Crazy things usually seem to happen when the Carolina Hurricanes meet up with the Washington Capitals and Tuesday night was no different as the Canes battled some adversity while coming from behind to defeat the Caps, 3-2 in a shootout.
Once again, Carolina was not happy with the officiating. In the previous game between the teams, an apparent game-tying goal was taken off the board because of a quick whistle. On this night, Eric Staal was bloodied with a high stick which somehow wasn't seen and the visitors claimed that the home team had too many men on the ice for their second goal, but none the less, coach Paul Maurice coaxed his team into forgetting about the referees and to concentrate on the task at hand, to win the hockey game.
After a scoreless first period, much of which was controlled by the Caps, the Hurricanes lit the lamp first when Joe Corvo found Jussi Jokinen skating to the front of the net early in the second. It was a powerplay tally, the only one of the game for Carolina. The team ended up 1 of 4 for the night.
The Caps would strike back later in the period though as Alexander Semin broke down the Carolina defense and beat Cam Ward from in close.
Three minutes and change later, Marcus Johansson made a pretty move and beat Ward to give the home team the lead. Paul Maurice claimed after the game that the Caps had too many men on the ice for about 10 seconds before the goal.
Regardless, the coach emphasized to the team during the second intermission to keep their composure, and that's what they did.
And once again, the youngest player in the NHL tried to put his team on his back.
Jeff Skinner would tie the game 1:46 into the third period when he beat Semyon Varlamov with a high wrist shot that was apparently too tough to handle. The play was at the end of a long shift, but instead of dumping the puck and going off for a line change, the rookie skated the puck into the zone and put on a couple of moves before taking his shot.
It was the 27th goal of the season for the 18-year-old.
Both teams battled hard for the rest of the third period and during overtime. Although, Washington definitely had the better of the play in the extra period as they put five shots on goal while the Canes had none, but Cam Ward was equal to the challenge and looked very good as he ended up with 38 saves on 40 shots.
The goalie is now 9-1-1 when facing 40 shots or more in a game.
The home team deferred to the Canes in the shootout, which is a bit unusual. Jeff Skinner started things off by beating Varlamov five-hole with a quick shot and that turned out to be the winner. Ward stopped Ovechkin, and Jokinen couldn't get the job done at the other end.
Niklas Backstrom missed wide, then Tuomo Ruutu backhanded in the clincher to give the Hurricanes the much needed two points.
The win, coupled with the Buffalo loss in regulation in Toronto, pulls the Canes back to within three points of eighth place. It will be another big one tomorrow night when Montreal comes to town.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- The officiating in this league is absolutely bizarre at times and the Caps weren't happy with it either. Chad LaRose was awarded a penalty shot when it very well might have been just a penalty. But it's not the first time the Canes have missed out on a seemingly obvious four minutes of powerplay time when someone got bloodied with a high stick. It's hard to understand how they miss these things.
- LaRose missed his penalty shot chance, making him 1 of 3 in his NHL career.
- Erik Cole hit the post on one close chance and hit the crossbar with another. But he was still generating chances.
- Cam Ward looked strong throughout most of the contest. He added to his league leading save total and passed the season total of 2,000 for the first time in his career.
- Tuomo Ruutu was jacked for this game. He was credited with eight hits. (The team had 25.) Ovechkin tried to lay him out in retaliation after the Finn went after a falling Dennis Wideman, but the "Great Eight" bounced off him like he hit a brick wall. The Canes felt there should have been a penalty there as well, but perhaps since Ovechkin took the worst of it, the refs didn't want to add insult to injury with a penalty to boot.
- The Canes were outshot in every period and ended up at a 40 to 26 disadvantage. Several players led the way with three shots each. (McBain, Ruutu, Sutter, and Corvo)
Jamie McBain had a team high four blocked shots. The team had 16.
- Tim Gleason made a very nice play early in the game to save a goal and had what looked like another possible goal saving play in the second period. He was credited with three blocked shots.
- Skinner leads the team with four shootout goals, three of them game deciding. Next up is Jokinen with two.
- The Caps are now 27-0-3 when leading after two periods.
- The Hurricanes have new life. Now they need to break their streak of losing in the second game of back-to-backs. It should be interesting Wednesday night against Montreal.
post game interviews: