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Five Observations: Hurricanes At Devils

For the second straight game, the Carolina Hurricanes yielded a late-game goal to tie the game, but this time the Canes were unable to get the extra point in overtime, falling 3-2 to the Devils. Here are five observations from Tuesday's loss.

1. Anton Volchenkov's elbow to Zach Boychuk's head earned the Devils defenseman a three-game suspension, but the call on the ice didn't fit the crime. One could argue that Carolina — who went 2-for-3 with the man advantage — should have received five minutes of power play time and Volchenkov should have been charged a major penalty and an ejection. Given the success the Canes had on the power play Tuesday, it's not hard to imagine them scoring at least once more if given a full five minutes. It would be one thing if the officials had missed the call all together, but they clearly saw the elbow (that was the minor penalty called on the ice) and should have responded accordingly.

2. For the second time in four games, the Hurricanes did not allow their opponents a chance on the power play. That's remarkable considering that, as we mentioned in Five Observations one week ago, Carolina had not previously done it once since November 2008. The Canes took just five penalty minutes — accessed to Jay Harrison for his fight with David Clarkson (more on this in No. 3) — and clearly won the special teams battle. Unfortunately, that still wasn't enough to get two road points.

3. Harrison also took the only penalty minutes in the aforementioned game against the Bruins when he scrapped with Milan Lucic. That fight didn't seem to impact the game much, but Harrison's decision to fight Clarkson at the game's midway point Tuesday seemed to swing the momentum for Jersey. The Devils scored less than 90 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1. In Harrison's defense, he is a stand-up guy who understands that sometimes you have to give an opponent a chance to fight to help spark their team so that you will be afforded the same luxury in the future. But while New Jersey has little to play for, the Hurricanes are in a tense battle for a playoff spot. Sometimes it's OK to say no, even if it means losing a little respect from your foes.

4. Cam Ward was hung out to dry on Mattias Tedenby's first goal, but the next two were ones that the Carolina goalie would probably like to have stopped. On Nick Palmieri's goal, Ward was unable to wrangle Ilya Kovalchuk's shot, leading to the rebound goal. On the OT winner, Tedenby simply beat Ward from the slot with a good shot. But much like other nights, some of Ward's other saves make up for those two, particularly the stops he made at the end of regulation to preserve a point.

5. I mentioned on Twitter last night that Joe Corvo should be called "The Russian Eraser" for the performances he puts forth against Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin. Some responded with befuddlement, not aware of how Corvo often draws the toughest one-on-one assignments against the most creative player for the opposition. While Ovechkin has seven points in four games against Carolina this year (and Corvo was on the ice for six of them), he has just one goal this year against the Canes. Last season he had seven points in eight games, but no goals. Kovalchuk registered one assist last night, but that's his only point in two games vs. the Canes. He scored two goals and had seven points in five games against Carolina last season, but two of those assists came late in the season after Corvo was dealt to the Caps, and one of the goals was in a game when No. 77 was out injured. While Corvo isn't pitching shutouts against these two, he has a knack for keeping them from scoring goals.