|BOS||0||0||0||0||1 (2 - 3)||3|
|CAR||0||0||0||0||0 (0 - 2)||2|
The Carolina Hurricanes have been looking for a signature moment in a season filled with injuries, sickness and near misses. They found one Tuesday night.
Down 2-0 and seemingly dead in the water as the final minute approached, the Canes scored twice in the final 1:03 – both times with Cam Ward pulled for an extra attacker – before falling 3-2 in a shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.
It seemed more like a victory than an OT loss to start an all-important six-game homestand that may very well determine whether the Hurricanes make the 2008 NHL postseason or pick up the golf clubs in mid April.
“I thought we skated hard, we were attacking and I thought it was just a matter of time,” said Eric Staal, who assisted on both last-minute goals. “We had some chances in overtime, but we just weren’t able to finish it off.”
The point moved the Canes three points ahead of idle Atlanta and Washington in the race for the Southeast Division title with 19 games left.
“We certainly improved our work ethic and desire to win a hockey game from the previous day,” coach Peter Laviolette said on the heels of a 5-1 loss at New Jersey on Monday. “We showed up and competed as hard as we could.
“I feel like we didn’t get rewarded tonight for what we did,” added Laviolette. “Tim Thomas played a terrific game for them. I mean we fired 47 shots on net, so you wouldn’t think you would have to wait until the final minute to try to tie up a hockey game. I can’t say enough about the guys and their effort tonight.”
Ward left the ice with 1:12 left, and just nine seconds later Andrew Ladd found a wide-open Ray Whitney for his 24th of the season. Whitney’s goal came on Carolina’s 43rd shot on Thomas, who came into the game 2-6-0-1 with a 3.39 goals against average in his career against the Canes.
Carolina was able to pull Ward again after an icing call against the Bruins. It took just 10 seconds to send the bench into bedlam as Eric Staal circled behind Thomas and found Erik Cole, who rifled a high shot over the shoulder of the Boston goalie, with 42.6 seconds left in regulation.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime in which Ward made several key saves, including one at the buzzer off of the stick of Andrew Ference, Matt Cullen hit the post in the shootout and Sergei Samsonov failed on a backhander. Boston got goals from Phil Kessel and David Krejci, who hasn’t scored in 32 games, to pick up the extra point in the tight Eastern Conference standings and send those who stayed at the RBC Center home with mixed emotions.
Carolina will take the day off Wednesday because of the onset of the flu for the second time this season. Trevor Letowski was the latest Carolina casualty. He told Laviolette he wasn’t feeling well in warm-ups, played just 5:45 and was sent home with the flu.
“We were playing a man short after playing last night,” said Laviolette, who used Cullen, Staal, Whitney and Cole for more than 23 minutes each. “It’s just one after another, it has been amazing. We are closing the locker room down and keeping everybody away from the rink.”
Staal led the forwards with 26 minutes and 27 seconds, while Whitney had eight shots in a season-high 25:40.
“You are in the heat of the game and you’re not really thinking how long you’ve been out there,” Staal said. “You just want to get back out there as fast as you can.”
The Canes registered nine shots on their first four power plays through two period but headed to the third period down 2-0 despite 30 shots on Thomas.
The Bruins went up by two late in the second just 21 seconds into a Scott Walker slashing penalty when Marc Savard beat Ward with a blast from the top of the right circle.
Carolina fell behind 1-0 less than five minutes into the game after Glen Wesley took an elbowing penalty as 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara deflected a shot from in close past Ward.
The Canes had several good opportunities to tie the score less than two minutes later on a power play of their own, but Whitney was stopped by Thomas as he broke in alone and Ladd swept the puck wide on a rebound shot.
NOTES: Hedican (hip), Cole (flu) and Whitney (groin) were back in the lineup. … Staal played in his 235th straight game. … Savard has 29 points in 29 career games against Carolina. … The Canes captured seven of a possible eight points against Boston this season. … Whitney has 56 points in 59 games. … Ladd has at least one point in seven of his last nine games. … Without face-off ace Brind’Amour, the Canes lost 40 of 63 draws.
|PPG - Zdeno Chara (11) ASST: Marco Sturm (20), Marc Savard (52)|
1 - 0 BOS
|PPG - Marc Savard (14) ASST: Dennis Wideman (17), Andrew Ference (12)|
2 - 0 BOS
|Ray Whitney (24) ASST: Andrew Ladd (9), Eric Staal (24)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Erik Cole (14) ASST: Eric Staal (25), Ray Whitney (32)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||M. Sturm||M. Cullen|
|2||P. Kessel||S. Samsonov|
|Tim Conboy Fighting (maj) against Jeremy Reich|
|Jeremy Reich Fighting (maj) against Tim Conboy|
|Glen Wesley Elbowing against Glen Metropolit|
|Milan Lucic Boarding against Scott Walker|
|Milan Lucic Fighting (maj) against Wade Brookbank|
|Wade Brookbank Fighting (maj) against Milan Lucic|
|Vladimir Sobotka Holding against Scott Walker|
|Zdeno Chara Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Eric Staal Holding against Glen Metropolit|
|Glen Wesley Roughing against Aaron Ward|
|Aaron Ward Holding against Glen Wesley|
|Marc Savard Holding against Eric Staal|
|Scott Walker Slashing against Marc Savard|
|Andrew Ference Roughing against Scott Walker|
|Scott Walker Roughing against Andrew Ference|
|Andrew Ference Unsportsmanlike conduct against Scott Walker|
|Scott Walker Unsportsmanlike conduct against Andrew Ference|
|Marco Sturm Tripping against Bret Hedican|
|Milan Lucic Fighting (maj) against Tim Gleason|
|Tim Gleason Fighting (maj) against Milan Lucic|
|SA: 47||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 45||EV: 33 - 35|
|PIM: 0||PP: 10 - 10|
|SV%: .957||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 38||TOI: 64:42|
|Saves: 36||EV: 32 - 32|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 5|
|SV%: .947||SH: 1 - 1|