The Carolina Hurricanes fought back from a three-goal deficit to make it to overtime and earn a point against the Edmonton Oilers tonight, but fell in the extra stanza 5-4.
Taylor Hall got the scoring started when he converted on the rush off a Hurricane turnover in the neutral zone. Ron Hainsey‘s pass to Jordan Staal could not be handled and the Oilers were able to play the puck to Hall, who snapped a shot past Ward on a 2-on-1.
Five minutes later, Tuomo Ruutu evened the score when he scored on his own rebound on the power-play. Jeff Skinner played a slap pass to Ruutu in the slot, which gave the Finn two opportunities at shots on net.
The rest of the first period was one to forget for the Hurricanes as Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored to extend the Oilers lead by two. Yakupov scored on a 2-on-1 through Ward’s five-hole, which the goalie should have had. Nugent-Hopkins scored off of a neutral zone turnover also.
Jesse Joensuu continued the Oiler’s momentum in the second with the team’s fourth of the game off a cycle play in the Canes zone that left the former Islander open in the slot.
In the third period, Eric Staal scored short-handed to bring the Canes within one.
After killing off the penalty, Jeff Skinner caused a turnover on the Oilers’ blueline before scoring the game-tying goal with five minutes left in the game to force overtime.
Justin Faulk boarded Nugent-Hopkins in overtime, which resulted in a two-minute power-play for the Oilers. Jordan Eberle scored almost two minutes into the extra stanza to win the game on a pass from below the slot that caught Ward out of position.
The first period really did the Hurricanes in. They looked tired throughout the 20 minutes and were lucky to come out of the stanza with a goal. The fatigue led to some mistakes that resulted in goals.
However, the team did look better as the game moved on. If the Hurricanes didn’t let up a goal in the second period, it would have been a successful one, while the third period was obviously a great one for the team.
The defense had its share of troubles tonight, specifically Tim Gleason, Jay Harrison and Ryan Murphy. Harrison and Gleason had trouble getting the puck out of their own end, while Murphy was caught out of position plenty of times throughout the game. Ron Hainsey also looked weak at the start of the game, but eventually returned to his natural form by the third period.
Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal looked great tonight as both are improving day in and day out lately.
Ward should have had the Oilers’ second goal and looked shaky in the first period, but then made the important saves in the third period to allow the Hurricanes to get to overtime. Overall, it was a decent game for the 30-year-old, who probably wants that second goal back.
The Canes are likely to be disappointed by this one. They fought back to near victory, but couldn’t hang on as the Oilers scored in overtime. But fighting back from three goals is never an easy thing to do, especially in the second game in two nights. The Hurricanes need to take this loss and grow for their next game on Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.