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Ray Whitney Nets Game Winner in OT: Hurricanes 2, Rangers 1

It was not always the prettiest of games and once again the visitors were held to a season low 18 shots on goal in regulation, but the Carolina Hurricanes got some solid goaltending from Cam Ward and some clutch scoring when they needed it as they defeated the New York Rangers in overtime, 2-1. 

The Canes were out-shot in each and every period again this game and ended up being out-shot 28-19 for the game.  While the Hurricanes were stung a bit when they hit the post several times on New Year's Eve, this time the Rangers were victims of several shots which hit the post.  Cam Ward did a nice job though of making sure the rebounds did not bounce in off of him.

All in all, it was a very good game by the goalie as he looked confident and steady throughout.

The first period was a scoreless one, even though the Canes had a couple of powerplay opportunities which went to waste.  They looked a bit out of synch as they tried in vain to get decent opportunities set up.

The good news is that their penalty kill looked exceptional as they repeatedly killed Ranger powerplays later in the game, including a prolonged four minute stanza in the second period.

Tom Kostopoulos opened the scoring with just 46 seconds left in the second period as he cashed in on a Jiri Tlusty rebound.  Tlusty's shot never reached the net as it was blocked out front, but the puck found it's way to "TK" and he made no mistake as he beat New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

The Hurricanes only managed four shots on goal in the third period and sure enough, the Rangers eventually cashed in.  Cane-killer, Marian Gaborik backhanded a loose puck in front of the net past Ward, tying the score with about nine minutes left.

Both teams battled evenly the rest of the way and the score ended up tied, 1-1 in regulation.  

With about a minute left in overtime, Ray Whitney fed Matt Cullen behind the New York goal, then raced to the front of the net.  Cullen fed him perfectly and Whitney made a nice backhanded shot himself for the game winner.

The win was just the third road victory for the Hurricanes all season long, but it was their second road win in a row. 

Their next game will be against a hot Nashville team in Music City on Thursday night.

Game Notes:

  • The youngsters performed well in their much anticipated return to the lineup.  Jiri Tlusty played about seven minutes and Zach Boychuk played about 10.  Both created a couple of nice chances and Tlusty picked up an assist on the Kostopoulos goal.  
  • So much for home cooking on the stat report as the Canes were credited with 42 hits versus 33 for the Rangers.  Aaron Ward led all of his teammates with eight hits and was not on the ice when New York scored their only goal.  He might have played one of his better games this season.
  • Joni Pitkanen once again had 29 plus minutes of TOI.  He led the team with five blocked shots and chipped in with an assist on the game winner.  
  • Patrick Dwyer and Matt Cullen led the Canes with three shots on goal each.  The team finished with 19 which includes 18 in regulation and one in OT.
  • Marian Gaborik was tough to stop most of the night and came close as he hit two or three posts.  He is one of the most dangerous players in the NHL when he is healthy.
  • Cam Ward made 27 saves on 28 shots and was named the game's first star.