Tuesday, Nov 1, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT
:30 1st: An early chance for a new-look line of Ponikarovsky, Sutter and Dwyer, and Dwayne Roloson looks a little shaky. Both of those things are good news for the Canes.
2:10 1st: It looks like the game plan when the Lightning have the puck in the Canes' zone is for the home team to simply run the puck around on the boards and clear the zone. Except for those chances early, including a great tip chance by Eric Staal at the top of the crease that Roloson made a tricky save on, the Lightning have dominated zone time but they've been largely confined to the perimeter of the zone.
5:35 1st: The Staal line with another good chance thanks to some atrocious defense by the Lightning. If you can explain to Guy Boucher where his defense was, I'm sure he'd appreciate it. Anyway, Jiri Tlusty somehow got in alone on Roloson from ten feet out, and some quick legwork by the Lightning goaltender kept the puck out of the net.
7:30 1st: Heck of a play by Jay Harrison to break up a sure goal, with Ryan Shannon crashing the net untouched on a two-on-one. Harrison hustled back and got just enough of the puck to knock it away from Shannon and avert disaster.
15:14 1st: Lightning on the board first, lead 1-0; Purcell 4 (Bergeron, Malone) Just as a Ryan Shannon penalty for holding expired, Teddy Purcell - who is quickly becoming a Canes killer, for some reason - one-timed a shot home off a rebound of a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot. Despite the Lightning being outshot 12-5, they hold the lead, thanks to a bad bounce.
18:21 1st: Canes tie it at 1; LaRose 2 (Harrison, Ponikarovsky) (pp) A bit of luck finally goes the Canes' way, as Chad LaRose is in the right place at the right time. Jay Harrison's 40-foot slapper was mostly stopped by Roloson, but enough trickled through and it probably would have gone into the net on its own, but LaRose didn't leave it to chance by pool-cueing it in from the right side of the crease to tie it with three seconds remaining on the Canes' second power play of the period.
End 1st: The Canes were, to borrow a term from days gone by, relentless in that period, piling 19 shots on Roloson and very much deserving the goal they got. Of course, we saw a big first period in the home opener too, and we know how that turned out.
:22 2nd: Canes go up 2-1 on the first shift of the period; Skinner 5 (Pitkanen) Safe to say the 2nd-period doldrums that plagued the Canes the last time these two teams met didn't show up early in the second this time around. Jeff Skinner made about four moves in undressing Victor Hedman and finishing with a one-handed shot while Hedman had reached out for Skinner's right arm in desperation. Skinner possessed the puck from the blue line almost all the way to the bottom of the circle and earned every bit of that goal.
7:00 2nd: A bit of bad luck with a pair of penalties simultaneously gives the Lightning a 5-on-3 for a full 2:00. They had a bunch of chances, recording three shots, but the Canes didn't break and the cheer that erupted when Tim Brent backhanded the puck down the ice to kill the final seconds was half elation and half relief. The Canes dodged a huge bullet, especially since the Lightning were playing with five forwards on the ice, including Steven Stamkos manning the left point.
10:38 2nd: Canes now up 3-1; Skinner 6 (Jokinen) And an uncredited assist to whoever made Mattias Ohlund's stick, because it broke on a slapper ten seconds before the goal and the blade nearly flew up and over the netting behind Cam Ward. Without his stick, Ohlund was defenseless to guard Skinner, who executed a perfect give-and-go with Jussi Jokinen and finished with a tap-in at the side of the net.
16:45 2nd: Luck has been on the Canes' side tonight, for sure. First there was the dribbler that squeaked through Roloson and was shoveled home by LaRose, then Vinny Lecavalier's 20-foot slapper trickled under Ward's glove, though he got a piece, and what should have been a goal instead clanged harmlessly off the far post. Ward scrambled back to cover and make the save, keeping it a two-goal game.
End 2nd: The Lightning actually led in shots that period, 10-8, although that was helped by the three shots they took on the two-man advantage. Another solid period for the home club, and don't look now but a certain rather popular teenager is hat-trick eligible after tallying both goals in the second.
:45 3rd: Something to keep an eye on: Martin St. Louis took out Jussi Jokinen off a face-off and Jokinen limped to the locker room after staying down on the ice for about seven seconds. Hopefully it isn't bad, but he was in some serious pain heading off the ice.
5:45 3rd: Great play by Nate Thompson to break up a Zach Boychuk breakaway. Thompson got the puck before he took Boychuk's legs out from under him, preventing what would likely have been called a penalty shot.
10:15 3rd: It doesn't look like the Ruutu-Skinner combination has missed a beat with Brent now on the line in place of Jokinen, who will not return with a lower-body injury. Ruutu came within a couple of inches of making it 4-1 with a tip chance that just missed the far post to Roloson's left.
14:16 3rd: Lightning still in it, down 3-2; Connolly 1 (St. Louis, Lecavalier) Just what the Canes didn't want to see: the Lightning cut the lead in half off a broken play. A clearing attempt hit the skate of Joni Pitkanen and bounced around in the zone for a couple of seconds, then Brett Connolly backhanded the puck under Cam Ward's stick, on one the Canes' goaltender would like to have back.
15:10 3rd: Canes back up by two; LaRose 3 (Tlusty) And less than a minute later, LaRose pots his second of the night off a 2-on-1 feed from Jiri Tlusty. It looked like Roloson got a piece of it, but LaRose beat him fairly cleanly through the five-hole to give the Canes their two-goal lead back.