The Carolina Hurricanes scored two goals in the last 52 seconds to tie things up, before eventually losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, 4-3 in overtime.
Just like their previous contest in Philadelphia, the Canes fell behind 2-0 but continued to fight and battle as they tried to make a game of it.
After a scoreless first period, the Bolts lit the lamp twice in the second. Steve Downie scored the first goal early in the period at even strength, then Vincent Lecavalier tipped in the second during a powerplay.
The Hurricanes had plenty of chances with the man advantage in this game and had no luck until Eric Staal finally got one past Dwayne Roloson midway through the second period. Although the Tampa Bay goalie had a pretty easy time of it in that period as the Bolts outshot the Canes by an 18-5 margin.
Carolina came out with more jump in the third and started getting more rubber through to Roloson. But as the visitors took more and more chances on offense, Sean Bergenheim made them pay as he took the puck down the left side on a two-on-one break and beat Cam Ward to make the score 3-1 with less than eight minutes to play.
Still, the no-quit Canes continued to battle.
They finally were able to pull Ward out of his net for an extra attacker with less than two minutes on the clock. From behind the Tampa net, Staal was able to send a rolling puck toward the front and rookie Jeff Skinner knew exactly what to do with it.
With the score now 3-2 with less than 52 seconds left, the team pulled out Ward again and with 33 seconds left, they scored again. This time, Joni Pitkanen sent his patented slap pass toward the front and Erik Cole was able to tip it past Roloson.
The Hurricanes did the impossible, they scored two goals in 19 seconds to tie things up inside the last minute.
It was the Lightning's turn to regroup in the extra period though as Marc-Andre Bergeron rifled one past Ward just 1:32 into it, to give the home team the victory. It looked like the puck changed directions and hit someone on the way in, but Bergeron got the official tally.
The Canes flew to Atlanta immediately after the game in preparation for the second of this back-to-back against the Thrashers. It will be another huge game with playoff implications.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- That third goal by the Bolts was a real back-breaker, but give the Canes credit. They continued to fight and battle and were finally rewarded for their effort. That was a great job to steal a point under those circumstances, and a huge point it might turn out to be. For now, it put them back into eighth place.
- The official result on Yahoo! Sports was 1-for-7 while John and Tripp called it 1-for-8, but either way, the Hurricanes powerplay needs to be more effective if they want to make it to the postseason.
- The Canes were outshot in this one, 41-34. In each game of this current road trip, they have had at least one bad period where they were dominated in that stat. (This second period, outshot 18-5). They can't afford those bad periods because as they have found out, one bad period can cost you a game.
- Staal led the team with seven shots on goal.
- It will be interesting to see if Ward finally gets a day off on Sunday. He worked hard in this game and took a hard shot in the mask at one point, which seemed to stun him a bit. He was slow to get up a couple of other times.
- The team was given credit for 16 hits, led by Chad LaRose with three. The Lightning had 24.
- The Lightning blocked 20 shots compared to 14 for Carolina. Tim Gleason had a team high four.
- The lines were mixed pretty liberally again as Zach Boychuk started out with Cole and Staal. Then Samsonov was moved there, then it looked like LaRose was. Jiri Tlusty took LaRose's spot on the Skinner/Ruutu line later in the game. Will Maurice go back to the original set up, or stick with the switcheroo?
- Boychuk had just over six minutes of ice time. Brett Sutter had four minutes in his Carolina debut, while Troy Bodie finished with just under two minutes. There were a ton of penalties in this game, which can wreck havoc on a game plan, but some of the other skaters look tired at times. This line should be getting more ice time on Sunday as the team plays its second game in less than 24 hours.
Post Game Interviews: