|ATL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
Atlanta Sinks Canes With Late Goals
Flavor of the Game 700K
RALEIGH, N.C. (FEB. 20, 2007) - A goalie has never seen a goal he didn't want back. But some hurt more than others - just ask Cam Ward after a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday night.
The Carolina Hurricanes dominated for the first two periods as they were poised to chase down Atlanta and Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division, but allowed three third-period goals en route to one of the toughest losses of the season.
Carolina was 31-0-2 when leading entering the third period during last year's Stanley Cup winning season and 21-0 this year in that stat before a short-handed goal by Marian Hossa from the corner boards in the final period opened the flood gates for the slumping Thrashers, who had lost four in a row coming in to the RBC Center.
Atlanta was held to just nine shots through 40 minutes and was down a man when Hossa raced to the puck and fired on net from a sharp angle. The puck somehow squirted between the post and Ward's pad to tie the score at 1-1 less than six minutes into the period.
A minute later, Carolina failed to score on a two-man advantage for 42 seconds and Atlanta notched the go-ahead goal by Ilya Kovalchuk with 2:24 left after a turnover in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 break.
"We were in control, we were playing well and it was a bad goal," Ward said of Atlanta's first score. "It ruined our rhythm. We tried battling back, but Kovalchuk made a good shot to take the lead. No matter what, we never should have been in that situation in the first place. That (Hossa) goal should have never gone in."
Carolina finished with 34 shots, but could manage just a lone goal by Rod Brind'Amour as the Canes fell to 15-12-4 at home.
"There are still 20 games left to go in the season," said David Tanabe. "Sure, we should have won that game and it hurts, but we still have tomorrow."
"I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but every game from now on is a battle and we've got to be winning these games, especially when we have the lead in the third period," added Andrew Ladd. "We seemed to have control of the game. It's disappointing."
Ward kept Atlanta scoreless through 40 minutes with two point-blank saves, one against Eric Boulton midway through the second and then on Jim Slater with 5:41 left. Three minutes later, Ray Whitney's rush led to Carolina's only goal and an ice-breaker in a game that was being playing close to the vest.
The team's leading scorer skated up the left wing before cutting to the slot, drawing two Atlanta defenders. Whitney then dropped off a nifty back-handed pass to a streaking Brind'Amour, who beat Johan Hedberg far side for the 401st of his career.
The assist was Whitney's 70th point -- marking just the third time in 15 NHL seasons he has reached that plateau and just six shy of his career high of 76 set in 2002-03 with Columbus.
The Hurricanes had the only power play of a scoreless first period when former Carolina center Eric Belanger went off for hooking with six minutes left, but the Canes couldn't manage a shot.
The two best scoring chances came three minutes later when Chad LaRose wasn't able to corral a bouncing puck in front of a wide open net, then Hedberg kicked out an in-close backhander by Brind'Amour to keep the Canes off the board.
The Thrashers averaged 11 shots in the first period in four previous meetings this season with Carolina, but was held to three in the opening 20 minutes. Carolina was 0-for-4 on the power play after going 2-for-2 in a 5-3 win over the weekend against Montreal.
"The whole game was frustrating," said coach Peter Laviolette. "It's a big game. We're playing for a stake in the postseason. Our power play could have executed better and we turned the puck over a few times and it cost us. That's the ball game."
Erik Cole missed his fourth game out of the last five with a lower body injury that apparently occurred in warm-ups. He had a goal and an assist three days ago in a win at Montreal. With Cole and Cory Stillman out, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg came out of the press box to dress for the first time in six games and played right wing.
Laviolette said Cole was getting an MRI after the game and his status was unknown for Thursday's game against Philadelphia.
"This was totally unexpected," Laviolette said of Cole's pre-game injury. "Something gave in warm-ups when he was stretching."
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 (19) ASST: Ray Whitney (44), Bret Hedican (9)|
1 - 0 CAR
|SHG - Marian Hossa (34) ASST: Johan Hedberg (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ilya Kovalchuk (33) ASST: Marian Hossa (42)|
2 - 1 ATL
|Eric Boulton (2) ASST: Eric Belanger (13), Jean-Pierre Vigier (8)|
3 - 1 ATL
|Eric Belanger Hooking against Josef Vasicek|
|Jim Slater Hooking against Eric Staal|
|Josef Vasicek Hooking against Ilya Kovalchuk|
|Eric Staal Tripping against Vyacheslav Kozlov|
|Greg De Vries Hooking against Eric Staal|
|Andy Sutton Slashing against David Tanabe|
|SA: 34||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 33||EV: 25 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .971||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 23||TOI: 58:57|
|Saves: 20||EV: 14 - 16|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .870||SH: 3 - 4|