The Hurricanes won in a shootout. No, that’s not a really late April Fool’s joke. Cam Ward stopped all three Canadien shooters and Eric Staal won the game in the final frame of the shootout. Ward had 30 saves to capture his 30th win of the season. Montreal started off strong and played a good road first period, outshooting the Canes 11-6. Both teams took several penalties in the first period, with 5 whistles being blown during the first frame. Carolina and Montreal looked sloppy and it took some time for both teams to get their feet underneath them.
Montreal struck at 4:32 of the second period as Blake Geoffrion scored his second of the year on a wraparound attempt after Ward gave up a rebound. Carolina was able to get on the scoreboard about five and a half minutes later on the power play as Chad LaRose hacked and whacked a puck behind Peter Budaj to tie the game at one. It was LaRose’s 19th of the season. Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen had the assists on the play. Cam Ward was able to keep the Canes in it as he made two spectacular saves within the next several minutes, including one on David Desharnais and another on Tomas Plekanec. Both teams headed to the locker room tied at 1 at the end of the second period. Shots on goal were in favor of the Canes 13-8 at the end of the second period
Towards the end of the third period, the Canes started to come off of their discipline a bit, which resulted in a lengthy power play for the Canadiens (including a 4-on-3 session), but the penalty kill stood strong. Jaroslav Spacek, Chad LaRose and Tim Gleason all got the gate within the final 3 minutes of the game, with Gleason’s penalty extending into overtime. Ward and the penalty killers stood up strong again, but the Canadiens were able to out shoot the Canes 4-0 in OT. As the game went to the shoot out, you could almost hear the “here we go again” from the 17,836 Caniacs at the PNC Arena. Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen were stopped by Budaj in the first two rounds. Former Hurricane Erik Cole could have put the Canadiens ahead in the shootout, but his shot rang off the post as former teammate and good friend Cam Ward took away most of the net. Eric Staal had the game on his stick and was able to get one past Peter Budaj to give the Canes a 2-1 victory. The Hurricanes saluted the crowd before heading back to the locker room as Caniacs headed home happy.
Further notes and Observations:
- The Carolina penalty kill was huge in the game, going 7 for 7. Chad LaRose scored the only power play goal for both teams, as the Canes went 1-6 on the power play.
- Jay Harrison and Tuomo Ruutu led the Canes with 3 hits each as the team had 17 for the game.
- Only four Hurricanes players have played all 80 games this season. They are Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason.
- The three stars of the game according to Fox Sports Carolinas: Third – Chad LaRose; Second – Eric Staal; First – Cam Ward