The Carolina Hurricanes were looking to snap a 2-game losing streak as they entered the Prudential Center to play the New Jersey Devils last night, who was looking to go on a 3-game winning streak. It was a goaltending battle early in the first period, as Cam Ward and Martin Brodeur made some spectacular saves. Brodeur faced 11 shots in the period while Cam Ward faced 16. Anthony Stewart took Carolina’s first penalty of the night, a slashing penalty, at 9:19 in the first. Just a few seconds later, Brandon Sutter took a misplayed puck by Patrick Elias and broke out on a 2-on-1 with Patrick Dwyer and snapped a wrist shot from inside the right circle past Martin Brodeur at 9:27 to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. It was Sutter’s second short-handed goal of the season and fourth overall. Later on in the power play, Brandon Sutter made a beautiful pass to Patrick Dwyer wide open in the slot area in front of the net, but Brodeur got a piece of Dwyer’s backhanded shot. The Devils were still on the power play when Jay Harrison took a hooking call at 10:56 to give the Devils a 5-on-3 for 24 seconds. The Canes power play for the rest of the power play was tenacious, including several blocked shots by Bryan Allen, Tim Gleason and Jiri Tlusty. The team registered only 4 blocked shots for the game, but seemed like they were able to take away several lanes and make Cam Ward see the puck relatively easy during the first.
The second period for the Hurricanes was underwhelming as they seemed to take the foot off of the gas. The Devils came on strong and managed to pepper Cam Ward with 10 shots on goal in the period, to only 7 shots for Carolina. At 10:56 of the period, Volchenkov took a pass from Elias and one-timed it to the net and Dainius Zubrus stuck his stick blade up (apparently just under the cross bar) from the edge right circle and tipped the puck in the net. The play was reviewed for a relatively lengthy time and determined that Zubrus’ stick was indeed under the crossbar and determined that the goal would stick. Carolina got a late period power play, which would have given them huge momentum headed to the locker room if they scored, but registered only 1 shot on goal on the abbreviated power play. Former Cane Ryan Carter was all over the ice on the penalty kill, and both teams went to the locker room after the second period tied at 1.
Unfortunately for the Canes, it did not take long for New Jersey to crack Cam Ward in the period as Brandon Sutter lost a draw to Patrick Elias and Petr Sykora wristed a shot past Ward, who got a piece of it, but not enough. The Devils then came on strong and Ward was able to make some good saves to keep his team in the game. Carolina was able to make a comeback, however, as Jamie McBain took a pass from Zach Boychuk, sent it to Joni Pitkanen along the half-wall, who put the puck on net and it deflected off of Adam Henrique’s stick and past Martin Brodeur at 6:06. It was Pitkanen’s third goal of the season and Zach Boychuk’s first point of the season. The teams exchanged great chances for the next 10 minutes or so, until the 16:41 mark where Zubrus won a battle along the board and Henrique took a wrap-around Ward’s net and sneaked it past Ward, with the assist of Bryan Allen’s stick, which helped elevate the puck. The last 90 seconds or so was a mess for Carolina, who couldn’t get the puck out of their zone to get Cam Ward out of his own net for the sixth attacker. The Canes took two icings in the final minute, which shouldn’t happen to a team trying to come back and tie up the game. New Jersey ended up victorious 3-2. The shots on goal at the end of the game were 36-27 in favor of the Devils.
Some other observations:
- Carolina got destroyed on face-offs and at key times. They ended up winning only 32% of their face-offs for the game.
- Tim Gleason ended up with four hits. No shocker there. The game wasn’t overly physical, but the Canes did outhit the Devils 18-8.
- Eric Staal had one of his better games in a while, being paired with Jeff Skinner. I’m not sure if this line will stick, especially with Jussi Jokinen possibly returning to the line-up on Friday.
- There was some discussion between 99.9 FM’s Mike Maniscalco and TV play-by-play man John Forslund on the Aftermath yesterday about changes to the line-up, specifically the possibility of sitting Tomas Kaberle for a game and playing both Jamie McBain and Derek Joslin. We’ll see.