The Carolina Hurricanes dropped another holiday season home game, this time to the Washington Capitals as the visitors defeated the Canes, 3-2 at the RBC on Sunday night.
The game was very similar to the team's last game on December 23 against Montreal as they were called for a costly five minute major because of a big hit along the boards. This time it was Tim Gleason with the hit, but he was called for charging instead of boarding and not only was he given the major, he was given a game misconduct and was thrown out of the contest.
The loss of Gleason made it tough on the remaining five defensemen, who looked a bit out of gas during parts of the third period.
Gleason laid a viscous hit on Mathieu Perreault, but most of the damage seemed to be done to the player as his own stick came up and hit him in the face. There was chatter in the media area whether it should have even been called a penalty, but the Canes had to live with it. They did press on though and to their credit, they killed off the ensuing powerplay.
Matt Hendricks came in and tried to jump Gleason after the play and was just given a roughing call. At the very least, the defenseman got in a few good licks before exiting the rink.
The Canes played well for spurts during this game, but had trouble solving Washington goalie, Semyon Varlamov. Even though the home team was outshooting the visitors in the opening period 16-8, they skated to the dressing room down 1-0, because of a goal by Perreault.
After killing the penalty at the start of the second period, Jussi Jokinen tied things up with a blast at the 7:32 mark. But David Steckel beat Cam Ward as the puck slid off Alex Ovechkin's stick right to him, and Ovechkin would add a goal himself before the end of the second after a Joe Corvo blocked shot bounced right at his feet.
Carolina made a game of it early in the third as Tuomo Ruutu deflected in a Jay Harrison shot, but the home team could not knock in another one to tie it. (It was Ruutu's 100th career NHL goal.)
The game was another exciting one as the team skated hard. Eric Staal started off flying and hit the post on one nice try early in the first. Sergei Samsonov created several chances after being moved up to the Staal line and he hit the post on a beautiful move in the third, but it was not meant to be for the Canes.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- Once again, the powerplay let the team down. They had two chances with the man advantage in the third period, but could not capitalize. They finished the night 0-4.
- The Canes outshot the Caps 35-30. Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen were tied with a team high four shots each.
- Pitkanen ended up playing a season high 33:20 and was on the ice for more than half the game. That's the affect of having Gleason out.
- Carolina won 51% of the game's faceoffs. Staal was low man at 38% but Jeff Skinner did well and finished with 57%, (4 of 7).
- The team had 14 takeaways led by Erik Cole with three.
- Jay Harrison had three blocked shots, also a team high.
- Tonight's loss made three in a row for the Canes. The next three games will be against teams lower than them in the standings. It will be crucial to win those in order to keep from slipping.