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Erik Cole Magic Not Enough This Time: Thrashers 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT)

The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind 2-0 in the first period, fought back to tie the score with goals in the second and third periods, but ended up losing to the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2 in overtime in front of 16,126 on Wednesday night at the RBC.

While the Hurricanes outshot the Thrashers in the opening period 10-8, they seemed a bit flat and put little pressure on Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec.  They also only had seven hits for the period, which is below their average. 

Atlanta took full advantage of a couple of nice opportunities, once when Rob Schremp scored on an open shot during a powerplay just 3:22 into the game, and next when Tobias Enstrom slipped in behind the front of the defense for an open shot in the slot.

The second period started out a bit slow, but the Canes picked up steam midway through the period.  The fourth line was finally rewarded for their hard work as Troy Bodie lit the lamp on a rebound attempt, beating Pavelec high glove side.  

The Canes were buzzing, but could not beat the hot Atlanta goalie the rest of the period.

The third period was all Carolina as they kept almost constant pressure on in the Atlanta zone.  Paul Maurice changed up the lines here, exchanging Cole with Tuomo Ruutu.  But old linemates Cory Stillman and Cole would strike during a partial line change. 

Stillman made a picture perfect play, first by taking the puck away from a Thrasher, then by making an amazing pass to the streaking Cole, who broke free at the blueline.

Cole slipped it past Pavelec with a nifty move to tie the score and it seemed like the Hurricanes had the visitors right where they wanted them.  Still, Atlanta held on until the extra period, where it was their turn to control play.  They had zone possession advantage throughout the extra stanza, as well as a 6-1 shot advantage.

The Canes had a nice 3-on-1 break, which did not pan out.  The Thrashers countered with a 2-on-1, and scored when Tim Stapleton banged it in on a pass by Ron Hainsey

The win keeps the Thrashers' fragile playoff hopes alive. 

The OT loss ties the Hurricanes with Buffalo, but the Sabres have one more win as well as a game in hand.  They keep possession of eighth place for now.  

The Canes will have a limited practice tomorrow before leaving for the Nation's Capital for a match against the Caps on Friday night.  

Quick Thoughts and Stats:

  • The Canes are now 2-21-5 when behind after two periods of play
  • Pavelec must have nightmares of seeing Erik Cole bearing down on him because Cole has owned the goalie.  The winger has three game-winners against the Thrashers and scored another huge goal tonight.   
  • After a slow start, the Canes finished off with a decent 27 hits.  Tim Gleason led the way with five.  Chad LaRose and Cole had four each.
  • The Hurricanes totally dominated the Thrashers in the third period and lived with the puck in the Atlanta zone.  They outshot the visitors 13-4, and had a couple of grade A chances.  Pavelec came up big and was named the game's first star.
  • The home team had a total of 37 shots.  Eric Staal led the way with five. 
  • Atlanta blocked 23 shots and the Canes missed the net 23 times, for another 46 shots that didn't make it to the net.  On the otherhand, the Canes had 11 blocked shots and the Thrash missed the net only 11 times.  So counting the misses and blocks, the Canes had 83 shots to 51 for Atlanta.
  • Bodie's goal was his first as a Hurricane and the first for him in almost a year.  (3/21/10)  Bryan Allen picked up an assist on the play, his first point as a Hurricane and his 100th career NHL point.
  • Joe Corvo had a team high 26:19 of ice time.  Joni Pitkanen was next with 23:08.
  • The powerplay was 0-3 on the night and for the most part did not look good.  Once again, one conversion with the man advantage would have been the difference in the game.

post game interviews: