| FS CAROLINAS POSTGAME
|FLAVOR OF THE GAME|
| Eric Staal
| Kirk Muller
| Kaiton's Corner
|Jay Harrison Interview|
| Postgame Notes (PDF)
| Game Summary
| Event Summary
It’s been looming for weeks, but tonight it was realized in devastating fashion: the Carolina Hurricanes have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. The Canes gave up a 3-1 second period lead to the Winnipeg Jets, eventually losing 4-3 in overtime in what has become a familiar scenario for the team. Jeff Skinner called the result “unacceptable.” “It’s not good enough,” he said. “We’re up 3-1 at home. When you get in that kind of situation, you’ve got to be a better team.” This game was essentially the opposite of what happened in Winnipeg on March 18. In that game, the Jets had a 3-2 lead going into the third period, and the Canes came away with a 4-3 win in regulation. Skinner wouldn’t make excuses for tonight’s result. “We’ve got another game tomorrow, so it better not be fatigue. I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe we just have to be more mentally tough.” Comparisons were made postgame to the Canes surrendering a 4-1 lead in a 5-4 loss to Detroit last Saturday, but head coach Kirk Muller said there are a few key differences. “In Detroit the other night it was just puck management against a skilled team,” he said. “Tonight … it was 3-1, we had a chance to bury a team and move forward. When you keep teams hanging around, generally they’ll get a second life, and they did.” Here’s something that was more or less expected: Anthony Stewart challenged Zach Bogosian in a quick tussle. Recall it was Bogosian who knocked out Andreas Nodl with a leaping body check. Bogosian somehow escaped supplemental discipline from the League but had to answer to the Canes. Stewart was the one who stepped up and wrestled with Bogosian before falling on top of him. “Whether it was clean or not, he has to answer the bell. It wasn’t much of a fight,” Stewart said. “This time of year, you’ve got to show that you care and that you’re still fighting for something. I’m not used to going out and fighting. I was a little rusty, but it’s something that I’ve got to do to prove that I still want to be here and I still care and take it over into next year. [Nodl] came up, and he really appreciated it. I’m a team guy first, and hopefully the coaching staff realizes that, and I’m just there for my teammates.” Eric Staal netted his 250th career goal tonight on a shorthanded play that will likely live on highlight reels. He stripped Blake Wheeler of the puck at the point and chased it down alongside Tim Stapleton. Staal just flat out outworked Stapleton, spun off him and put the puck past a sprawled out Chris Mason. It was a power move and put an exclamation point on what was the team’s best period of the game; that intensity unfortunately went unmatched in the latter two. Despite mathematical elimination, the Hurricanes still have four games remaining on their schedule, beginning less than 24 hours from now against the New Jersey Devils. It will be a chance for Carolina to quickly right the wrong of the mental mistakes from tonight and build toward the final week of the 2011-12 season. “We just dropped our level of intensity, and it’s a good lesson,” Muller said. “You can’t do it. If you do, teams will take advantage of it, no matter who it is.”
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Andrew Ladd snatched the puck and snapped it past an old buddy. Just that quickly, he sent his former team to yet another spring without playoff hockey.
Ladd scored 16 seconds into overtime, and the Winnipeg Jets beat Carolina 4-3 on Friday night to keep alive their slim postseason hopes and eliminate any chance the Hurricanes had to sneak into the playoffs.
Kyle Wellwood scored the tying goal with 4:47 left in regulation and added an assist. Zach Bogosian assisted on the final three goals, Jim Slater scored and Nik Antropov added a goal in his return to the lineup for the Jets, who trailed 3-1 midway through the second period before rallying.
"We're trying to develop a culture here of showing up and working your (rear end) off ... every day," Ladd said. "It's one of those things that ... it's got to become an everyday thing where everyone shows up, knows they have to work hard or they're not going to play."
The decisive sequence started when Carolina rookie Justin Faulk slipped in the corner at the start of overtime.
"From there, it was a breakdown," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said.
The puck made its way to Bogosian at the blue line. He tossed it toward the net and an uncovered Ladd - Carolina's first-round draft pick in 2004 who spent three seasons with the Hurricanes - whipped it past Cam Ward.
"It's always fun to score against Wardo,"' Ladd said. "We're good buddies, but we're very competitive with each other and it's fun to get the upper hand. I'll have bragging rights for the summer, at least."
Chris Mason stopped 30 shots for the Jets and improved to 4-2 against Carolina this season. Ward finished with 31 saves.
The Hurricanes were playing at home for the first time since going 1-2 on a trip that put them on the brink of elimination, and both teams needed Pittsburgh to beat Buffalo, which the Penguins did, to keep alive their dwindling playoff hopes.
A Buffalo win and a Winnipeg loss in regulation would have eliminated the Jets. Carolina needed wins in its final five games and plenty of help throughout the league to slide in for just the second time since winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.
Though the Hurricanes salvaged a point in overtime, with four games left, the best they can do now is tie Buffalo and Washington for eighth place at 86 points. The Capitals would claim the tiebreaker over Carolina because they already are assured of having more combined wins in regulation and overtime.
"It was 3-1. We have a chance to bury a team and move forward, and when you keep teams hanging around, generally, they're going to get a second life," Muller said. "And they did. They scored at the right times and we just dropped our level of intensity."
Slater started the Jets' rally when his goal on an odd-man rush made it 3-2 with 9:35 left in the second. Wellwood tied it at 3 when he chipped in the rebound of Antii Miettinen's shot on a late power play, after Jiri Tlusty was issued a double minor for high-sticking.
"Between the second and third period, we just said we're going to throw it all out there," Slater said. "The guys did a good job of throwing pucks on net. We drew a key penalty there to get us tied up, and our penalty kill was fantastic tonight, too."
Staal's milestone goal came on one of his prettiest sequences of the season. With teammate Tim Gleason serving a double minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, Staal stole the puck from Wheeler near the blue line. The Carolina captain skated in on Mason with Tim Stapleton on his hip, spun 360 degrees and whipped the puck into the net to make it 2-1 with 3:14 remaining. His milestone goal also was the team's 12th short-handed score.
"I was trying to get body position, maybe cut it across the front of the net," Staal said. "I think the goalie might have gotten caught out of position as well, and I was able to slide it underneath him."
Staal tied current Florida coach Kevin Dineen on the club's goal-scoring list and trails only Hall of Famer Ron Francis - who scored a club-record 382 goals in two stints with the Hartford-Carolina franchise.
Sutter gave the Hurricanes a two-goal lead when he scored off a rebound early in the second.
NOTES: Winnipeg D Grant Clitsome rang the right post with a blast from the blue line late in the first, Dustin Byfuglien drilled the left post late in the second and Ron Hainsey hit the pipe late in the third. ... Carolina RW Tuomo Ruutu skated in his 300th game with the club. ... To make room for Antropov, the Jets scratched C Ben Maxwell.