The Carolina Hurricanes dropped another road game Saturday night, this time to the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2, in overtime. The Canes have now extended their losing streak to six games and still have not won a game on the road yet this season. (0-4-2).
Penalties were once again a major factor as the team took nine minor penalties to Minnesota's five. The Hurricanes remain the number one penalized team in the NHL.
Cam Ward and Niklas Backstrom had a bit of a goaltender duel in the final period as Backstrom robbed Eric Staal on one play and Matt Cullen on another. Rod Brind`Amour also had an earlier breakaway attempt stopped by last year's Vezina candidate.
The Hurricanes scored the game's first goal mid way through the first period with some perfect tic-tac-toe passing by Joni Pitkanen, Ray Whitney, and Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov got credit for the powerplay goal. But the Wild would tie things up with another powerplay tally as Andrew Brunette squeezed a puck behind Cam Ward on a tight angled shot.
The Wild took the lead early in the second period as Kyle Brodziak broke past Samsonov and deked out Ward. But Joni Pitkanen would make yet another beautiful play as he stole the puck at his blueline and attacked with Ray Whitney at his side for a two on one advantage. Pitkanen got the pass back from "The Wizard", and tied up the game as he scored on his Finnish countryman, Backstrom.
The third period went back and forth as both teams had good chances to score but could not quite connect.. In OT, Cal Clutterbuck won a battle in front of the net and dove on the ice to knock a puck past Ward for the game winner.
The Canes' next game will be at home on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues.
After the game, coach Paul Maurice was not happy with the "slant" in officiating, but he did admit that Backstrom made a difference in the contest. He also liked Brandon Sutter's game.
To listen to the entire post game interview click Paul Maurice Wild Interview.
- Joni Pitkanen again played a very good game, but took two needless penalties. The second one looked like a questionable call but better discipline is needed.
- Ray Whitney looked good tonight and made several excellent passes. But he also took a hooking penalty.
- The Canes only won 37% of faceoffs.
- The visitors were only credited with eight hits for the game. Scott Walker had three.
- Aaron Ward had five blocked shots, but made several questionable decisions with the puck. This was not a good road trip for Ward.
- Carolina's nine penalties, (10 including Tim Conboy's fighting major), are far too many to take in a game. The team will not be able to turn around their misfortunes without better discipline. But the refs certainly are not doing the Canes any favors.