The Canes took advantage of a team which had just played a huge game the night before as they jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. But the Caps came on strong and forced the game into overtime as the home team held on to dear life in the third.
The Caps outshot the Canes 5-2 in the extra period, but Legace was rock solid down the stretch while his glove hand was lightning fast all night long.
The shootout went to five shooters for each team as Ray Whitney made a huge goal to keep the Canes alive and LaRose made a nice move to give Carolina their third win against the Caps this season.
Jamie McBain got things started for the Hurricanes as he rifled a shot in from the point on the powerplay just two minutes into the game. The rookie now has six points, (2G 4A) in six career NHL games. He was also a beast on defense as he chipped in with seven blocked shots on the night.
Later in the first period, Bryan Rodney made it 2-0 off of a nice pass by Jussi Jokinen. It was Rodney's first career NHL goal.
Alexander Semin got the Caps started very early in the second period with a shot that beat Legace five-hole. The Capitals picked up their pace from a somewhat sluggish first period and started to control play, but the Canes held onto a 2-1 lead going into the third.
About two minutes into the third period, John Carlson pinched in and knocked in his first career NHL goal. With the scored tied 2-2, the Caps smelled blood and looked to move in for the kill. But the Hurricanes defense helped out their goalie the best they could and regulation ended in a 2-2 tie.
After a scoreless overtime period in which both teams had grade A chances to win, the game went to a shootout where most thought that the Caps would have an advantage.
It sure started off that way as Nicklas Backstrom buried his shot, after Sergei Samsonov missed the first attempt for Carolina.
Manny Legace was asked for his thoughts at this point in the dressingroom after the game. "I thought, uh-oh, here we go. I knew I still had Ovechkin and Semin coming up."
But after Jussi Jokinen hit the post, he stopped Ovechkin.
Ray Whitney came up next and he needed to score or else the game would have been over. But the puck just barely got by Semyon Varlamov, who played a very good game in his own right. Semin came up next, but Legace stoned him as well as the Russian sniper looked skyward after being stopped.
Eric Staal tried next for Carolina, but was denied and Tomas Fleischmann was stopped as well for Washington.
Paul Maurice said that he and Ron Francis were arguing behind the bench as to who to send out next and Ray Whitney said, "send out Rosie". Out came LaRose, who made a beautiful move on Varlamov for the game winner.
Mike Green had the final try of the night but missed the net on his attempt.
The win gave the Hurricanes a 3-1-2 season record against the best team in hockey. They are now 4-4 in shootouts and have earned points in 19 of their last 24 games.
Next up will be Atlanta on Saturday night.
- The Canes had 35 blocked shots in this game compared to 13 for the Caps. McBain led everyone with seven while Brian Pothier was next with six.
- Joni Pitkanen had over 32 minutes of ice time, led the team with six shots on goal, and also chipped in with five blocked shots.
- Jamie McBain continues to impress and played almost 30 minutes. After the game, Maurice said that "McBain gets the puck to the net as well as I've seen anyone do it in a long, long time, and with his head up." Most Caniacs will agree.
- Washington had 43 shots on goal, missed the net 26 times, and had 35 shots blocked for an amazing total of 104 shot attempts. Carolina had 31 shots on goal, 10 misses, and 13 blocked for a total of 54.
- Jussi Jokinen had two assists which now gives him a total of 58 points, (27G-31A). That ties him for the team lead with Eric Staal who also has 58, (23G 35A).
Next up are a couple of interviews I taped in the dressing room after the game: