The Carolina Hurricanes had numerous chances on the powerplay including a full two minute 5-on-3 advantage, but failed to capitalize while falling to the New York Rangers, 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night. Not only did the Canes end up 0-8 while playing with the advantage, they also allowed a short-handed goal when Rod Brind'Amour lost the puck at the blueline, giving the blueshirts an oddman rush coming back the other way.
The Rangers opened the scoring on a powerplay goal by Markus Naslund, but Tuomo Ruutu tied it up just seconds later as he put back a Tim Gleason shot. Eric Staal created the play when he stole the puck behind the net and skated it out to Gleason, who fired it right back at the net.
The Rangers went back into the lead later in the first period on the ill-fated shortie.
In the second period, the Canes came out with a bit more jump and out-shot the Rangers. Scott Walker, (who was moved to the Brind'Amour/Whitney line for this game) hit Ray Whitney with a perfect pass and Whitney made no mistake as his quick release fooled New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
The score remained tied until the end of regulation. In the overtime period the Canes put six shots on goal, but could not get anything past Lundqvist.
Next came the shootout, something the Hurricanes have not exactly excelled at for the past couple of years. Matt Cullen, Sergei Samsonov, Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and Justin Williams all came up short for Carolina. Chris Drury made a very nice move and back-handed the puck past Cam Ward at the beginning of the fifth round for the game-winner.
The Hurricanes picked up another tough point on the road, but when the Panthers and Capitals are taking two points at a time, consolation points for losing do not seem to mean much.
Cam Ward looked good on his return. He made a few tough saves and it's hard to fault him for the ones that got past him. Stopping four of five shots on the shootout is an improvement.
Scott Walker's minutes doubled as he was moved up to the Brind'Amour line. The line looked very good at times in the game.
Chad LaRose and Wade Brookbank were healthy scratched for the contest because Maurice wanted to play seven defensemen. The strategy to play an extra blueliner was probably justified because both Seidenberg and Gleason were returning from injuries, but why LaRose? If you compare number 59's numbers with Eaves' and Bayda's, LaRose comes out on top.
- LaRose - 29GP 7G 2A 9P -1
- Eaves - 24GP 0G 5A 5P +4
- Bayda - 30GP 3G 6A 9P +5
If the coaching staff wants to argue that the best plus/minus gets to play, not the highest goal scoring, then why is Brind'Amour leading the forwards with ice time? He has a league worst -21 and has had the worst stat on the team for several weeks. Playing the best plus/minus in this case would be an inconsistent argument.
Brind'Amour got the most time on the powerplay and he was also on the ice for almost the entire 5-on-3. Once again he led all forwards with ice time, 24:09 for this game.
Speaking of TOI, Tim Conboy and Bryan Rodney got about 5 minutes each while Brett Carson played about 10 minutes. The Canes are getting their money's worth out of Joni Pitkanen as he broke the 30 minute mark again with 31:14 of TOI while Joe Corvo got 31:25.
Previously injured Tim Gleason and Dennis Seidenberg looked no worse for wear.
Even though the Rangers played a very tough contest the previous night against division rival New Jersey, they out-hit the Hurricanes 39-27 and their hits were much more devastating. During a brief clip on FS Carolinas which was supposed to highlight the physicality of the contest, every single hit shown was one by the Rangers.
Dennis Seidenberg led the team with three blocked shots.
Next up for the Hurricanes will be the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. The Habs lost to Washington on home ice tonight, 2-1.