Kyle Turris set up Mark Stone for the game-winning goal with just 14 seconds left in overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 win over Carolina and a much-needed two points in their late-season attempt to reach the postseason.
1. It wasn't a packed PNC Arena, but it wasn't an empty one either. And the fans that were there were loud and appreciative of what was clearly the best game played in Raleigh this season. Yes, Carolina came away with just one point, but the intensity of both teams, the crowd, and the way it all ended gave PNC a playoff-like atmosphere for the first time in a long time. Home fans love a five-goal rout, but nothing gets a crowd standing and roaring quite like a a hard-fought, tight game.
2. What comes close, though? Bad officiating. And both teams saw plenty of it Tuesday in Raleigh. From the play that injured John-Michael Liles (a full-body trip if you've ever seen one) from missed stick infractions and dives, the NHL’s striped law enforcers were brutal throughout. It was too bad, because the game was otherwise as close to perfect as you'll find. I'm sure both Mark Joannette and Greg Kimmerly will get a blow-by-blow assesment of, well, their blown calls from director of officiating Stephen Walkom.
3. Poor Jeff Daniels. With Liles going down to injury, the Hurricanes were down to five defenseman for the second straight game. And now Daniels, the Charlotte Checkers head coach, will be without the last of his veteran blueliners with the presumed promotion of Danny Biega to fill Liles’ spot on the roster. It’s a great opportunity for Biega — a strong, sturdy blueliner who paid his dues with four years at Harvard and two more in Charlotte — but again illustrates Carolina’s need to get deeper on defense. With Rasmus Rissanen likely done for the season, Biega has a chance to make an impression on the Carolina staff.
Number To Know
10 — Games without a goal for Jordan Staal, who has been snakebit of late despite an array high quality chances. Staal was denied Tuesday on a Grade-A opportunity, and has rang the post, been unceremoniously stuffed by goaltender after goaltender, or just barely missed the back of the net repeatedly recently. While he has just four goals in 33 games this season, his career-low 6.2 percent shooting percentage tells you all you need. That's actually good news: there's no way the 26-year-old will continue to have this much trouble finding the back of the net next season.
Anton Khudobin — In the seesaw that has been Carolina’s No. 1 goaltending battle, Khudobin has again vaulted himself even with Cam Ward. Khudobin was nothing short of spectacular, matching Senators wunderkind Andrew Hammond save for save until Turris’ beautiful move and pass ended it. After an 0-8-2 start to the season, Khudobin has gone 8-5-2 since and has been a rock in the Hurricanes’ past two games.
Ryan Murphy — Murphy is still working his way back into shape, but when you undressed like he did by Turris, there's no hiding. Also consider that the entire Carolina roster — Murphy included — played a solid 64-plus minutes, and it's tough to pick anyone other than the player who was victimized on the game’s pivotal play.