Today the Canes proved that sometimes “power play” is the world’s biggest misnomer as they failed to convert seven out of eight times, falling to the Ottawa Senators 4-3. This afternoon’s contest got off to a shaky start for the Hurricanes when less than a minute into the first, Jason Spezza received a Sergei Gonchar pass, flew down the middle beating Chad LaRose, and Tim Gleason then slipped the puck around the right side of Cam Ward. This was Spezza’s first goal since October 29th, and it was not to be his last of the day.
The Canes collected themselves after that first minute shocker and finally got on the score sheet at the 15:03 mark with a snap shot by the ever-hustling Patrick Dwyer. Getting a pass from Brett Sutter, Dwyer powered down the right side of the ice and just as he was about to run out of rink he popped a shot off beating keeper Craig Anderson on the left side.
Exactly two minutes later the tide would turn back the Senators’ way as Jason Spezza struck again. Thanks to a boarding penalty by the other Sutter, Brandon, the Sens found themselves in the man advantage. Once again Gonchar would be the one to dish the puck to Spezza who lifted it past Cam Ward. This was Spezza’s 200th even-strength NHL goal. You’re welcome.
Frustrations started to show at the end of the first as Jeff Skinner took a bad penalty for slashing. It looked like Skinny was going to redeem himself and put another point on the board in the second, but Anderson made an amazing glove save that frankly was very Ward-esque. If he wasn’t playing for the opposition I might even say it was a beauty.
Jason Spezza was not the only one to end a scoreless streak during the matchup as David Rundblad, fourteen games scoreless, fired in a shot from the point as Zenon Konopka was screening Cam Ward and standing by for any cleanup. It wouldn’t be necessary as the Runblad shot went in bringing the score to Ottawa 3, Hurricanes 1 at the end of the second. It was Runblad’s first NHL goal. You’re welcome.
The Hurricanes were down but amazingly not out and kept plugging away through the third. Joni Pitkanen, making his return tonight after an eight game absence for a lower body injury, took his usual spot at the point firing off a shot. The shot missed but Eric Staal was at the right side of the net to scoop in the garbage goal bringing the Canes within one.
The Sens answered back with a little over seven minutes left on the clock when the Canes found themselves out of position and Zack Smith made it impossible for Cam Ward to say “no” popping in a wrister in front of the net. Down 4-2 the Canes kept going and got what was to be the only power play goal of the night as Alexei Ponikarovsky was there to pick up a rebound off a Chad LaRose attempt. Seventh try is the charm. But that was to be the last goal scored for the evening even though the Canes were given an eighth power play opportunity but came up with nothing.
The Hurricanes certainly kept Craig Anderson working as he saw thirty-seven shots on goal for the night to Ottowa’s twenty-five on Cam Ward. This was just one of those games where the shots would just not go in for the good guys. The Canes also fell victim again to a quick whistle when the referee lost site of the puck on what looked to be a goal by Tuomo Ruutu. The puck wasn’t visible because it was sliding underneath the goalie on its way across the goal line but a whistle is a whistle. It would be easy to blame the loss on the call, but the anemic power play is what led to the fall of the Hurricanes.
Derek Joslin showed his mettle getting in a scrap with Colin Greening in the first. The young blueliner was obviously capitalizing on his opportunity to show his stuff as Tomas Kaberle spent the game as the healthy scratch.
Observations from the couch:
- In the spirit of giving, those power plays were wrapped up in shiny paper with a bow for the Hurricanes but they could just not convert.
- That being said, it was great to see Joni Pitkanen back in the lineup and quarterbacking the power play and frankly the defense in general.
- Brian Boucher spent part of the game sitting in a chair behind the bench by the corridor after another wayward puck headed towards him. That should have been an omen.
- The anthem singer actually did a really nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It’s nice not to get the 33 1/3 version. For you whippersnappers that means “fast.”
- Tonight the Hurricanes’ dads, and in some cases brothers or fathers-in-law, were in attendance. There was a nice interview with John Dwyer, Patrick’s dad. The younger Dwyer had told Bob Harwood earlier that he had a strict military upbringing, which taught him the importance of routines off the ice.
- Chad LaRose’s dad Grant beamed with pride when talking about his son and when he got the call from Chad that he was going to play in his first NHL game.
- Dad of Chad was a soft-spoken fellow and we learned the chatting gene came from Chad’s mom who was said to swing a hockey stick at young 59 to get him to behave!
- Henry Staal talked about his sons for the 600th time while on his fourteenth Dads’ Trip. (Well one of those numbers is real.)
- Why do we have to be so polite? The Hurricanes have taken Southern hospitality too far. It’s not rude to score on the power play! Honest! And it’s ok to deny a young gun his first NHL goal! Let another team get the credit! Ok?
- I don’t know what we need to do but someone’s got to put a tourniquet on this bleeding. Let’s hope it doesn’t lead to gangrene.
Next up for the Hurricanes? The revamped and revitalized Florida Panthers come to the RBC Center on Tuesday. They are currently trailing only Boston and Pittsburgh in the standings at 6-3-1 in their last ten while the Canes are 3-6-1.
Topics: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Brian Boucher, Cam Ward, Chad LaRose, Colin Greening, David Rundblad, Derek Joslin, Eric Staal, Florida Panthers, Grant LaRose, Henry Staal, Hurricanes Dads' Trip, Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Dwyer, Quick Whistle, Sergei Gonchar, Tim Gleason, Tomas Kaberle, Tuomo Ruutu, Zack Smith, Zenon Konopka