Tracking the Storm: Analysis
- Hockey can be a game of inches, and the Carolina Hurricanes witnessed that firsthand tonight, as Mike Ribeiro snuck the game-winning goal over the goal line by no more than an inch. That completed the comeback for Washington who, after coming into the second period down 2-0, scored three unanswered goals to claim a 3-2 victory. “We didn’t get the job done. We had the lead,” Eric Staal said. “We want to make sure we finish it off.”
- Head coach Kirk Muller often preaches about having the killer instinct, and though he didn’t directly reference it in his postgame comments tonight, that’s exactly what was missing from the ice in the second period, as the Capitals sucked the Hurricanes’ first-period energy away. “We let them back in it. In the second period, we got away from it. We had long shifts, turnovers and we stopped shooting the puck,” Muller said. “These are things we’ve got to learn from. When you get a chance to bury a team, you’ve got to keep in the program and go for that third goal.”
- As it has been of late, the first period was stellar for the Hurricanes, who scored just 1:14 into the game on Alexander Semin’s eighth goal of the season. Just seven minutes later, Patrick Dwyer potted his second goal in as many games on a re-direction of Tim Gleason’s point shot. For whatever reason, the Hurricanes strayed from this game in the middle frame, which ultimately cost them two points. “They kind of took the momentum away from us in the second. We had a rough stretch,” Dwyer said. “We came out in the third not knowing which way it would go.”
- The power play continues to struggle at home, as the Canes went 0-for-4 on the man advantage and are a paltry 4-for-51 (7.8 percent) at home this season. With the team holding a six-on-four advantage with just 15 seconds left in regulation, it goes without saying a power-play tally would have been huge. “It’s going to cost you some nights,” Muller said of the power play. “Sometimes it’s not the amount of goals you get on the power play, but when you get it.”
- Bobby Sanguinetti had a dangerous collision with the boards in the corner to the left of Dan Ellis. Chasing after the puck, Sanguinetti lost his footing and was already sliding rapidly into the boards when Joey Crabb added a crunch. Sanguinetti skated off the ice holding his left arm, but he returned to the game shortly after.
- Tonight marked the first game the Hurricanes lost when leading after 40 minutes (11-0 coming into the game) and the first game the team has dropped in regulation after scoring first (8-0-1 coming into the game).
- The Hurricanes will play their third straight divisional game on Saturday, as they travel to Tampa Bay to face off with the Lightning. With just a three-point lead on Winnipeg, who plays on Thursday and Saturday, two points could prove vital to hanging on to first place in the Southeast Division.
RALEIGH. N.C. -- Mike Ribeiro scored with 2:16 remaining as the Washington Capitals overcame a two-goal first-period deficit to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at PNC Arena on Thursday night.
Alex Ovechkin took a long pass from John Carlson, deked goaltender Dan Ellis out of position, but his soft forehand hit the post. The puck went behnd Ellis and stopped on the goal line before Ribeiro tapped it in. The goal was reviewed and upheld.
The win put a stop to Washington's three-game losing streak. The Capitals (11-14-1) also earned a split in the teams' home-and-home series; the Hurricanes (15-10-1) won 4-0 at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.
Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned his second victory of the season with 36 saves, 15 in the third period. Ellis stopped 22 shots.
The Capitals trailed 2-1 entering the third but quickly tied the game with a power-play goal. Troy Brower dished off from the slot to Ovechkin in the right circle, where he beat Ellis at 1:01. Eric Staal had taken a high-sticking penalty at the expiration of the second period.
The Hurricanes got off to a fast start when former Capitals forward Alexander Semin scored on his line's first shift. Jiri Tlusty worked the puck from behind the net to Staal, who found Semin in the slot for his eighth of the season at 1:14.
Before the midway mark of the period, Hurricanes forward Patrick Dwyer redirected a shot from between the circles, coming off a pass from defenseman Tim Gleason.
The Capitals struggled with defensive coverage early in the period, as Carolina was able to get pucks behind the Washington defense. The Capitals managed 11 shots in the period, but none on a late power play. Their best scoring chance came when Eric Fehr tried to sweep a rebound past Ellis, only to have the goaltender kick it away with his left pad.
The Capitals cut the lead in half early in the second period as Aaron Volpatti skated down the left wing and threaded a perfect pass to Joey Crabb in the low slot. Crabb's tip-in was his second goal of the season. In a mostly slow-moving period, the Hurricanes held a 7-6 advantage in shots.