OTTAWA – Jay Harrison may have scored the overtime winner, but the Carolina Hurricanes can thank Cam Ward for the victory.
The Hurricanes goalie made 45 saves on Thursday night as Carolina escaped Ottawa with a 3-2 victory over the Senators.
Ward’s heroics, which included 16 saves in a chaotic second period where Carolina was outshot 17-3, helped set up Harrison’s winner at 2:19 of overtime
“Cam’s a great goaltender and he keeps us in games,” said Harrison, who banged home the deciding goal off a scramble in front of Senators goalie Craig Anderson. “He’s a huge part of our success and we owe that to him.
“The fact we were able to get back on the horse in the third period and have a few big penalty kills, score a big power-play goal and then an overtime goal demonstrated we played a pretty solid road game.”
Chad LaRose and Alexander Semin scored in regulation for the Hurricanes (5-4-0), who have won five of their last seven.
Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson replied for the Senators (6-4-1), while Anderson stopped 23 shots in taking the loss.
“We played such a good game, but credit to their goalie as he kept them in the game and gave them a chance to tie it up and win it in overtime,” said Alfredsson. “We had our opportunities to put it away and couldn’t.”
Senators head coach Paul MacLean says he can’t ask for much more from his team.
“We want to come back and reproduce that game again and again and again and again,” said MacLean. “We feel we’ll get a much better result if we reproduce that game at that level and at that tempo.”
Ottawa led 2-1 in the third period but Semin tied it with a one-timer that beat Anderson stickside on the power play at 12:26.
“Anything can happen in a one-goal game and you just need a bounce or a break and we got that opportunity on the power play,” Ward said. “We’ve been stressing special teams all season long and that we need to get better and the power play was able to come up with a big goal to tie the game.”
Both teams had a number of great chances in the first, but it was the Senators who took the early lead on Karlsson’s team-leading fifth goal of the season on a great passing play from rookie Jakob Silfverberg.
Ottawa dominated the second period on the shot clock, but Ward kept his team in it with a number of big saves, including one in close on Silfverberg.
“(Ward) was real solid,” said Eric Staal. “He’s really stepped back into his game and we’re going to need him and he helped us get the win.”
The Hurricanes tied it 1-1 on their third shot of the second when Drayson Bowman made a cross-ice pass to LaRose, who snapped a shot from the faceoff circle to beat Anderson glove side.
“This was one of those nights (when) you win the game, but lose on the scoreboard,” said Anderson. “We outplayed them, but just didn’t get the results we were looking for. We deserved a better fate.”
The Senators finally solved Ward in the second as Alfredsson gave Ottawa a 2-1 edge at 16:04, roofing a shot from a near-impossible angle that fooled the Carolina goalie.
“I was looking for (Senators forward Mika Zibanejad), but saw he was covered up so thought I’d try a shot,” said Alfredsson. “I’ve tried it a lot of times and it usually doesn’t work, but it came off perfect.”
Mike Lundin made his debut for the Senators after missing the first ten games with a broken finger, while fellow defenceman Sergei Gonchar returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with the flu.
Notes: Staal extended his point streak (seven goals, four assists) to seven games with an assist on Semin’s goal. … LW Kaspars Daugavins, D Patrick Wiercioch and D Mark Borowiecki were healthy scratches for the Senators. Ottawa was also without C Jason Spezza (upper body injury, indefinite), D Jared Cowen (hip, out for the season) and RW Guillaume Latendresse (whiplash, day-to-day). … The Hurricanes were without C Tuomo Ruutu (hip surgery, three-to-four months). RW Andreas Nool and D Joe Corvo were healthy scratches.