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First Series a Great One for Gleason

Thursday, 04.30.2009 / 2:31 PM ET / 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81