Chad LaRose kick-started the Hurricanes last night with the team's first short-handed goal of the season and led them to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only did the feisty forward score the crucial first goal, he also led the team with three hits and was a spark plug all night long.
After an active, but unproductive first period where the Canes fell behind 1-0, the home team responded with two second period goals. At about the 5 minute mark, LaRose scored his shortie right in front of the net off of a nice feed by Matt Cullen. Then with just a minute and a half left in the period, Cullen scored one of his own on a wrap around attempt. Both goals were the 11th of the season for the respective players.
The Lightning made things very interesting though, just 5 minutes into the third when Mark Recchi found Ryan Malone literally crashing the net. Malone knocked both the puck and Cam Ward into the goal. Recchi originally got the puck because of a turn-over by Ray Whitney.
The ex-Hurricane had a nice game for Tampa as he also scored the game's first goal off of a turnover by Anton Babchuk in the opening period.
The teams went back and forth in that final period until Eric Staal knocked in a rebound off of a Sergei Samsonov shot with just a minute and change left. Staal called it a garbage goal, but it held up as the game-winner.
- The game was a bit chippy as Steve Downie was busy being Steve Downie. He hit a few people after the whistle and was a general nuisance throughout.
- Brandon Sutter knocked one of the visitors into the bench area when their door was open and drew the wrath of the Bolts. Downie and Bayda ended up drawing penalties after the scrum.
- Evgeny Artyukhin was a horse and was knocking bodies around all night long, although Ryan Malone officially led both teams with 5 hits.
- After the opening period, coach Maurice changed the lines up again. He moved Ruutu to the top line with Staal and Samsonov, and Williams was moved to the Cullen and Whitney line.
- Patrick Eaves had a good game and had a couple of decent scoring opportunities. It looked like he might score a shortie before LaRose did on a previous penalty kill.
- Speaking of short-handed goals, up until last night the Canes were the only team in the NHL who hadn't scored a shortie. The monkey is officially off their backs.
- Matt Cullen took a nasty hit late in the game and did not return. In the dressingroom afterwards though, he said he felt all right.
- Tim Gleason led the team with 4 blocked shots. Anton Babchuk had 3.
- Cam Ward had a very solid game and made a couple of highlight reel saves. He earned his 100th NHL career victory with the win.
- Once again, Joni Pitkanen led the team with over 26 minutes of TOI. He made a very nice play keeping the puck in the zone and got the assist on Cullen's goal.
Attached is a video I took of the LaRose interview after the game.