|ATL||0||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|CAR||0||1||0||1||(0 - 0)||2|
The Canes will carry a little momentum into their European trip thanks to a 2-1 overtime win over Atlanta at the RBC Center.
Brandon Sutter provided all the offense with both goals for Carolina on Friday afternoon, while Cam Ward made 30 saves for his second consecutive stellar performance just hours before the team departs on the long flight to St. Petersburg, Russia.
“It’s a lot more fun traveling after a win than a loss, so I think we’re really excited about that,” said Sutter.
It looked as though Ward would repeat his perfect performance against these same Thrashers from last week, but Atlanta’s Nik Antropov finally broke the goaltenders’ 119-minute shutout streak with Thrashers’ netminder Ondrej Pavelec pulled for an extra attacker at 18:57 of the third period.
While he may not have stopped that one, Ward certainly did his job in goal. Whether it was his sprawling save on Bryan Little in the first period, his breakaway stop on Evander Kane in the second, his blanking of both Atlanta skaters in a third-period two-on-one or the on-his-back kick save in overtime, the Canes’ franchise stopper had plenty of highlights to choose from.
“I felt really good out there,” said Ward. “These last couple of games I’ve felt really comfortable in the net.”
“He had three or four points in the game where he made big saves to keep it at zero,” said coach Paul Maurice. “His last two starts, he’s looked right on.”
Although he ended up with the winner thanks to his overtime effort, for a long while it seemed as though Sutter’s first goal on a second-period power play would be all the home team would need. After rookie Jeff Skinner drew a holding penalty thanks to his hard work against Antropov on the boards as he entered the offensive zone, Joe Corvo’s point shot was redirected by the Canes’ new alternate captain for a 1-0 lead.
Skinner, who had the lone goal in the teams’ meeting last week, did not find the score sheet in this contest but continued to show signs of his potential. He nearly scored the game’s first goal in the opening period, but instead fanned on a loose puck in the slot just after a Hurricanes’ power play had expired.
“He’s just not that far off from scoring big goals,” said Maurice.
After the game, the Canes’ coach suggested that Skinner could have a future playing on the top line with Eric Staal, which was a pairing that appeared in overtime.
“My first look at (Skinner) was in the prospects camp (in Traverse City), and he’s very close to doing the exact same things at this level that he was doing there,” said Maurice. “I think it’s a matter of comfort and time, but I think he’s going to be able to do that this year.”
The post-game locker room was cluttered with equipment bags as the team leaves to catch the roughly 11-hour flight to Russia. The Canes will play their final preseason game against the Kontinental Hockey League’s SKA St. Petersburg on Monday.
Once that game has concluded, it’s on to Helsinki where the Hurricanes will open their regular season with two contests against the Minnesota Wild.
“Last night when I went to sleep, that was the first time that I actually started thinking about it because last summer it was so far away,” said Tuomo Ruutu, a native of the Helsinki area. “Now I can feel it and I’m really excited to go there.”
|PPG - Brandon Sutter Tip-in - ASST: Joe Corvo , Joni Pitkanen|
1 - 0 CAR
|Nik Antropov Wrist shot - ASST: Bryan Little , Chris Thorburn|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brandon Sutter Deflected shot - ASST: Erik Cole , Jamie McBain|
2 - 1 CAR
|Chad LaRose Hooking - 2 min against Zach Bogosian|
|Joni Pitkanen Head butting - 2 min against Bryan Little|
|Arturs Kulda Tripping - Obstruction - 2 min against Chad LaRose|
|Arturs Kulda Head butting - 2 min against Brandon Sutter|
|Brett Carson Tripping - Obstruction - 2 min against Evander Kane|
|Nik Antropov Head butting - 2 min against Jeff Skinner|
|Evander Kane Tripping - Obstruction - 2 min against Eric Staal|
|SA: 30||TOI: 60:43|
|GA: 2||SV%: .933|
|SA: 31||TOI: 61:06|
|GA: 1||SV%: .968|