|WSH||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||6|
Whitney, Williams Lead Dominant Offensive Effort
Flavor of the Game 700K
RALEIGH, N.C. (JAN. 26, 2007) - If given enough opportunities this season, Peter Laviolette believed Ray Whitney would have a career year. Well, the Wizard is well on his way to his best offensive showing in 15 NHL seasons.
Whitney had a goal and three assists for his second four-point game of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes retuned from the All-Star break in fine fashion by beating the Washington Capitals 6-2 Friday night.
"Ray is one of the most underrated playmakers in the game," said Justin Williams, who had two goals after getting one in the All-Star Game on Wednesday night. "He doesn't get the recognition that he should. You look at his line mates and they are always the ones who are scoring and that's a tribute to him and his capabilities offensively."
"He has so much skill and so much ease with the puck," added Eric Staal. "He has been a huge, if not the biggest part of our offense. We need for him to continue to do that into the playoffs. We kind of expected it knowing the player he is."
The two Southeast Division rivals play again Saturday night in Washington - the third meeting between the two clubs in a 10-day span. Carolina still trails Atlanta by six points for first place in the division.
Whitney's four-point night gave him a team-leading 57 points in 51 games, surpassing his total of 55 points in 63 games last year. Whitney's best offensive season came in 2002-03 for Columbus when he had 76 points in 81 games.
Whitney missed a handful of games during the team's Cup run last year because of a pair of groin injuries that nagged him all season. He's now healthy and showing his skill.
"I felt the same way in Columbus, but by the end of that season when things weren't going well I fell out of the scoring attitude a little bit," said Whitney, who has 20 goals and 37 assists. "Last year, I really battled my groin injuries and this year I really got a clean start injury-wise. I feel great."
Carolina lost to the Caps 5-2 eight days ago at the RBC Center, but this night was a different story from the start, especially in the second period after Washington tied it 2-2 less than a minute in.
Williams got his second of the game and team-leading 25th goal five minutes into the second to give the Canes the lead for good before Cory Stillman and Whitney added scores 1:26 apart late in the second.
Carolina's penalty killing unit has moved to ninth in the NHL by killing off Washington's first three power plays, but it allowed a goal 54 seconds in to the second as the Caps tied the score 2-2.
But after a series of penalties against both teams a few minutes later, Williams scored with just one second left on the 4-on-3 advantage as the Canes regained the lead and some of the momentum it lost halfway through the first period.
Carolina jumped on Washington for two goals in the opening nine minutes as the top line of Rod Brind'Amour, Williams and Whitney was clicking from the start.
"It was important for us to start strong since we didn't go into the break on a high note or were happy with our game," said Whitney. "We wanted to make sure today we were prepared. I liked how we didn't get too frustrated when they tied it 2-2 and kept going at them."
Brind'Amour notched his first goal in 10 games when he faked out Washington defenseman Steve Eminger, and held on to the puck until Brent Johnson went down before backhanding it into the cage four minutes in.
Williams added one five minutes later when his slap shot from the top of the right circle beat Johnson far side.
"We had two guys driving the net and coach has been preaching that we haven't been getting as many shots as we should, so I was coming down the wing and I just fired it," said Williams.
The Caps first goal was initially waved off as it appeared Chris Clark directed the puck in off his skate, but after a video replay, the shot was ruled a goal to close the Carolina lead to 2-1.
The game's second replay also went Washington's way. Play was stopped for more than five minutes to review what appeared to be a Carolina goal that had been gloved out of the net after crossing the goal line. The score would have put the Canes up 4-2 midway through the second period, but word came down from the video judge upstairs that it was pushed across the goal line with a hand.
The "no goal" call just seemed to fire up the Canes, who got goals from Stillman and Whitney to head into the third up by three goals.
"I liked the way we handled it," said Williams. "We were upset for a couple of minutes and we went and got the next one. We followed it up with a strong end of the period." Carolina proceeded to clamp down in the third to run its record to 18-0 this season when leading after two periods, getting a goal 1:17 in from another all-star, Eric Staal, who had 11 of Carolina's 41 shots.
Tim Gleason was the first of the injured Carolina defensemen to return to the lineup after missing 13 games with a broken foot. The Canes went 6-5-2 with Gleason out. He played 15 minutes and 15 seconds and was a plus 3.
"I thought he came back and played good," Laviolette said of Gleason.
Brind'Amour's season-best plus 5 gave him the team's first double-digit mark at plus 12.
David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.
|Rod Brind'Amour (14) ASST: Ray Whitney (35), Justin Williams (23)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Justin Williams (24) ASST: Andrew Hutchinson (10), Ray Whitney (36)|
2 - 0 CAR
|Chris Clark (20) ASST: Dainius Zubrus (25), Jeff Schultz (1)|
2 - 1 CAR
|PPG - Alex Ovechkin (30) ASST: Alexander Semin (21), Dainius Zubrus (26)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Justin Williams (25) ASST: Ray Whitney (37), Eric Staal (21)|
3 - 2 CAR
|Cory Stillman (3) ASST: Erik Cole (25), Rod Brind'Amour (40)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Ray Whitney (20) ASST: Scott Walker (19)|
5 - 2 CAR
|Eric Staal (23) ASST: Scott Walker (20), Andrew Ladd (4)|
6 - 2 CAR
|Justin Williams Interference - Goalkeeper against Brent Johnson|
|Andrew Hutchinson Holding against Boyd Gordon|
|Cory Stillman Hooking against Steve Eminger|
|Jakub Klepis Interference - Goalkeeper against Cam Ward|
|Chris Clark Hooking against Erik Cole|
|Erik Cole Tripping against Shaone Morrisonn|
|Jakub Klepis Hooking against Justin Williams|
|Scott Walker Fighting against Chris Clark|
|Chris Clark Fighting against Scott Walker|
|Alexander Semin Holding against Erik Cole|
|Erik Cole Holding the stick against Dainius Zubrus|
|Alex Ovechkin Hi-sticking against Justin Williams|
|Dennis Seidenberg Hooking against Alex Ovechkin|
|Erik Cole Roughing against Brian Sutherby|
|Brian Sutherby Roughing against Erik Cole|
|Jeff Schultz Tripping against Rod Brind'Amour|
|Brian Sutherby Misconduct|
|Craig Adams Slashing against Alex Ovechkin|
|Donald Brashear Elbowing against Erik Cole|
|Chris Clark Tripping against Justin Williams|
|Andrew Hutchinson Interference against Brian Sutherby|
|Donald Brashear Roughing against David Tanabe|
|Donald Brashear Roughing against David Tanabe|
|SA: 41||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 35||EV: 20 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 13 - 13|
|SV%: .854||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 26||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 24||EV: 15 - 16|
|PIM: 0||PP: 7 - 8|
|SV%: .923||SH: 2 - 2|