For the second night in a row, the Carolina Hurricanes battled to another 1-1 tie in regulation, withstood another scoreless overtime, but this time won in the shootout as they defeated the St. Louis Blues, 2-1.
Jussi Jokinen was the hero as he made a nice move and backhanded the puck over Jaroslav Halak for the game winner. The Finn was the last of the scheduled six shooters to take his shot.
Cam Ward was outstanding in this game as he made several tremendous saves, especially in the third period as his team was dominated. The Blues outshot their guests 18-4 in the third as Carolina obviously ran out of gas. Not only was it the second game in as many nights for the blueline, but Jay Harrison left the game after an ill-advised fight in the opening period and the Canes shuffled five tired defensemen most of the game.
After a scoreless back and forth first two periods, Brandon Sutter scored the game's first goal early in the third on a nice move as he broke in alone on Halak. It was a short-lived lead though as the Blues came right back three minutes and change later to tie things up with a powerplay tally by Alex Pietrangelo.
The Hurricanes were a man down because Eric Staal got frustrated and took an undisciplined tripping call as his stick got tangled up in David Backes' legs. Staal was upset and seemed to allow his emotions to get the best of him at that point in time. It was the first powerplay goal the team had allowed in five games.
The team had killed off a prolonged 5-on-3 by the Blues late in the second as the defense came up big and Ward stood tall. At one key sequence leading up to the two man advantage, the puck hit the pipes and Joe Corvo was able to clear it as the puck skittered across the crease area behind the goalie.
One of the highlight saves by the Carolina netminder was when he exploded from side to side to rob Backes of an open attempt during the third. Ward was literally under rapid fire as the Blues smelled blood in the Carolina zone. But even though the goalie was, at one time even hit in the mask, (knocking off his clip), he was still solid in keeping the score tied.
The Blues kept on the pressure during the extra period, but the Canes held on, forcing the contest to the deciding shootout.
Ward also shined in the skills competition as he stoned Matt D`Agostini, Brad Boyes, and Alexander Steen.
Brandon Sutter started the Canes off and just missed slipping the puck under Halak. Jeff Skinner was stopped next, before Jokinen finished things with his nifty move.
The team will now travel back home for a couple of days before returning to the road for another back-to-back set, this time against Florida and Atlanta on Wednesday and Thursday.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- The Canes finished at 47% in the faceoff circle, still improving upon their 41% season average. Staal was at 52%, as he competed for the second consecutive game at over 50%.
- There were a couple of mysterious missed calls near the end as Joni Pitkanen was hit in the face with an obvious high stick from Backes at the end of regulation and Jeff Skinner was hooked down after he broke into the clear during the extra period. There were a total of five calls against Carolina and only two against a very physical St. Louis team.
- Ward made 38 saves on 39 shots. (not counting the shootout). It looked like he might have pulled a muscle and he was banged into a couple of times, but he sounded fine in the post game interview.
- The powerplay showed signs of improvement as the team moved the puck around better and generated a couple of shots on goal, but they failed to score. The team is now 0-20 in their last five games with the man advantage.
- The club had 29 shots on goal led by Ian White and Staal with four each. Staal had a breakaway chance in the third, but Halak stopped him with a pad save.
- After having a plus 30 hit night in Dallas, the Canes were credited with 19 in this game. Tim Gleason had a team high six while Pitkanen had five. Pitkanen also had a game high 29:22 of ice time.
Ryan Carter finished with a team high three blocked shots. The fourth line continues to shine. Sergei Samsonov was moved and played well with Carter and Troy Bodie. Jiri Tlusty's two game scoring streak came to an end, but not for lack of effort as he was matched up with Chad LaRose and Patrick Dwyer.
- Jay Harrison accepted a challenge from B.J. Crombeen and dropped the gloves with the tough guy late in the opening period. But the Canes were carrying the play at the time and the fight seemed to wake up the Blues. Harrison was hurt during the melee and did not return to the game after taking a few tough shots to the face.
- This was a hard fought game and the Canes laid it all on the line. It's amazing the difference in feelings after winning a shootout versus losing one. It's usually a very fine line between one or the other.