|OTT||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|CAR||2||1||2||(0 - 0)||5|
Joe Corvo spent the better part of an hour before Sunday’s game fighting back emotions as he prepared to face the team that traded him away Feb. 11. The defenseman was able to let his feelings fly with 2:10 left after notching the first hat trick of his career in a 5-1 victory over Ottawa.
“When I get excited my mind starts to race, so it was a battle to get to the first shift, but once I got to the first shift and made some good plays I really calmed down,” said Corvo.
Calm enough to almost single-handedly dump his former club as Carolina dispatched of an undisciplined Ottawa Senators team by outshooting them 32-17. The Sens took 12 minor penalties and allowed three power-play goals for the second time in the last 11 games.
“That’s the most you’ll see out of me for a goal, all those fist pumps,” Corvo said as hats cascaded onto the ice. “I usually don’t do that, but I had to there. I had to do it.”
Former Ottawa winger Patrick Eaves also scored against his former team as Carolina remained one of the hottest club in the NHL, going 12-3-1 in its last 16 to remain five points ahead in the Southeast Division with eight games left – all against division foes.
Carolina rebounded from a 7-1 loss at Buffalo to win for the sixth time in the last seven.
“It was real important to put that out of our minds,” Corvo said. “That was a beating. You can’t hang on to games like that. You just have to leave them there.”
The Canes held the highest-scoring team in the league to one goal and 10 shots through 40 minutes en route to a 3-1 lead.
Corvo then iced it in the third period with his second power-play goal of the game 2:09 in and scored again with 2:10 left as the Canes improved to 12-1-1 in their last 14 at the RBC Center.
“I was thinking I was going to get in,” Corvo said of his third goal after taking a feed from Tuomo Ruutu. “I was thinking shoot, and then he gave me a poke check so I just dragged it across and put something on net.”
“There were a lot of happy guys in there,” coach Peter Laviolette said when asked if anyone in the locker room was happier than Corvo. “Everybody really paid the price, whether it was blocking shots or fighting, sticking up for each other. Our time and space was outstanding. We were on a mission to get to their net. We definitely were on our toes. It was a steady, steady 60 minutes.”
Eric Staal led a 3-on-2 breakout early in the second period that resulted in Scott Walker’s 12th of the season and a 3-1 lead. Walker beat Martin Gerber after taking a cross-ice pass from Tim Gleason as the trailer. Gleason made a nice pass on the play, waiting for the Ottawa defensemen to clear before sending the pass over to Walker instead of a covered Staal in the slot.
Staal’s three assists give him 15 points in the last seven games as he climbs the NHL scoring charts. The Carolina All-Star, who played in his 246th straight game, has 73 points in 74 games.
“Eric has been outstanding,” Laviolette said of Staal, who had a game-high eight shots. “He’s a guy we’re counting on right now. He’s taking the most minutes, taking on the most situations on the team and there is no question he has responded.
“He’s shown an awful lot of resolve. When adversity hits you really show yourself,” the coach added. “It doesn’t always necessarily mean a good showing, but for Eric it has been an outstanding showing.”
Carolina fell behind three minutes in after allowing a 5-on-3 goal, but the Hurricanes stormed back to score two power-play goals of their own to grab a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Eaves scored his first in a Carolina uniform when he tipped in a point shot from Frank Kaberle seven minutes in, then Corvo notched his 10th of the season on a blast through a screen.
Corvo switched sticks a few games ago to a stiffer shaft and says his shot has increased about 5 mph.
“I’m kind of a stronger guy and I can handle that type of stick, I can lean into it,” he said.
Both Carolina man-advantage goals came with former Hurricanes defenseman Mike Commodore off for penalties. The Canes went through a power-play drought from Feb. 2-21, going without a man-advantage goal in nine of 10. Since then, Carolina has at least one power-play goal in eight of 10.
“It’s a business, but you mark games like this on your calendar,” Corvo said.
“If a team trades you away they didn’t want you for whatever reasons,” added Eaves. “Yeah, you want to play especially good and Joe was awesome tonight, so that was pretty cool.”
NOTES: The Canes finished the regular-season 12-6-2 against the Northeast Division. … Walker now has 12 points in his last 11 games. … Carolina is one win shy of its third straight 40-win season. … Staal has multi-point games in five of his last seven and is averaging 5.4 shots on goal over his last eight.
|PPG - Dany Heatley (36) Tip-in - ASST: Jason Spezza (53), Cory Stillman (37)|
1 - 0 OTT
|PPG - Patrick Eaves (5) Deflected shot - ASST: Frantisek Kaberle (19), Scott Walker (17)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Joe Corvo (10) Slapshot - ASST: Sergei Samsonov (18), Eric Staal (37)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Scott Walker (12) Snap shot - ASST: Tim Gleason (14), Eric Staal (38)|
3 - 1 CAR
|PPG - Joe Corvo (11) Slapshot - ASST: Sergei Samsonov (19), Eric Staal (39)|
4 - 1 CAR
|Joe Corvo (12) Backhand shot - ASST: Tuomo Ruutu (19)|
5 - 1 CAR
|Niclas Wallin Interference against Christoph Schubert|
|Tuomo Ruutu Hooking against Cory Stillman|
|Mike Commodore Boarding against Tuomo Ruutu|
|Tim Conboy Fighting (maj) against Martin Lapointe|
|Martin Lapointe Fighting (maj) against Tim Conboy|
|Joe Jensen Boarding against Christoph Schubert|
|Shean Donovan Interference against Keith Aucoin|
|Mike Commodore Holding against Erik Cole|
|Dean McAmmond Holding against Tim Conboy|
|Mike Fisher Hooking against Ryan Bayda|
|Ryan Bayda Boarding against Chris Kelly|
|Jason Spezza Hooking against Tim Gleason|
|Anton Volchenkov Interference against Eric Staal|
|Dany Heatley Tripping against Dennis Seidenberg|
|Christoph Schubert Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Wade Redden Cross checking against Keith Aucoin|
|Tim Gleason Cross checking against Daniel Alfredsson|
|Mike Fisher Tripping against Tuomo Ruutu|
|Anton Volchenkov Roughing against Eric Staal|
|Eric Staal Roughing against Anton Volchenkov|
|Erik Cole Roughing against Anton Volchenkov|