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Chad LaRose Lights Up Ottawa: Hurricanes 4, Senators 3

Chad LaRose scored two goals and led the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in front of 16,189 at the RBC. 

That gave LaRose a total of 15 goals for the season, just four short of his career best back in 2008-09.

The Hurricanes fell behind 2-0 in the first period on goals by Colin Greening and Marek Svatos and the home crowd got a bit nervous, but Tuomo Ruutu would tip in a Jussi Jokinen shot just 27 seconds after the Svatos goal to get the Canes on the board and then LaRose would beat Curtis McElhinney just 25 seconds after that to tie things up.

Jeff Skinner picked up the secondary assist on Ruutu's goal and did a nice job of keeping the puck in his zone before getting it to Jokinen.  Joni Pitkanen got the puck to LaRose for the lone assist on Carolina's second goal.

The home team had another slow start and only managed three shots on goal in the first 13 minutes of the game.  At the end of the first period, Ottawa had an 11-7 shot advantage and finished up with 39 shots on goal for the game compared to 24 for the Canes.

Paul Maurice was asked about what the feeling was on the bench when the team fell behind by two goals.

"It was early," said the coach. "We knew we hadn't been great but when we scored that first goal, I think that was the jump we needed."

Normally a very disciplined team, the Hurricanes were called for four penalties in the first two periods of this game.  But they were able to kill all of them, including a short 4-on-3 advantage for Ottawa to start the second period. 

On the other side of the coin, the Canes could not score with the man advantage and finished 0-for-3.  That gives them an unbelievable 4 goals scored in their last 77 powerplays. 

With the score tied 2-2, LaRose would score his second goal midway through the second period when he placed a perfect wrist shot in the upper corner of the net over McElhinney again. 

The score would stay 3-2 until the first line of Erik Cole, Cory Stillman, and Eric Staal combined for a goal 6:04 into the third period.  Cole got the puck to Stillman who quickly passed to Staal, who was in excellent scoring position approaching the side of the net.  But instead of shooting, Staal passed it back to Stillman and the winger tipped the puck into the open net for an easy score. 

That was a pretty one.  

The Sens looked like they ran out of gas for a bit, but did not give up.  The Canes had a couple more prime chances, once when Staal was open for a breakaway, but they did not capitalize.  Ottawa would seize the momentum and created a great chance with about five minutes left in the game when Erik Karlsson scored at the doorstep to make it 4-3. 

Both teams tried for more, but neither could light the lamp again on this night and the Canes were happy to skate to the dressing room with a much needed two points.

Just a bit later, Buffalo defeated Montreal to remain three points ahead.

Staal left the game a bit early.  Maurice said that it was just precautionary and he would play in Tampa on Friday night.

LaRose jumped into the glass in celebration of his second goal, but fell down, which touched off a couple of funny comments in the post game interviews from Cole and Maurice.

Quick thoughts and stats:

  • Cam Ward had another solid game with 36 saves on 39 shots. 
  • Tuomo Ruutu led Carolina with five shots on goal.  He also chipped in with two hits. 
  • It was not the most physical game in the world as the Canes were credited with a total of 19 hits led by Erik Cole with five.
  • The team only won 41% of faceoffs.  Jokinen had 50%, Sutter 45%, Ruutu 33%, and Staal 35%.
  • Derek Joslin had a team high five blocked shots.  In all, the team had 20.  Another interesting tidbit about Joslin?  He has yet to have a negative game since he's played in Carolina and he finished at +1 again last night.  That makes eight games in a row without a negative game and a total of +7 so far while with the Canes.  
  • The Hurricanes are now 23-1-0 when leading after the second period.  They are also 28-3-4 when scoring three goals or more.
  • The Carolina powerplay has now dropped to 15.3% for the season, tied with New Jersey for 26th in the league.
  • This is just the second time since January that the team has put together two wins in a row.  Their longest winning streak of the season is four, which included two shootout wins.  That was back in mid-December and was followed up by a three game losing streak.   


Post game interviews: