiri Tlusty — who had been elevated to the first line with Eric Staal and Ruutu in the third — hustled up the ice and forechecked Ottawa d-men Sergei Gonchar and Jared Cowen. Goaltender Craig Anderson shied away from the puck to allow for the icing, but instead Ruutu was the first to touch it, backhanding it past the Sens goalie to make the score 2-1. It was a line change by Maurice that ended up working. Ruutu summarized the goal perfectly: "Yeah, it was kind of weird."
2. The Hurricanes dominated the first period in every aspect but the scoreboard, but the most surprising stat was the team going 14 of 19 in the faceoff circle in the opening frame. Unfortunately, the Canes did not keep up that pace. They won just nine of 29 the rest of the way and Maurice said it led to the team pursuing the Senators for the puck the rest of the way.
"In the first period we had a lot more puck possession just off of faceoffs alone," Maurice said. "And then in the second and third period we had a difficult time in that circle. And then you're always chasing and you don't have the same kind of puck possession."
3. Carolina's play in the second period and most of the third was frustrating at best, but mostly disturbing. After a great first period that resulted in no scoring, the Canes were flat the rest of the way until Ruutu's bizarre goal. The smallish crowd seemed even smaller than it was because there was next to no noise in the building while Carolina went through the motions and fell behind two goals. They salvaged a point, but on a night like tonight the Canes should have gotten two points ... and they didn't.
Number To Know
12 — Shot attempts by Harrison. Six made it on net, while he had three more blocked and three miss the target. If you tack on Pitkanen's output (he was credited with five shots on goal, 10 total attempts), the duo were responsible for nearly a third of Carolina's 34 shots on goal and totaled 22 shot attempts on the night.
Eric Staal — The scoresheet only shows one secondary assist, but Carolina's captain was the Hurricanes' most active forward in the game. Staal had just two shots but attempted three others, plus he was physical early and late in standing up for teammates and finishing his checks. It's a starting point for Staal, who is still stuck at one even-strength point. But it's a good starting point.
Brett Sutter — In what is starting to seem like an every-game occurrence, Sutter took a run at an opposing player. Often this is a good sign, especially for a fourth line player, but Sutter's intentions sometimes seem like headhunting, and his run at Gonchar on Zenon Konopka's game-opening goal opened the ice up for the opportunity. It's one thing if you want to walk the line of clean play — plenty do it perfectly and legally — but it's another to cost your team in doing so.
"If you're hitting somebody he's behind you, so you don't have to worry about him beating you back up the ice," Maurice said of the play. "But when you're filling in for a D, that's a different animal."
But Maurice didn't blame his rookie forward.
"That play had broken down prior to that hit," he said. "We got a soft pinch by a defenseman [McBain] to a guy that a forward was covering. It was a young mistake, but I'm not hanging it on him."
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The Hurricanes have reassigned rookie Justin Faulk to the Charlotte Checkers. Here's the release from the team:
HURRICANES REASSIGN JUSTIN FAULK TO CHARLOTTE
Defenseman to join Checkers for second AHL stint this season
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has reassigned defenseman Justin Faulk to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). It will mark the second AHL stint this season for Faulk, who registered two points (1g, 1a) in three games with Charlotte from Oct. 21-23. He was recalled to Carolina on Monday, but did not skate in the team’s game against Ottawa on Tuesday.
Faulk, 19, made his NHL debut with the Hurricanes in the team’s season opener on Oct. 7 against Tampa Bay. The South St. Paul, MN, native has played in three games with the Hurricanes this season, averaging 18:59 of ice time per game. Faulk (6’0", 205 lbs.) is in his first full professional season after winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in 2010-11. The Hurricanes drafted Faulk in the second round, 37th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.