Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/19/10 at 12:40 AM ET
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes hosted the Washington Capitals in a game that had very very little playoff implications. Someone forgot to tell the home team, and they emerged with a 4-3 overtime win.
Former Cane Joe (s)Corvo scored twice for the Caps in the middle stanza while Eric Staal got one for the Canes.
Brett Carson and Chad LaRose scored for the Canes in the third and Eric Fehr forced overtime.
Ray Whitney scored with a shot “from the ladies’ tees” in the final minute of overtime to give Justin Peters another huge win in his young NHL goaltending career.
There was no scoring in the first period, but the former Canes defenseman got the first marker just 30 seconds into the second. His rebound shot from the inside hashmarks of the right circle was his fifth goal of the season and his first as a Cap. Matt Bradley and Scotty Walker assisted.
At 4:36 of the second, Eric Staal scored his 22nd of the season while the Canes were enjoying a two-man advantage. There was absolutely nothing Semeon Varlamov could have done about it, as it was a perfectly executed play against a poorly executed PK. Jussi Jokinen set Staal up with a beautiful pass to the front of the net and Staal simply had to tap it in. Joni Pitkanen got the secondary assist.
On the other bookend of the period, Corvo got his second of the game on the power play with just 12 seconds left in the period. Incidentally, it was from the same spot of ice as his first goal. Nick Backstrom and Brooks Laich got the helpers. Canes fans were quickly reminded of a night two seasons ago when Joe Corvo was playing against his former Senators for the first time. He registered a hat trick that night, and some fan was the happy winner of a John Deere lawn tractor.
Carolina’s rookie defenseman Brett Carson fired a slapshot from the top of the right circle to make it 2-2 at 12:44 of the third. It was his second of the season. Pitkanen had the lone assist.
With less than four to play, incidental penalties set the stage for four-on-four hockey, and Chad LaRose scored a nifty goal to give the Canes a 3-2 lead at 18:25. From deep in the Carolina zone, Jokinen hit Sharpie with a great stretch pass to dead center. He broke in all alone and lifted a backhander past Varlamov for what looked like the game-winner.
Bruce Boudreau pulled his goaltender for the extra attacker, and it paid off in the dying seconds. Eric Fehr got one behind Peters at 19:50 to force overtime.
The Caps came out like gangbusters in the bonus frame and it looked like they would walk away with the extra point, but Justin Peters made some high-quality saves to keep it going. In the final minute, the Caps had a bit of a defensive breakdown and Ray Whitney made them pay. He held the puck in the high slot and all of the Caps players were defending the passing lanes. When he saw the opening, he fired a shot that Varlamov got the glove on, but he didn’t get enough. The puck trickled over the line and the Canes got the win. John Forslund shouted “Ray Whitney, from the ladies’ tees”, which doesn’t really make sense since he was in the high slot, but it was a great call nonetheless.
The Canes will head to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon. I was supposed to be going to that game, but at the last second, things fell apart and I had to bail on the trip. They’ll follow that with a twilight matinee at home against the Sabres on Sunday. I’ll be there for that one.
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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.