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Minnesota
Wild
44-28-10
Carolina
Hurricanes
43-33-6

28 SOG
28 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MIN
CAR
game recap

Hurricanes 3, Wild 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

David Droschak

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Hurricanes 3, Wild 2
Minnesota Wild 2, Carolina Hurricanes 3

Playing shorthanded is nothing new to these Carolina Hurricanes in 2007-08. They trudged on in the third period against the Minnesota Wild under more adverse conditions, putting everything on the line for the second night in a row, throwing up a playoff-type 3-2 victory in a game between division leaders.

Ray Whitney and Bret Hedican didn’t dress Thursday night, and the Canes lost Erik Cole and Scott Walker six minutes into the third period coming to the defense of teammate Eric Staal, who was crushed from behind into the boards by Aaron Voros. And there was a sixth penalty to kill in the final three minutes before extending the club’s home record to 9-1-1 over its last 11 games.

So it was an understandable feeling of satisfaction to pull out a victory over the Northwest Division leaders, and in the process pull within six points of the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s funny how that goes sometimes,” Staal said when asked about Carolina’s recent climb in the standings. “We’ve got a good thing going, we’ve got a good feeling in this locker room, guys know where they sit in the lineup, guys know what they need to bring for us to win, and when that happens it results in wins.”

A goal of first overall in the East seemed far-fetched a month ago, but the Canes are playing their best hockey at the right time, killing off all six power-play chances by the Wild and getting another top-notch performance in goal from Cam Ward, who won his 30th game to match his total of a season ago.

The win improved the team to seven games over .500, matching the high-water mark last seen on Nov. 12.

“This is one of those games you’ll look back and mark it,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We traveled and they were sitting here waiting for us, guys had to step in and play different roles, and for us to play the way we did … I am proud of the way we played. It was an important game for the whole team to respond.”  

Carolina lost its early two-goal lead when the Wild tied it at 2-2 just 19 seconds into the second period. Ward then came up big over the next several minutes to keep the score tied, stopping Todd Fedoruk from the slot on a good chance during the middle of a Minnesota power play, then stoning Pavol Demitra with a nice shoulder save just after the power play expired.

“I am really seeing the puck well,” said Ward, who has been Carolina’s workhorse in net the last 25 games. “That’s because of the team, too. I thought they did a good job of blocking a lot of point shots, but when things went through I saw every one of them. I’m happy with the way things are going but we realize there’s a lot of unfinished business.”

Cole’s power-play goal midway through the second (off his skate as he jumped to avoid a Cullen shot) gave the Canes a 3-2 lead and proved to be the game winner.

The Canes have come out flat in several first periods at the RBC Center this season, but this time wasn’t one of them as they jumped on the Wild from the drop of the puck, outshooting Minnesota 15-7 in the opening 20 minutes to grab a 2-1 lead.

Carolina hopped out to a two-goal lead with scores by Cullen and Scott Walker less than two minutes apart.

Cullen notched his 12th of the season with the teams playing four-on-four. Sergei Samsonov hit a streaking Joe Corvo, whose blast was tipped past Josh Harding by Cullen midway through the first.

Staal’s length-of-the-ice rush and wraparound attempt made Harding an easy target for Walker, who had an open net to shoot at for his ninth of the season. Staal’s assist was his seventh point in the last three games.

The Wild avoided a total first-period disaster when it scored just after Sean Hill left the penalty box as the result of a breakdown from the Carolina defense.   

Dennis Seidenberg returned after missing 20 games with an ankle injury and played with Glen Wesley on defense, logging close to 21 minutes.   

“It has been a long grind for Dennis,” Laviolette said. “He’s been sore, not being able to do what he wants to do as far as training. He got thrown into a situation tonight where it was a playoff atmosphere and he played a pretty strong game. He was strong on the puck and strong on the body.”

The Canes get a day off Friday before taking on Buffalo at the RBC Center on Saturday night.

“It is a well-deserved day off,” Laviolette said. “I just think the most important thing is to find rest at this point. In back-to-back games you ask them to expend everything they had and they did that, so they get rewarded for that.”

NOTES: Wesley tied Tim Horton for sixth all-time in games played (1,446) by a defenseman. … Whitney missed his third game with a leg injury. … Hedican was out for personal reasons. … Staal has points in eight of his last 11 games. … Cullen now has 47 points, two shy of his career high set two seasons ago with Carolina. …  Samsonov has five points in his last three games. … The Canes have scored a power-play goal in each of the last four games.

scoring summary
1st Period
12:30
CAR
Matt Cullen (12) ASST: Joe Corvo (26), Sergei Samsonov (16)
1 - 0 CAR
14:09
CAR
Scott Walker (9) ASST: Eric Staal (32), Keith Aucoin (7)
2 - 0 CAR
18:02
MIN
Pavol Demitra (15) ASST: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (43), Brian Rolston (22)
2 - 1 CAR
2nd Period
00:19
MIN
Mikko Koivu (10) ASST: Aaron Voros (7), Marian Gaborik (34)
2 - 2 Tie
09:41
CAR
PPG - Erik Cole (19) ASST: Matt Cullen (35), Joe Corvo (27)
3 - 2 CAR
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
11:45
CAR
Eric Staal  Hooking against  Nick Schultz
11:59
MIN
Pavol Demitra  Hooking against  Trevor Letowski
15:19
MIN
Sean Hill  Interference against  Wade Brookbank
15:19
MIN
Todd Fedoruk  Fighting (maj) against  Tim Conboy
15:19
CAR
Tim Conboy  Fighting (maj) against  Todd Fedoruk
2nd Period
03:03
CAR
Matt Cullen  Hooking against  Brian Rolston
09:11
MIN
Keith Carney  Slashing against  Patrick Eaves
12:29
CAR
Tim Conboy  Hooking against  Pierre-Marc Bouchard
16:33
CAR
Tim Gleason  Roughing against  Kim Johnsson
3rd Period
03:17
CAR
Tim Gleason  Slashing against  Pierre-Marc Bouchard
05:59
CAR
Scott Walker  Game misconduct against  Keith Carney
05:59
CAR
Erik Cole  Fighting (maj) against  Aaron Voros
05:59
CAR
Erik Cole  Misconduct (10 min)
05:59
CAR
Erik Cole  Instigator against  Aaron Voros
05:59
CAR
Erik Cole  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Aaron Voros
05:59
MIN
Keith Carney  Game misconduct against  Scott Walker
05:59
MIN
Aaron Voros  Fighting (maj) against  Erik Cole
05:59
MIN
Aaron Voros  Boarding (maj) against  Eric Staal
07:47
MIN
Eric Belanger  Holding against  Matt Cullen
16:48
CAR
Joe Corvo  Holding against  Brian Rolston
19:06
MIN
Aaron Voros  Hooking against  Eric Staal
19:56
MIN
Nick Schultz  Roughing against  Sergei Samsonov
19:56
CAR
Sergei Samsonov  Cross checking against  Nick Schultz
goalie stats
Josh Harding
Josh Harding
SA: 28TOI: 59:44
Saves: 25EV: 20 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .893SH: 2 - 2
Cam Ward
SA: 28TOI: 60:00
Saves: 26EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .929SH: 1 - 1