Joni Pitkanen had three assists, Cam Ward made 38 saves, and Patrick Dwyer scored the game-winner as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2 on Tuesday night at the ACC. The Leafs had 40 shots on goal compared to 18 for the Canes, but Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward was the difference as he stoned the home team when it mattered most.
The win made three in a row for the last place team as now the Hurricanes have also won four out of their last five.
Eric Staal started off the scoring on a sweet move during a powerplay chance midway through the first period. Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen picked up the assists.
Lee Stempniak would tie things up for the Leafs six minutes later.
Just 51 seconds into the second, Nikolai Kulemin made a tremendous individual move as he beat both Wards to give the Leafs the lead. First he skated around Aaron Ward, then beat Cam Ward from his knees, while making the score 2-1.
Six minutes later, Brandon Sutter knocked in a rebound to tie the score off of a Pitkanen shot.
Toronto controlled play most of the third period and out-shot the Canes 15-5, but could not solve Ward.
Finally, at about the 15 minute mark, Jiri Tlusty skated the puck around the net and passed out to Joni Pitkanen who once again shot the puck toward the net. Pat Dwyer, captain of the Albany River Rats, tipped in the eventual game winner.
Ray Whitney took an ill-advised hooking call with about three minutes left, but the Canes killed the penalty and Whitney atoned for his mistake by firing the puck in an empty net to close things out.
The Hurricanes will take on an angry Detroit team next on Thursday night. (The Wings just lost on the Island, 6-0).
- Joni Pitkanen played over 30 minutes, tied a career high with his three assists, and was met with gushing praise by the Toronto broadcast team. According to Yahoo Sports.com, he was awarded the first star of the game.
- Aaron Ward had four blocked shots, two hits, three giveaways, and an assist. Yahoo gave him third star. While the defenseman had a good game, did Yahoo mix up their Wards? There was no "star love" for the goalie? (Lee Stempniak earned second star.)
- Brandon Sutter led the team with four shots on goal. His goal, his 11th of the season, ties him for second place on the team.
- Ray Whitney was the only Cane who was able to continue a streak. He has points in three straight games. Eric Staal now has goals in two straight.