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Tim Gleason Heroics Not Enough, Capitals 4, Hurricanes 3, OT

The Carolina Hurricanes battled to a regulation tie, but finally succumbed to the offensive onslaught of the Washington Capitals, dropping a game to their division rivals in overtime Friday night, 4-3.  The Canes were out-shot in each and every period as the Caps finished the game with a 40-19 advantage. 

The visitors managed to block a total of 28 shots and the Caps missed the net 17 times, meaning the home team put a total of 85 shots on the beleaguered team from Carolina.   The Canes made their shots and chances count as they missed the net five times and only had 13 shots blocked. 

Speaking of blocked shots, Tim Gleason got a stick on one of Alexander Ovechkin's wristers and took a puck to the face late in the first period.  It did not look like Gleason would return as he took 30 stitches and had to have a full face shield added to his helmet, but not only did he come back to the ice, he would tie the score on a shorthanded chance which at least gave the Hurricanes a much needed point for the night's efforts.

After the game, enough couldn't be said about Gleason's effort.  "He's unbelievable", said Brandon Sutter.  "He's one of those guys who always shows a lot of character and he's been doing that for us all year".

Paul Maurice said that it showed the leadership qualities of the defenseman.  "There are very few people who could do what he did and it just goes to show the leadership that he provides to the team."

The "Gleason for Captain" bandwagon just got bigger tonight.

The Canes started out well, even though they were out-shot in the opening period, 14-5.  Jiri Tlusty opened the scoring for the visitors as he received a perfect cross-ice pass from Brandon Sutter.  It was the first goal as a Hurricane for Tlusty on his very first shift for the team.

Sutter and Tlusty showed great speed on the play and beat the Capitals' defense down the ice.  But the flashy winger will need to bone up on defense, he was on the ice for two of the Caps' scores. 

The Canes got a bit lucky and scored again later in the first period when Eric Staal tried one of his patented wrap around attempts.  The puck initially bounced back to him but he shoved it right back at Jose Theodore's feet.  Somehow the puck got in and the period ended with the score 2-0, even though it seemed like the Caps were controlling play for the most part.

The Caps would tie things up in the second on the back of Alexander Semin, who scored twice.  Semin scored his second goal with just a fraction of a second left in the period, giving his team an emotional lift and sending the Canes to the locker room feeling like they were snake-bitten.

Tomas Fleischmann put the home team ahead just inside of three minutes into the third period on a nice backdoor play set up by Mathieu Perreault

But during a penalty kill, Tim Gleason stole the puck from Mike Green, skated in the offensive zone, and blasted a slap shot by Theodore.  Gleason won't be asked to perform in a shootout anytime soon, but it was a perfect shot and gutsy effort by the injured defenseman. 

The Caps would end the game quickly in OT as Mike Green atoned for his earlier gaffe by scoring just 1:16 into the extra frame. 

The point gives the Hurricanes three points so far in this brutal road stretch as they now travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators Saturday night. 

Game notes:

  • Carolina was credited with 19 hits led by Andrew Alberts with five and Tuomo Ruutu with four.
  • Brett Carson had an amazing eight blocked shots.  Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen had four each.
  • The Canes had 19 shots on goal, led by Staal's four.  The Caps had 40 shots led by Semin and Ovechkin with seven and six respectively.
  • Tlusty and Sutter look like they will be a good combination for the future.  As mentioned previously, they both have excellent speed and seem to have chemistry.
  • Cam Ward played a very good game, but was not perfect.  Needless to say he was kept busy all night long.
  • One can not say enough about Tim Gleason's effort.  He got a point for the team and earned the respect of everyone with his gutsy performance.

Here is an interview I recorded of Jiri Tlusty speaking to the press after the loss: