WHAT A FINISH:
Rookie center Josef Vasicek scored the game-tying goal at 19:22 of the third period off of a Ron Francis pass. The goal was Vasicek’s first since the Hurricanes 2-1 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on November 29.
“It felt awesome,” said Vasicek. “It had been a while. It felt good. It was a nice goal and since it tied the game, it was even better for me.”
PLUS-THREE; SO SWEET:
Second-year defenseman David Tanabe ended the game with the only plus-three ranking among all of the game’s players. Tanabe earned an assist on Ron Francis’ game-winning goal at 33 seconds of the overtime period. Tanabe has earned five assists in the last six games and attributes his recent success to a changed attitude toward special teams and scoring.
“I think that I’ve figured a couple of things out on the power play and, I’ve just started to shoot the puck,” said Tanabe. “That’s been a big difference in the points that I’ve been getting. Instead of looking for the perfect play, just putting it on net and looking for a rebound. Just keeping it simple and the guys have been playing well and putting the puck in the net. That always helps.”
SPECIAL TEAMS / PENALTIES MADE THE DIFFERENCE:
The Hurricanes killed off seven Montreal power plays last night extending their road penalty kill streak to 12. Tanabe said that the power plays killed the team’s momentum and the lack of Hurricanes penalties in the third period may have been the difference in the game.
“There were so many penalties early in the game that it really slowed down our momentum,” said Tanabe. “It seemed like every time we got a shift that went our way, there was a penalty that slowed us down. I think that in the third period we just put together good shifts and got back to playing the way we know how to play and stayed out of the penalty box and things started going our way.”
A LOOK AHEAD:
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice says that Carolina will have to bring its “A” game Thursday night against the Boston Bruins, a team the Hurricanes have beaten once and lost to once.
“They’ve gotten some players back now. They’re a strong hockey team,” said Maurice. “We will not win this game if we try to play it to the outside and don’t play physical.. We’re going to have to get in and we’re going to have to drive the net and finish our checks. The advantage we may have is that we skate a little quicker and the advantage they have is that they’re a little bigger than us.”
Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh skated with the team today in practice. Coach Paul Maurice said he is probable for Saturday’s game when the Hurricanes host the Los Angeles Kings…
Maurice said that defenseman Kevin Hatcher is probable for the Hurricanes January 22 match-up with the New York Rangers at the Entertainment and Sports Arena…
IN THE NET:
Carolina backup goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier joined the team for practice today as Tyler Moss joined the Hurricanes’ minor-league affiliate Cincinnati Cyclones of the International Hockey League for conditioning. Maurice expects the backup goaltender to see playing time in February as the Hurricanes road and back-to-back schedules will not allow them to run Arturs Irbe every game.