It was not necessarily a perfect recipe for success, but the Carolina Hurricanes used some stellar goaltending by Cam Ward and some clutch shooting by Erik Cole to get past the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday evening, 3-2.
The win gave the Hurricanes 62 points along with sole possession of eighth place and they remain just two points behind the seventh place New York Rangers.
The Canes were outshot in this one, 43-17 and only had a total of nine shots in the last two periods, but still managed a tough win in the second game of a back-to-back.
Jiri Tlusty gave Carolina the lead midway through the first period when he put in a slap pass from Joni Pitkanen on a play very similar to one scored in Tampa on Saturday night. The period ended 1-0 and shots on goal and time of possession stats were pretty even for both teams.
The Hurricanes sat back a bit after that and the Thrashers were able to log a lot of time in the Carolina zone, as well as put a lot of rubber on Cam Ward. But Ward was up to the challenge in this one. The goalie is now 18-8-2 lifetime against Atlanta.
Andrew Ladd scored two unassisted goals, one early in the second period and another in the opening seconds of the third. But those would be the only goals that would get past the Carolina goaltender.
Joe Corvo scored the Carolina goal in the second period when Jeff Skinner took the puck behind the net, then fed it nicely to Brandon Sutter, who was in the slot area. Sutter saw Corvo coming in wide open and the defenseman made a beautiful shot, which at the time gave the Canes a 2-1 lead.
After Ladd tied the game up again early in the third, the Thrashers tried and tried to score another one, but Ward stood tall in the net to keep things tied up. The Canes were outshot 14-4 in that period, but Erik Cole would make sure one of those four shots counted as he whistled in a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec with just 1:19 left on the clock.
It was the third straight game winning goal for Cole against the Thrashers and was very similar to the overtime game winner in Raleigh, just eight days ago.
The team will now have a couple of days to catch their collective breath before taking on New Jersey on Wednesday night.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- The Atlanta broadcast crew did not seem to be fans of Carolina's strategy or system. They repeatedly made remarks like, "Carolina has five guys waiting in the neutral zone", "the trap happy Canes", and "masters of the 1-3-1 Venus Fly Trap." Thanks to Cam Ward and company, the strategy worked.
- The system must be doing something right as the Canes are now 18-0-0 when leading after two periods.
- The 17 shots on goal is the lowest of the season for Carolina. Their previous low for a game was 21 against Boston on 11/26. The club failed to hit double figures in any period, (8-5-4).
- The team had 18 hits led by Tim Gleason with three. The Thrashers also had 18 hits.
- Contributing to the low shot total, Atlanta blocked 22 Carolina shots. The Canes had eight blocks.
- The Hurricanes had 16 takeaways led by Eric Staal with three.
- Zac Dalpe and Jerome Samson had six and eight minutes of ice time respectively. Samson stood out a bit more as he had a couple of nice moves, two shots on goal, and a hit that never made it to the scoresheet.
- Carolina is 4-0-0 against Atlanta this season with two wins in overtime, one in a shootout, and now one in regulation. Each game has been very close.
post game interviews: