It was admittedly not the Canes’ best effort of the season, but with the score tied 1-1 in the third and a line shakeup by coach Peter Laviolette adding some jump after two periods of mediocre play, Cam Ward was caught slightly out of position after a solid 58 minutes and allowed the puck to slip under his shoulder off the stick of Ethan Moreau en route to a 3-1 loss at the RBC Center.
“When you have a game like today your best players have to be at their absolute best, so I take it away from
“That one went in, but there were four or five tonight that
Laviolette singled out Rod Brind’Amour’s play as an exception as he won 19 of 26 faceoffs and played a forward-high 23:45, but lost a key faceoff with Ward pulled for an extra attacker just moments after a review of an Eric Staal shot was ruled not to have crossed the goal line. Seconds later, Moreau sealed it with an empty-net goal.
Erik Cole, traded to the Oilers in the offseason for Joni Pitkanen, returned to the ice he called home for six seasons and received a standing ovation early in the first period as the scoreboard welcomed the crowd favorite back to town. Cole finished with two shots and eight of his club’s 21 hits.
“He’s tough, he’s fast and he’s very strong,” said
“I don’t know if it’s killing us, that’s kind of drastic to say, but certainly the power play is going to have to win you some games and it won us a game in
Carolina’s first three power plays didn’t amount to much as the man-advantage effort continued to struggle, but the Oilers capitalized on their first opportunity with the extra attacker 6:45 into the second to tie it at 1-1. Cole drew the penalty and was a pest in front of Ward on the power play, helping distract the
Laviolette even called a time out halfway through the second to try to fire up the troops, but two more power plays in the period amounted to little offense as the puck bounced over various sticks and passes couldn’t connect as the Oilers kept the Canes on the perimeter for the most part.
Ward kept the game even after
Later in the period,
“Any time is a dangerous time to lose games,” Laviolette said. “We missed the playoffs last season by two points so any points you don’t pick up are points that you risk down the line.”
NOTES: Whitney’s goal was his first since the season opener, a span of eight games. … Pitkanen missed the first game against his former team while he recovers from minor knee surgery. … Sergei Samsonov is still without a point through 10 games. … Matt Cullen missed some of the third period with an undisclosed injury after recording a team-best six shots. … Six of