The Carolina Hurricanes had a one goal lead late in the game in New Jersey on Tuesday night, but lost the lead, and eventually the game to the Devils, 3-2 in overtime. The Canes had a tough time all night generating any consistent even-strength offense against the born-again Jacques Lemaire defense, but they used two powerplay goals by Jeff Skinner to build a 2-1 lead in the third period, before succumbing to the late Jersey onslaught.
After a scoreless first period, Skinner would notch his first of the night midway through the second as he whistled a shot shortside by goalie Johan Hedberg while on a rush during a man advantage.
The Devils would come right back and tie the game three minutes later when Jason Arnott found Mattias Tedenby all alone cutting to the front of the Carolina net. The pass was a beauty, a blind, backhander right to the rookie's tape.
About eight minutes and change into the third period, the Hurricanes got another chance with the man advantage and scored again. This time Eric Staal won a faceoff, sent the puck to Ian White, then got the puck back from White, and fired it at the net. Tuomo Ruutu was battling hard in the crease and Skinner got in the clear to knock the loose rebound home.
Give an unofficial assist to Ruutu on the play who helped to create that chance. The goal was the rookie's 20th of the season.
With a 2-1 lead, the Hurricanes seemed to stop being as aggressive as they were earlier and it finally caught up to them. Nick Palmieri would tie the game with just 2:54 left as he put back the rebound of an Ilya Kovalchuk shot right in front of the net.
Cam Ward had played a very solid game up to that point, but that is one rebound he probably wished he had back.
The goalie would make up for it shortly afterward though when he robbed the Devils of a possible game winning shot in regulation as the Devils threw everything but the kitchen sink at the tired visitors. The Devils had 19 shots on goal in that period as the Hurricanes could only muster five.
About midway into the overtime, the Hurricanes misfired on a chance in the Devil's zone and the home team came back the other way with the advantage. Tedenby scored his second of the game and the winner when he circled in front of Ward and beat him with an uncontested shot at 2:42 into the extra period.
The Canes were outshot in the game 34-22 and were stifled most of the contest. The fourth line generated the most shots on goal, (8), and seemed to generate the most scoring chances even though they got about eight minutes of playing time each.
The team took a bus for the short ride to Philadelphia where they will battle with the Flyers on Thursday night.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- It's always nice to get a point on the road, but this is a game the Canes probably feel like they should have won, considering they had the lead with less than three minutes to go. They had trouble breaking through the Jersey trap at the blueline all night long, but seemed happy to just dump the puck in their opponent's zone most of the third period, (without much of the chase part).
Anton Volchenkov was almost the goat of the game, and deservedly so. Both of Skinner's goals came while the defenseman was in the penalty box, one time for an elbow to Zach Boychuk's head. Even if accidental, it's one of those plays that the NHL should take a close look at if they are truly serious about reducing blows to the head.
- The Hurricanes did not have a minor penalty called against them all game and had three chances on the powerplay. They finished 2 of 3. The refs probably swallowed their whistles in overtime because of this when Patrik Elias gloved a puck in his own end and sent it to the corner to save a great chance for Carolina. The Devils scored shortly afterward.
Jay Harrison dropped the gloves with David Clarkson for a pretty even bout. The defenseman seems to be getting better at the fine art of fighting, with more practice.
- Zach Boychuk led the team with four shots on goal. His linemates, Troy Bodie and Ryan Carter had two apiece. Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole each had three.
- Joni Pitkanen had a game high five blocked shots, but one stunned him and he had to leave the game. He came back for a short time, but was unable to continue. The loss of the defenseman probably hurt the Canes down the stretch as a couple of blueliners had extra long shifts and might have been a bit winded at crucial times late in the game.
- The team was credited for a season low eight hits. No one had more than one on the team. The Devils were also credited with eight for the night.
- Tim Gleason led Carolina with over 27 minutes of ice time.
- Ruutu had a nice night in the faceoff circle and won 7 of 11 for 64%. The team finished at 46%.
post game quotes: