Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/11/09 at 11:38 PM ET
On Friday, the Hurricanes announced that both Erik Cole and Chad LaRose would be placed on the injured reserve list. Jiří Tlustý and Pat Dwyer were called up from Albany to fill the forward lines. Cole has an “upper body injury” and will be out for two to three weeks. Sharpie has a “lower body injury” and will be out for three to four weeks.
It didn’t take long for the Czech to make his mark. Just 2:01 into the game, on his first shift as a Hurricane, Tlustý gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. Carolina built a 2-0 lead in the first period, watched it evaporate in the second, then traded goals in the third. Regulation ended in a 3-3 deadlock and Mike Green gave the Caps the win at 1:16 of the extra frame.
For the second game in a row, Carolina lost, but played well. There’s no column in the standings for “well played loss”, but there is one for “overtime loss”, so Carolina gets a much needed standings point.
Tlustý, in his very first shift in a Hurricanes uniform, finished a really nice two-on-one with Brandon Sutter for his first NHL goal of the season. Sutter’s pass through the slot from the right circle got Jose Theodore out of position. He came out so far and committed to a Sutter shot that Tlustý had a wide open net and he simply tapped it in behind Theodore. The time of the goal was 2:01, and Tom Kostopoulos got the secondary assist.
Eric Staal made it 2-0 at 13:56 of the first with his first goal in ages. He made an aggressive wrap move to the right post, and his stuff-in bid went off Theodore’s glove, off some of his other equipment, and just barely trickled over the goal line. Greek Lightning and Aaron Ward got the helpers.
Late in the first, there was a scary moment involving Alexander Ovechkin and Tim Gleason. Ovie was one-on-one with Gleason, and his shot from the high slot was deflected by Gleason. Unfortunately, the deflection went right up the shaft of Gleason’s stick, and the puck struck him in the mouth. Actually, just above his upper lip. He went off to the room, where remained for the bulk of the second period. He came back, and would make a huge play later in the game.
Alex Semin helped the home team have a very active and very productive middle frame. At 13:07 of the second, he fired a wrister from the right dot that beat Cam Ward cleanly. Alex Ovechkin and Jeff Schultz got the helpers.
As is usually the case, this was a spark that started a fire for the Caps. They dominated the second period, keeping it deep in the Carolina zone for long stretches and shooting at will on Cam Ward. Fortunately for the Canes, the 2006 Conn Smythe winner held the Caps at bay for the rest of the period. Well… almost.
Tuomo Ruutu had a goal disallowed a few moments later because he kicked it. He was trying to kick it to his stick and make a shot, but the puck never made it to his stick. Instead, it went off Mike Green’s skate and then past Theodore. The call on the ice was “no goal” and it was upheld after a review. I’ve always thought (wrongly, apparently) that if a kicked puck goes off a defending player before it goes in the goal, the kick is negated. Anyway, the score remained 2-1.
With less than a second to go in the middle stanza, Alex Semin struck again. He had a last second breakaway on Cam Ward that was thwarted at the last second by Tim Gleason. The puck made it to Ward, and the short rebound that he allowed popped right back out to Semin at the top of the goal crease. He stuffed it back in for the easy goal at 19:59. Nick Backstrom had the only helper.
Tomas Fleischmann scored his eleventh goal of the season at 2:52. The Caps had a delayed penalty in hand, but they didn’t need it. With the sixth attacker on, they took the lead for the first time in the game. Mathieu Perreault and John Erskine got the assists.
With Joni Pitkänen in the box for interference 12 minutes into the third, the Caps had a chance to put the pedal down and add to their lead. Instead, the Canes got a shortie from—of all people—Tim Gleason at 13:30. Timmy forced a turnover on the Carolina side of center ice and instead of dumping it into the Caps zone, he skated hard for a breakaway, and he blasted one from the high slot top shelf. The unassisted shorthanded goal was the fifth of the season for Gleason, setting a new best for him. And as far as I know, the first shortie of his career.
Nothing was solved in regulation, and Mike Green won it just 1:16 into the bonus frame with a shot from the left circle hashmarks. Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin each got his second assist of the night.
Tim Gleason deserves high marks in this game. He suffered a nasty cut as a result of that puck to the face, went off for repairs, and came back with lots of stitches and a full face shield. And he scored the heroic shorthanded goal. He had four blocked shots to boot.
All in all, it was a good game for the Canes. A win would have been nicer, but I can’t complain about the effort. Even without key members of this unit, they put together a good team effort. And Eric Staal finally got back in the “goal” column.
I liked the Tlustý/Sutter/Kostopoulos line. They had another chance later in the game to score an identical goal to the first one, but it didn’t work out. Anyway, they looked good together. Suttsy and Tlustý are both young players with really good hockey smarts. So far, they look great together.
Carolina will move on from America’s capital city to Canada’s. They’ll take on the Senators on Saturday at 7:00. If they can manage one point there, the four game road trip will have been a success.
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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.