The Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 lead, allowed two goals in the second period just 49 seconds apart, and then held on to beat last year's Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2 Monday night at Mellon Arena. The win was the first road victory, (1-10-3), for the Hurricanes in 14 tries this season.
Andrew Alberts scored his first goal as a Cane as he opened things up with a goal just 4:45 into the contest. The defenseman out-waited Marc-Andre Fleury and zipped a backhander by the unsuspecting goalie as he skated down low. Erik Cole had cleared the crease and was banging bodies in front of the net.
About seven minutes later, Joni Pitkanen found friend, Jussi Jokinen skating through the neutral zone with a head of steam up the middle of the ice. The tandem had combined for previous scores like this, but this time Jokinen used his strength to out-muscle the defense for the puck, then lifted a shot over Fleury to make the score 2-0.
It was the second powerplay goal for the Canes in the past two games. They finished the game 1-5 with the man advantage.
The second period started out well as Ray Whitney found an open spot and made the score 3-0, just two minutes and change into it. But the Pens would gather steam and scored two goals in just 49 seconds, the 13th time the Canes have allowed two goals inside of a minute this season.
Sidney Crosby out-muscled Brandon Sutter in front of the net for the first goal and Michael Rupp got a cheap one by Manny Legace to make the score 3-2. While Legace might want to have one or both of those goals back, the goalie played a solid overall game and finished with 30 saves out of 32 shots. The goalie earned his fourth win of the season. He is doing something right.
The third period went back and forth but each team only had an official six shots on goal as defense dominated for both sides. Credit must be given to the shot-blocking as the Canes blocked 17 shots to just 4 for Pittsburgh.
- Joni Pitkanen led both teams with over 30 minutes of ice time. The defenseman chipped in with two assists and had three blocked shots, tied for most on the Canes.
- Stephane Yelle and Brett Carson also had three blocked shots each. Carson and Jay Harrison played solid games in their own ends. Harrison also showed good jump on offense and Carson played well on the powerplay.
- The team only had a total of 21 shots on goal as Ray Whitney had four and Eric Staal had three. The Canes were out-shot 15-4 in the second period as the Pens gained a lot of momentum.
- Carolina was given credit for 27 hits. Tim Gleason led the way with five.
- Eric Staal picked up another two assists tonight.
- Gleason dropped the gloves with Bill Guerin and might have had the best of it before Guerin took him down and was still punching away as Gleason lay on his back.
- Legace is now 4-0 lifetime against the Penguins. It might be worth keeping him for the stat alone.
It was a hard fought win for the last place team in the league and they know they have a long way to go before they can move up. But the Hurricanes now have two wins in a row and they are feeling a bit better about themselves.
The team played very hard in their own zone, perhaps the hardest they played all season. Did that have anything to do with their captain sitting in the pressbox with a league worst -19?
Next up will be New Jersey with Martin Brodeur in net at "The Rock". Brodeur just tied Terry Sawchuk tonight with 103 career shutouts.
Will Cam Ward return as planned?