The Carolina Hurricanes failed to hold a late lead and ended up losing the game and valuable point in the standings when they fell to the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday.
It was a disappointing start to a critical five-game road trip for the Hurricanes who are in the thick of the race for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie Jeff Skinner scored a pair of power play goals for the Canes while Cam Ward made 31 saves, but it wasn’t enough to stop the red hot Devils who got a two scores from rookie Mattias Tedenby including the game winner at 2:42 of overtime.
Neither team started out strong in the first period but Ward kept the game scoreless by making a pair of saves on breakaways by New Jersey’s Patrick Elias.
Skinner finally broke the ice at the 9:22 mark of the second period with a shot that beat Johan Hedberg from a bad angle just inside the left circle.
Tedenby tied it up just 2:09 later off a pretty pass by Jason Arnott but Skinner’s second goal of the night midway through the third period made it 2-1 Carolina. The goal came just six seconds after Anton Volchenkov went to the penalty box for shooting the puck over the glass.
The Hurricanes held on to their lead until 2:54 remained when Nick Palmieri put home the rebound of an Ilya Kovalchuk shot on his backhand.
“When you have a lead like that, you’re supposed to win the game,” said Skinner, who scored his 20th goal of the season. “We didn’t play a sharp game tonight. The puck was bouncing everywhere. They have a lot of talent and they’re playing a solid style of hockey right now.”
In overtime, both Carolina defensemen backed up and followed Travis Zajac while letting Tedenby skate in and get a clean shot from the slot that beat Ward high on the stick side.
The good news for the Canes is that they now are in sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is they easily could have had two points in the standings tonight instead of one.
Carolina returns to action Thursday night when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.
Volchenkov was called for a elbowing the head of Zach Boychuk late in the first period. Expect a probable suspension for this blow to the head.
About the Author
Written by Brad Kurtzberg
Hockey writer for more than 10 years. Has been published on Fox Sports, MSG Network, Huffington Post and Inside Hockey. Wrote the book, "Shorthanded: The Untold Story of the Seals, Hockey's Most Colorful Team" on the old California Golden Seals and is presently working on his second book.