Cary, NC – If ever this season there was a time to step up, the game against the Philadelphia Flyers was it. The Flyers were just a point ahead of the Canes with both teams just outside of a playoff spot. Whoever wins leapfrogs into the mix, but it just wasn’t the Canes night as they scored just one goal for the third straight game.
One goal games just aren’t going to do it in the NHL and there should be 18 skaters handing their heads low as Cam Ward played his best game in at least five years. He did not deserve to be the losing goalie for this game.
Lindholm Scores PP Goal
Both teams approached this game as if they were two boxers meeting for the weigh-in. Lots of snarling and gritting of the teeth but everything was along the boards around the entire ice. Except for the faceoff, there was hardly a skate mark in the neutral zone for the first four minutes when each team only provided one weak shot.
The Canes got the early powerplay and it looked awful. It was reminiscent of how they set up early in the season with passing around the umbrella and forcing a pass inside that was always broken up for a clear. The old adage of you can’t score unless you shoot played loud as the Caniacs were begging for anyone to send the puck towards the net. Jeff Skinner drew the penalty as Brandon Manning’s stick slid up Skinny’s stick clipping Skinny below the eye protector. As Skinner went to the bench, Manning went right over to Skinner, put a hand on him and it was hard to determine if he was trying to provoke a response or apologize.
Late in the period Brock McGinn was playing his typical aggressive game and while forechecking Nolan Patrick, caught an elbow in the nose drawing blood and the ensuing four minute man advantage. The Canes kept the puck in the Flyers end for two and a half minutes when Justin Faulk passed down to Teuvo Teravainen, who made a quick pass to Elias Lindholm right in front of the crease. Lindy took a quick shot that Brian Elliott stopped with his chest but Lindy was quick on the rebound, nailing it in for the first Cane lead in three games.
Flyers Tie the Game
Both teams just couldn’t get any mojo going with the forechecking the best the Canes have done in the past few games. Cam Ward played lights out making save after unbelievable save. Early in the period, the play was to Ward’s right with everyone but Wayne Simmonds reading a book on the left. As Jacub Voracek stole the puck, he passed to Simmonds with the net wide open. Ward moved over to his left, pads up making a save that had Simmonds looking to the gods.
Later in the period Simmonds, camped out in his favorite place on the ice, always in front of the crease, got behind Trevor van Reimsdyk. Voracek saw the opening, hit Simmonds with a good pass with Simmonds stuffing one past Ward to tie the game.
Ward’s Play Was Outstanding
The Canes sticks went ice cold in the third mustering just two shots on net. The Flyers weren’t much better getting off only seven. What few shots were taken, both goalies were there for the saves with Ward again keeping the Canes in the game. In the overtime, the Canes had ample opportunities and had all of the play in the first 2:30, then the tide started to change. Very late in the OT, the Canes were pounding the net but nothing was able to penetrate the mass of humanity in front of the net.
As the puck cleared the zone, Jordan Weal picked up the puck along the far boards, skated diagonally across the neutral zone, crossed the blue line then while going to the middle, took a shot while the defender was between him and Ward. Smart play as Ward’s vision was blocked and the puck had eyes as it went five hole with just 3.1 seconds left on the clock. Very disappointing loss, especially for Ward after playing a great game to have a 5-holer go in for the loss in OT was a heart breaker.