Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/07/09 at 12:23 AM ET
On Wednesday night, Carolina had a chance to take a lead in the series with Boston. They had the same opportunity in game three of the series with New Jersey, but the Devils prevailed in overtime. This game went to overtime, and the Caniacs held their collective breath for the umpteenth time this playoff season. Jussi Jokinen pulled through for the Canes, potting the game winner at 2:48 of the fourth period.
Milan Lucic poked one in from close range at 8:43 to give the visitors an early lead. Dennis Wideman’s shot hit Canes defenseman Tim Gleason down low and the puck fell to Lucic, who scored his first goal of the postseason. Marc Savard picked up the secondary assist.
There was no other scoring in the first period, bu the Canes had the decided edge in game play. The shots were 12 to 8 and Carolina had the only power play of the period.
It was getting late in the second and it looked like the period might end just like that. However, the Canes struck twice in quick succession, and just like that, they had the lead.
While Michael Ryder was in the box for interference, Eric Staal put the game on his back. He took advantage of Steve Montador’s turnover below the Boston goal line, skated out to the right circle, and fired it in from there. The unassisted goal was the seventh of the postseason for Staal. Quickly, the stat came up that the Canes were 5-0 when Staal scored in the postseason. And they were something like 23-2-2 when he scored in the regular season. The time of the goal was 16:49. It was Carolina’s first power play goal of the series and the first Boston has surrendered all postseason long.
Before the crowd could settle down, Sergei Samsonov scored a really nice goal at 17:58. Phil Kessel blew a tire at center ice, which led to a three-on-two for the Canes. Jussi Jokinen brought it in flanked by Scott Walker and SerSam. Jokinen passed to Walker on the right wing, who sent a cross-ice pass to SerSam in the left circle. 2-1 Canes. This was Samsonov’s first goal of the postseason, and it probably was a little sweeter in that it was against his former team. His last playoff goal was in the 2006 SCF when he was with the Oil. Funny how things work out.
Speaking of which, a former Cane ruined the fun, tying it up midway through the third. Mark Recchi was credited with a goal at 9:03 of the period, but it had very little to do with him. Chuck Kobasew fired a shot from the top of the right circle that grazed the Recchin’ Ball‘s leg in the low slot.
There were no last second heroics, and the game went to overtime. During the intermission, it gave us all a chance to flip over to the Pens/Caps game, which was also in overtime. Kris Letang potted the winner at 11:23, giving the Pens life. They are now down two games to one with game four still in the Igloo.
So for the third time this postseason, the Canes were headed to an overtime of their own. Is anyone else thinking that this looks a lot like 2002?
The Bs dominated play early in the extra session, and it looked for all the world like Milan Lucic was going to win it, but Cam Ward made a sparkling save on him, then a couple more on Marc Savard. After about 90 seconds of relentless pressure, Carolina finally got the puck out and changed the personnel. Then Carolina mounted its own pressure.
After a failed clearing attempt by Zdeno Chara, SerSam skated the puck deep in the zone and tried a shot from below the right circle. Thomas stopped it, but Jussi Jokinen pounded it in from the low slot to win the game at 2:48. Tuomo Ruutu somehow picked up an assist on the play. What a Finn-tastic Finnish!
Jokinen’s goal was his fifth of the postseason, and his second game-winner.
Game four will be Friday night at the RBC Center, and the Canes will have a chance to get a stranglehold on the series.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.