After falling behind 3-0, the Hurricanes eventually turned on the pressure and fought back to win a thrilling game with just 24 seconds left in OT. Eric Staal zipped in the game-winner on a perfect pass from Ray Whitney.
It was a game of two extremes. The Lightning controlled the first part of the game and held the puck in the Hurricanes zone for what seemed to be minutes at a time. Michael Leighton appeared to be fighting the puck initially, but he also made some nice saves.
Both teams were very undisciplined and committed too many penalties. A total of four goals, (two by each team), were scored on the powerplay.
It seemed like it would be one of those games for the Canes, as little went right during the first 39 minutes. But Rod Brind'Amour tipped in a pass from Joni Pitkanen with just nine seconds left in the second period, to end Carolina's futility.
The third period was all Carolina as they dominated at both ends of the rink. The visitors had 20 official shots on goal, but it seemed like more. The Lightning could only muster two for the period and weren't able to get a single puck through to Leighton during a crucial powerplay with just two minutes left in the game.
Matt Cullen scored the second goal for the Canes on a rebound off of a Rod Brind'Amour shot. Joni Pitkanen earned the second assist.
Eric Staal tied the game at about the 10 minute mark in the third, and then teamed up with Whitney for the game-winner in the extra period.
Peter Laviolette mixed up the lines a bit, perhaps because of necessity. Patrick Eaves only played about 12 minutes and I'm not sure if he was injured or what happened. He was playing the PK with Staal earlier in the game. Ruutu was moved up with Staal and Whitney and fit in nicely. Matt Cullen seemed to be spending time on the same line with Brind'Amour and Samsonov.
The defensive pairings were also mixed and matched. Joni Pitkanen stood out and had two assists, seven shots on goal, and was very active all night while leading all blueliners with 26 minutes of ice time.
Ray Whitney had two assists and Brind'Amour had a goal and an assist while adding five shots on goal. Staal led the team with eight shots and of course had the all important goals. He earned first star honors.
The third period was one of the best road periods in a very, very long time for Carolina.
The team will take the day off tomorrow and mentally prepare for the World Champions, who will be flying in town after tonight's win in Ottawa. Fans will get another treat on Monday when the third jerseys make their debut.