For the second game in a row, the Carolina Hurricanes came back from a deficit to force overtime, but also for the second time they did not prevail, as the Calgary Flames scored with 3.6 seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 win.
The Hurricanes started out on equal footing in the first, lost momentum in the second, and finally found their game in the third, but again were not able to muster a 60-minute effort in regulation.
It was a game that started in the shadows of big news stories from both teams. For the Hurricanes, it was welcome news of the return of Alexander Semin from injured reserve after missing 12 games with a concussion. For the Flames, it was the awkward news of the firing of General Manager Jay Feaster and Assistant GM John Weisbrod earlier in the day.
The game started off evenly matched, with a scoreless tie and a slight 10-9 shots on goal lead for the Canes, who went 0/1 on one power play opportunity.
The Hurricanes were outmatched in the second, spending most of the period in their own zone, winning few battles, and fighting off one penalty. At least two opportunities, one by Justin Faulk and another by Jeff Skinner, rang the post, otherwise they were really not able to generate much offense and were out-shot 11 to 3. It was a failed attempt to cleanly clear the puck out of the defensive zone that allowed the Flames to capitalize with a little more than two minutes left in the period, as Brian McGrattan found the back of the net for his first of the season.
As the third period wore on, the Hurricanes began to find their game, outshooting the Flames and generating more opportunities. After one failed power play opportunity early in the third, the Canes were finally able to even the match when Eric Staal battled hard to gain possession in the defensive zone, get the pass up the ice to Tuomo Ruutu, who was able to hold on until he could find an open Jeff Skinner to rifle the shot to tie the game at the midway point of the third.
Skinner wasn't quite done with the third period show as he had another golden opportunity after he was hooked from behind by Ladislav Smid while on a breakaway attempt and awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately Karri Ramo was up to the challenge and there was no goal. Despite outshooting the Flames 16-8 in the third, the Canes were not able to break through to score again and the game went to overtime.
Just when it appeared that the game was headed to a shootout, Chris Butler crossed the blue line, laid back patiently, and fired a wrist shot through a screen from 50 feet out that sailed past Justin Peters with 3.6 seconds left to seal the victory for the Flames.
Other Game Notes:
- The game's three stars were: 1) Brian McGrattan, 2) Jeff Skinner, 3) Karri Ramo
- Elias Lindholm left the game mid-way through the first period after taking a hard hit from Mark Giordano near the Calgary bench. Lindholm did not return to the game and his status is unknown.
- Skinner's penalty shot was the first awarded to the Canes this season.
- Alex Semin's return was up and down. His TOI was solid at 20:47 and he was shooting the puck with 3 shots on goal, 4 attempts blocked, and 3 missed shots, but it was his loose coverage of Chris Butler in the waning seconds of overtime that allowed Butler time and space to set up his game winner.
- Jeff Skinner led the team in shots on goal with 7, followed by Semin, Ruutu, and Gerbe with three. With Skinner's goal tonight he now has 7 goals in his last 6 games played.
- Tuomo Ruutu had a solid all-around effort on the night, with a key primary assist on Skinner's goal, 3 shots on goal (2 attempts blocked), team-leading four hits, and two blocked shots.
- With his assist on Skinner's goal, Eric Staal now has 16 points in 15 games.
- The loss drops the Hurricanes to 0-1-2 for their Western Conference road trip and 13-13-7 for the season with 33 points and a slim two-point lead over three other teams for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
- The team will remain in Calgary tomorrow morning and is tentatively scheduled to practice at the Saddledome at 11:00 am local time before flying to Phoenix, where they will take on the Coyotes Saturday night.
- Post game audio available from Kirk Muller and Jeff Skinner.