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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

First Series a Great One for Gleason

Thursday, 04.30.2009 / 2:31 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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First Series a Great One for Gleason
I’d say it was an underrated play, but fortunately, it seems to be getting the respect that it deserves.

Paul Branecky
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On Jussi Jokinen’s tying goal with 1:20 left in Game 7, Tim Gleason made a diving play to keep the puck in at the blue line before sending a pass, still while kneeling, over to Joni Pitkanen, who found his compatriot across the ice for the momentous finish.

Without Gleason’s effort, the Devils, who were already pinned into their zone on a long shift, clear the puck and get a set of fresh legs or go in unopposed on a breakaway. If either of those happens, that probably would have been it for the 2008-09 Carolina Hurricanes.

“Timmy Gleason saved our season at the blue line,” said Coach Paul Maurice.

“Mr. Brind’Amour said it was a great pass,” said Gleason with a smile, referring to why he had to dive for the puck in the first place. “It was tape-to-tape. It landed on my stick, but I don’t know how the heck it did. I had to chip it, because I knew if I didn’t get any of it, it was pretty much a breakaway.”

He earned the secondary assist on that goal, but it didn’t end there. He also assisted on Eric Staal’s game winner just seconds later with the initial breakout pass, and was on the ice for the final defensive stand when the Devils threw everything they had at Carolina in the dying moments.

The diving play was just one of a number of memorable moments by the rugged 26-year-old in his first NHL playoff series. For a guy who is accustomed to flying under the radar with his steady defensive play, Gleason grabbed headlines for his overtime winner in Game 2 – his first goal of the season – and for the job he and partner Joe Corvo did in limiting Zach Parise’s line to just one goal in the final four games of the series.

In fact, if you do a search for Tim Gleason on gettyimages.com, as I just did for the purpose of this blog, most of the resulting photos also have the tags "Zach Parise" or "Travis Zajac" associated with them.

"Those are skilled players and if you give them time they’re going to make plays," said Gleason.  "Our mentality on the back end is just to shut them down, and the more simple the better with lines like that.”

In addition to his usual defensive numbers - he finished second among all playoff performers with 28 hits and was fourth in blocked shots with 17 – he also ranked tied for fourth among the Hurricanes in scoring with four points, only eight fewer than he had in the entire regular season.

“He’s another guy [the Bruins] have got to shut down,” said Maurice, tongue-in-cheek.

Given the job he did in that series, the tendency is to say that he stepped up his game for his first postseason appearance. However, the Canes don’t see it that way.

“I think that’s been pretty much his game,” said Maurice. “I hope what he’s understanding is that his regular season game and the determination he plays with every night – that’s good enough in the playoffs.”

“Whether it’s a regular season game or a playoff game, I try to play with the same type of intensity,” said Gleason. “I’m not going to play better in the postseason just because it’s the postseason. My goal in the playoffs is to keep that consistency, do my job on the ice and don’t change a thing from the regular season.”

The Canes may not be able to count on Gleason to put up the same kind of offensive numbers against the Bruins as he did against the Devils, but his role on the defensive end will be just as important. Much in the same way Boston will send Zdeno Chara out against Eric Staal whenever possible, Gleason will likely be counted upon to neutralize the likes of Phil Kessel and Marc Savard.

Of course, if he took a liking to the more dramatic side of the game and wants to pop in another OT winner, the Canes will take that too.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61