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It all should have added up to another victory for the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes had won five of seven games at the
So much for stats.
“Nobody was moving their feet, nobody was getting open for each other, and unfortunately when you’re legs aren’t there you’ve got to try anything to get your legs going and we didn’t do that either,” said Bret Hedican. “We got outplayed. We’ve got to get on the road and get back to our game.”
O’Brien came into the season with two goals in 80 career games, but had a rebound goal in the first and added a breakaway score after getting out of the penalty box in the second period to put the Canes four behind.
“Every team harps on having full 60-minute efforts,” said Justin Williams. “Sometimes you can get away with having an average period, but they have a lot of fire-power and that wasn’t the case tonight.”
“We certainly should have had more jump,” added coach Peter Laviolette. “They traveled last night and we had time off. Sometimes that works against you, having too much time off instead of playing hockey games. Clearly the zip in the second and third (periods) was better than it was in the first.”
The Hurricanes had a chance to get back into the game in the second with a pair of power-play chances and a penalty shot stop by Cam Ward against Vincent Lecavalier. But nothing would click on this night as Tim Gleason hit the post, Erik Cole was robbed by the glove of Johan Holmqvist and Jeff Hamilton’s blast was deflected off the goalie on top of the net instead of falling in as the bounces went the way of
Ward got caught leaning on Tampa Bay's third goal, as he expected a pass but was beaten on the short side by Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba for a 3-0 deficit.
Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen extended their point streaks to eight games each when Whitney scored his ninth goal 2:04 into the third period off an assist from Cullen as the Canes closed to 4-1. Meanwhile, Cory Stillman’s eight-game point streak ended.
Rod Brind’Amour hit the post shorthanded six minutes after the Whitney goal, which would have made things a little more interesting down the stretch, before the Lightning sealed it with a power play goal with 6:24 left.
The Canes came out flat in the opening 20 minutes and fell behind 2-0, allowing goals by Lecavalier and O’Brien less than four minutes part. O’Brien’s goal came on a 2-on-1 in which Hedican got caught up ice after a rush into the
“We weren’t anything,” said Hedican. “We weren’t physical enough, we weren’t stopping and starting in our own end, we weren’t covering men in our own end and unfortunately Cam Ward had to play outstanding for us to stay in the game.”
“There were two points at stake and we can’t just look past this game,” added Laviolette. “We’ve got to be sharper at the start of the game.”