Jay Harrison enthusiastically celebrates his overtime game-winner with Jeff Skinner, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 win Thursday in Ottawa. - Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo
Jay Harrison scored his second game-winning goal of the season — this time in overtime — and Cam Ward stopped 45 shots to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over Ottawa and move them into eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on most of the teams in front of them.
Good teams get points even when they don't have their "A" game. The Carolina Hurricanes one-upped that Thursday. Despite being outshot 47-26, the Canes rallied to force overtime, then Jay Harrison scored the eventual game-winning goal to get a 3-2 win — and two points — in Ottawa. Here's a closer look at Thursday's big road win.
1. Eric Staal has been known to take an untimely penalty, but last night proved it can happen to even the best of captains. Daniel Alfredsson's third-period delay of game infraction — which happened with just a small amount of pressure from Jiri Tlusty — gave the Hurricanes the opportunity it needed to knot up the game. The power play had only two opportunities on the night, but it made the Senators pay the second time around with some beautiful puck movement that eventually found a sneaky Alexander Semin in the slot for the game-tying tally.
2. Harrison continues to be one of the Hurricanes' feel-good stories year after year. The journeyman defenseman has found a home in Raleigh with his combination of grit, consistency and timely offensive contributions. Most importantly, he's a player who loves to the play the game, as was witnessed in his enthusiasm following his game-winner. Harrison also picked up a secondary assist on Chad LaRose's first goal of the campaign, a breakaway that started on Harrison's stick and was sprung by heady forward Drayson Bowman. Don't look now, but Harrison is tied with Joni Pitkanen for the team lead in points among defensemen with four through nine games.
3. Cam Ward deserves the "plus" recognition since he was brilliant for 95 percent of the night Thursday. Other than his gaffe on Alfreddson's short-side goal in the second, Ward was close to perfect and seems to really be in a groove after not playing in back-to-back games earlier in the season when he was struggling. When a goalie can keep you in a road game on a night when your top line is not going — this was easily the worst performance of the season for Eric Staal and Semin, yet they still found a way to connect on a goal — you know you've got something good going.
Number To Know
0 — Recorded giveaways this season for Patrick Dwyer, who has fit in nicely alongside Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner on the second line by providing speed and tenacity. His responsibility with the puck is not something new — he had just 13 giveways in 73 games last season, and only seven in 80 games in 2010-11.
Jordan Staal — Don't listen to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, who named the younger Staal as his "Thumbs Down" player of the night. Even forgetting his part in the game-winning goal, Jordan was a dominant force, leading the Hurricanes in shots (six) and terrorizing the Senators in all three zones by utilizing his size and reach. That was epitomized in Harrison's overtime score when Staal seemed to carry half the Senators in the offensive zone before slamming on the brakes and firing the shot that hit Craig Anderson a trickled to Harrison on the side of the net. Throw in nearly three minutes of ice time on Carolina's perfect penalty kill unit, and it was arguably Jordan Staal's best night with Carolina. It was needed on a night when the rest of the team seemed a little out of whack.
Jamie McBain — I hate to come back to the defense again, but so many of Carolina's goals allowed have come due to mistakes in the neutral zone or own offensive zone by their blueliners. Last night late in the first period, McBain was indecisive about pinching and got caught flat-footed, springing the Sens on an odd-man rush. Eventually Erik Karlsson batted in a rebound — winning a puck battle against McBain — to make the score 1-0.