This loss hurt. The Carolina Hurricanes could have tied the New York Ranges for seventh place in the East with a win at home Tuesday night. They led the game 3-2 with two minutes left in regulation only to see the Rangers Wojtek Wolski tie the game with 1:50 remaining in regulation and then win it in the shootout.
The Canes wasted a strong performance by goalie Cam Ward who made 43 saves in the game plus two in the shootout. Ward’s heroics masked a weak defensive performance by Carolina who gave the Rangers too many chances which they eventually took advantage of.
Jussi Jokinen scored twice for the Canes while Jay Harrison scored and added an assist and Erik Cole had two helpers to pace the Carolina attack.
Despite the loss, Coach Paul Maurice tried to emphasize the positives he could take from the game and the one point his team earned for their effort. “We lost a game at home in overtime, and we’ll take the good out of it and move on to the next game,” Maurice said. “We’re not going to beat these guys up after every loss. This time of year is all about conserving all of your positiveness and confidence and keeping it even when you don’t get the result you want.”
The Rangers opened the scoring when Brandon Prust scored at the 2:08 mark. Harrison evened the score with 3:25 left in the first period.
Ryan Callahan gave the Rangers the lead with just 14 seconds left in the second period when he scored a power play goal. That served as a bad omen for the Hurricanes who have won only twice all season when trailing after two periods.
If the Canes were discouraged, they didn’t let it show. Jokinen scored twice in a span of 2:38 early in the third period to give Carolina a 3-2 lead.
But when they needed it most, the Hurricanes team defense failed to tighten up. They allowed the Rangers 14 shots on goal in the third period and simply permitted too many quality scoring chances. It all led to Wolski’s tying goal with 1:50 left in regulation.
After a scoreless overtime, Ward and the Canes would have to battle one of the NHL’s best shootout goalies in New York’s Henrik Lundqvist. Jeff Skinner, Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov failed to score for Carolina. Ward stopped Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello of the Rangers before Wolski lifted a wrist shot over Ward’s shoulder for the game winning tally.
The point puts the Hurricanes five points ahead of Buffalo and Atlanta in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference although the Sabres have three games in hand.
Carolina returns to the ice Friday when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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.