RALEIGH, N.C. – Andrew Ladd snatched the puck and snapped it past an old buddy. Just that quickly, he sent his former team to yet another spring without playoff hockey.
Ladd scored 16 seconds into overtime, and the Winnipeg Jets beat Carolina 4-3 on Friday night to keep alive their slim post-season hopes and eliminate any chance the Hurricanes had to sneak into the playoffs.
Kyle Wellwood scored the tying goal with 4:47 left in regulation and added an assist. Zach Bogosian assisted on the final three goals, Jim Slater scored and Nik Antropov added a goal in his return to the lineup for the Jets, who trailed 3-1 midway through the second period before rallying.
“We’re trying to develop a culture here of showing up and working your (rear end) off … every day,” Ladd said. “It’s one of those things that … it’s got to become an everyday thing where everyone shows up, knows they have to work hard or they’re not going to play.”
The decisive sequence started when Carolina rookie Justin Faulk slipped in the corner at the start of overtime.
“From there, it was a breakdown,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said.
The puck made its way to Bogosian at the blue line. He tossed it toward the net and an uncovered Ladd—Carolina’s first-round draft pick in 2004 who spent three seasons with the Hurricanes—whipped it past Cam Ward.
“It’s always fun to score against Wardo,'” Ladd said. “We’re good buddies, but we’re very competitive with each other and it’s fun to get the upper hand. I’ll have bragging rights for the summer, at least.”
Eric Staal scored his 250th career goal and Derek Joslin and Brandon Sutter added goals for the Hurricanes.
Chris Mason stopped 30 shots for the Jets and improved to 4-2 against Carolina this season. Ward finished with 31 saves.
The Hurricanes were playing at home for the first time since going 1-2 on a trip that put them on the brink of elimination, and both teams needed Pittsburgh to beat Buffalo, which the Penguins did, to keep alive their dwindling playoff hopes.
A Buffalo win and a Winnipeg loss in regulation would have eliminated the Jets. Carolina needed wins in its final five games and plenty of help throughout the league to slide in for just the second time since winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.
Though the Hurricanes salvaged a point in overtime, with four games left, the best they can do now is tie Buffalo and Washington for eighth place at 86 points. The Capitals would claim the tiebreaker over Carolina because they already are assured of having more combined wins in regulation and overtime.
“It was 3-1. We have a chance to bury a team and move forward, and when you keep teams hanging around, generally, they’re going to get a second life,” Muller said. “And they did. They scored at the right times and we just dropped our level of intensity.”
Slater started the Jets’ rally when his goal on an odd-man rush made it 3-2 with 9:35 left in the second. Wellwood tied it at 3 when he chipped in the rebound of Antii Miettinen’s shot on a late power play, after Jiri Tlusty was issued a double minor for high-sticking.
“Between the second and third period, we just said we’re going to throw it all out there,” Slater said. “The guys did a good job of throwing pucks on net. We drew a key penalty there to get us tied up, and our penalty kill was fantastic tonight, too.”
Staal’s milestone goal came on one of his prettiest sequences of the season. With teammate Tim Gleason serving a double minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, Staal stole the puck from Wheeler near the blue line. The Carolina captain skated in on Mason with Tim Stapleton on his hip, spun 360 degrees and whipped the puck into the net to make it 2-1 with 3:14 remaining. His milestone goal also was the team’s 12th short-handed score.
“I was trying to get body position, maybe cut it across the front of the net,” Staal said. “I think the goalie might have gotten caught out of position as well, and I was able to slide it underneath him.”
Staal tied current Florida coach Kevin Dineen on the club’s goal-scoring list and trails only Hall of Famer Ron Francis—who scored a club-record 382 goals in two stints with the Hartford-Carolina franchise.
Sutter gave the Hurricanes a two-goal lead when he scored off a rebound early in the second.
NOTES: Winnipeg D Grant Clitsome rang the right post with a blast from the blue line late in the first, Dustin Byfuglien drilled the left post late in the second and Ron Hainsey hit the pipe late in the third. … Carolina RW Tuomo Ruutu skated in his 300th game with the club. … To make room for Antropov, the Jets scratched C Ben Maxwell.