Mired in a scoring slump that has lasted three weeks, the Hurricanes got this one into the extra period with a power play goal from Sergei Samsonov early in the third period and some clutch goaltending by Michael Leighton, who rebounded from a five-goal game Thursday in a loss to Pittsburgh.
That was the good news.
But with 1:26 left in OT, captain Rod Brind’Amour got tangled with Jeff Carter on a faceoff in the Carolina end, the puck dropping to the skates of both players before Carter was able to get a stick on it toward Leighton, who couldn’t handle the bouncing puck as it slipped between his legs for the team’s sixth defeat in the last seven tries.
“The puck was kind of rolling around and he just turned around and whacked it,” Leighton said of Carter. “He threw a knuckle puck at me and it hit my stick and went in.
“I felt a little more comfortable,” added a disappointed Leighton, who stopped 29 of 31 shots in his second start in place of the injured Cam Ward. “The more games I play the more comfortable I’m going to feel, but the bottom line is we didn’t win. We were throwing pucks at the net and we just didn’t get a bounce tonight.”
The OT loss gave
“I’m not optimistic for Nic for tomorrow as of right now,” coach Paul Maurice said of the veteran’s availability against Southeast Division leader Washington. “If he can’t go we’re going to have to bring somebody up.”
Who, is anybody’s guess, since Casey Borer and Tim Conboy were already on hand as call-ups to spell the injured D. It could be Josef Melichar, who was recently demoted to
“You know what, to be honest with you, that’s going to be a decision made by the rest of the staff and management because I’m still shaking hands and introducing myself to the guys,” said Maurice.
Brind’Amour had three good scoring chances in the opening seven minutes of the third period that could have given the Canes the lead, but couldn’t connect against his former team, leading to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation.
“If we could have scored another one it could have been the difference,” Ray Whitney said. “We had plenty of opportunities, but confidence is probably still an issue a little bit with it. Getting one two games in a row might help that.”
The Canes’ power play continued to struggle early, going 0-for-3 in the first period with just three shots and no real top-notch scoring opportunities.
After the first period,
“Our neutral zone was better than it was last game, and we’re making small strides on the power play, finding different people and finding different units,” Maurice said.
NOTES: Matt Cullen saw his four-game point streak end. … Justin Williams started on the third line with Cullen and Ryan Bayda. … Borer and Conboy played together as a defensive pairing before Wallin was injured. … Four Canes – Brind’Amour, Williams, Leighton and Pitkanen played against their former team. A fifth former Flyer – Dennis Seidenberg – didn’t dress because of injury. …