by Kate Shefte
The ‘Canes can’t seem to decide whether or not they’re a third period team. Tonight, they most definitely were.
Carolina came off last night’s bitter defeat only to face the white-hot Senators, who were 4-0-1 in their last five games.
The Hurricanes might have fallen behind early if not for a sneaky, ninja-like move by Michael Leighton, who started in net in place of Cam Ward. The puck dribbled behind Leighton as he went into a split,
but the goaltender reached over the goal line and covered the puck. The play was reviewed, but the video couldn’t confirm whether or not it crossed the line because Leighton’s glove covered it.
“It was kind of a scramble in front of the net,” Leighton said. “I felt it hit the back of my leg and I reached back to get it. The ref said that the glove blocked it, and if it went over, it was a good move.”
The Hurricanes’ 2005-2006 regular-season workhorse Martin Gerber was giving up some juicy rebounds for the ‘Canes, but the team couldn’t get a stick on them or catch a lucky bounce. The Senators’ Mike Fisher broke through with 1:52 left in second, trailing Daniel Alfredsson and snagging the rebound. Leighton never had a chance.
The only place the Hurricanes looked at home for much of the game was on the power play, a far cry from just a few games ago when they couldn’t make anything happen with the man advantage. Dennis Seidenberg scored from the point at 11:06 of the third on the power play.
It seems to take a match-up against his former team to get Joe Corvo pumped and ready, and the defenseman played an inspired game. After three consecutive blasts from the point in the second period, he went back and sacrificed his body to cut off a pass that, more likely than not, would have resulted in a goal. He scored a hat trick the last time he faced the team he played for from 2005-2008 and managed to get into the scoresheet twice, even with the night’s meager offensive output. He notched the secondary assist on Seidenberg’s goal and potted one of his own, the game-winner.
“It’s something special,” Corvo said. “It’s crazy that things like that keep happening.”
The refs called a very tight game, and Rod Brind’Amour – who was rocking a few more battle scars after Alexander Semin’s wayward follow-through hit him in the face last night, breaking his nose and giving him two black eyes – must have known this when he took a tripping penalty with five minutes remaining in the game. The Hurricanes killed it off and went to work.
Instead of giving up a late goal, the Hurricanes mustered some last-minute heroics of their own. Joe Corvo took a Chad LaRose rebound and sent it top shelf with less than three minutes remaining, and the usually stoic Corvo put on quite the celebration dance, complete with a dip and fist pumps.
“I couldn’t be happier, to be honest,” Laviolette said. “The change did him well, and I’m glad that a couple of his best games have been against his former team.”
With the win, Laviolette passed John Tortorella to become the winningest American-born coach in league history. Laviolette shrugged off the accomplishment.
“I’ve worked with some great players and terrific coaches,” Laviolette said. “Things like that happen when you’re in the game long enough.”