|FLA||1||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||4|
|CAR||1||0||2||0||(0 - 0)||3|
After a strong two-goal, third-period comeback against the Florida Panthers, it seemed there was no way the Hurricanes would lose. That made the loss that much more surprising.
With the Canes seemingly holding all the momentum, the Panthers’ Bryan Allen beat Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward at 1:16 in overtime to seal a 4-3 win Monday night in Raleigh. Although the Canes still earned a point for the fourth consecutive game, the loss snapped their three-game winning streak.
In contrast to the flurry of chances that the home team generated in the second half of a third period that saw them out-shoot Florida 16-6 and score goals through Zach Boychuk and Jay Harrison, Allen’s winner came on a slap shot from along the boards that didn’t appear particularly dangerous until it went in.
“Cam was probably screened by our d-man, but he was up high enough and it was just a shot at the net,” said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. “It was probably the poorest chance at either end for the last 25 minutes.”
For much of the night, it looked as though there wouldn’t be nearly that much drama in this contest when wide-open former Hurricane Cory Stillman scored from the slot at the 5:11 mark of the third period to make it 3-1. With the Canes not able to generate much offense outside of Zac Dalpe’s opening goal in the first period, his second in two games since his recall from Charlotte of the American Hockey League this past Friday, that cushion seemed like more than enough.
“I didn’t think we were hungry enough around their net and I didn’t think we were grinding fast enough and were looking for perimeter plays,” said Maurice of his team’s first two periods. “I also so think that (Florida) right now is playing at the peak of their game.”
The momentum changed when another recent recall, winger Zach Boychuk, netted his third goal of the season just 54 seconds after Stillman’s tally with a strong move from behind the net that found its way through an Erik Cole screen. From then on, it was all Hurricanes as Harrison scored his first of the season on a feed from Cole to tie the score and the Canes generated several other near-miss chances to regain the lead.
“It’s extremely disappointing not to be able to finish it off, but there were a lot of positives as well,” said Harrison, a defenseman who Maurice later praised for his quietly solid year in his own end but is not known for his offense. “We’ve got to take that and build and build.”
“I liked the fact that we were able to fight back in the game,” said Maurice.
Other than the Hurricanes’ first goal, which came when winger Troy Bodie pressured Florida goaltender Scott Clemmensen in a puck-handling situation behind the net before sending a centering pass that went in off Dalpe’s skate, scoring chances for the home team were sparse until Maurice made a few key line changes in the third period.
Most significantly, he put Boychuk, whose intensity away from the play he had criticized in the past, onto the top line with Cole and Eric Staal – an experiment that lasted just one shift in last week’s win in Toronto but paid much higher dividends against Florida.
“When (Boychuk) competes like that, I want to make sure he gets that feedback from the coach that it’s ice time,” said Maurice. “He’s going to make mistakes, everyone does, but he’s figured it out that the NHL game is different from junior and it’s different from the American Hockey League. He’s learning to compete without the puck, and I like watching him play.”
“It feels good to produce when you’re moved up on the top line like that,” said the 21-year-old Boychuk, who was tied for second in AHL scoring at the time of his Dec. 17 recall. “I’ve just got to keep playing solid defensively, playing physical and doing the things that got me there.”
Another change lifted Dalpe from the fourth line onto Boychuk’s old spot on the third unit. Sergei Samsonov, who started the game on the first line with Staal and Cole, moved to the fourth line and was not on the ice with the Canes pressing for the winner.
“I thought we had a couple of guys looking for the easy offensive night, so we tried to shuffle them off and get the other guys going,” said Maurice. “If we’re protecting a lead you may make different decisions, but when we’re running we’ve got to run with that speed and youth.
“At the end of the day, if we’re going to struggle we might as well do it with some kids learning and getting better than getting beat off the walls and things like that.”
The Hurricanes will face these same Panthers again in Florida this Friday, but will first make a trip to New York to play the Rangers – two teams that are near the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We had some momentum going and it feels like we lost some, but hopefully we can take the positives out of this game,” said Cole. “It’s still an important week for us.”
NOTES: Despite the loss, Carolina is 25-5-3 all-time against Florida at the RBC Center … Monday’s game saw six total penalties called and just four power plays, fitting for teams ranked first (Florida) and fifth (Carolina) for fewest penalty minutes … Staal tied Niclas Wallin for eighth in franchise history with his 517th game played. He tied Wallin for fourth in Hurricanes history … With a goal and an assist on Dennis Wideman’s first-period tally, Stillman now has 32 points in 29 career games against Carolina … Florida goal-scorer Chris Higgins missed most of the third period after a bizarre third-period play in which he and Carolina’s Tim Gleason collided and earned coincidental four-minute double-minors for high sticking
|Zac Dalpe (2) ASST: Troy Bodie (3)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Dennis Wideman (3) ASST: Cory Stillman (6), Radek Dvorak (6)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Chris Higgins (7) ASST: Dmitry Kulikov (7), Michael Frolik (16)|
2 - 1 FLA
|Cory Stillman (4) ASST: Mike Santorelli (8), Evgenii Dadonov (7)|
3 - 1 FLA
|Zach Boychuk (3) ASST: Erik Cole (9), Eric Staal (20)|
3 - 2 FLA
|Jay Harrison (1) ASST: Erik Cole (10), Jamie McBain (11)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Bryan Allen (3) ASST: Shawn Matthias (8), Michael Frolik (17)|
4 - 3 FLA
|Dmitry Kulikov Holding against Troy Bodie|
|Jason Garrison Tripping against Jeff Skinner|
|Tim Gleason Tripping against Radek Dvorak|
|Tim Gleason Hi stick - double minor against Chris Higgins|
|Chris Higgins Hi stick - double minor against Tim Gleason|
|Marty Reasoner Hooking against Tuomo Ruutu|
|SA: 37||TOI: 61:16|
|Saves: 34||EV: 27 - 30|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .919||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 28||TOI: 60:51|
|Saves: 24||EV: 20 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .857||SH: 1 - 1|