Tim Gleason, Sergei Samsonov, Erik Cole, Eric Staal, Joe Corvo

Hurricanes pass Thrashers for eighth spot in East by beating them in OT thanks to Erik Cole end-to-end goal

It seems like the Carolina Hurricanes make a late-season playoff surge every other year. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but judging from the last month of action, that reflexive assumption seems to have at least some merit.

The Canes leapfrogged the Atlanta Thrashers into the Eastern Conference’s top eight with a dramatic home win tonight. Zack Bogosian scored a power-play goal to send the game into overtime and gain Atlanta at least one point, but Erik Cole scored the overtime winner on an end-to-end rush.

Carolina 4, Atlanta 3 (OT)

Cole should be commended for that effort, as he’s showing glimpses of his former power-forward-of-the-future self, but Ondrej Pavelec cannot be happy about the goal he allowed. Erik Erlendsson went as far as to compare Pavelec to KHL exile (and former Canes goalie) John Grahame on the play. Ouch.

Atlanta must be frustrated with this one, as the two teams produced a 2-2 third period despite the fact that the Thrashers out-shot the Hurricanes 14-3 in the final frame. Pavelec and Dustin Byfuglien are probably the team’s MVPs this season, but the young goalie might have been a bit of goat tonight. It happens.

The Hurricanes and Thrashers are tied for 58 points, but Carolina has two games in hand and two mores wins (26 to Atlanta’s 24). That’s obviously a small margin of error – especially in a season brimming with maddening tide changes – but Eric Staal’s bunch have been trending up while the Thrashers are plummeting right now. Atlanta GM Rick Dudley might be wise to make a move or two to try to reverse his team’s backslide.

If Atlanta and Carolina engage in a two-team race for one of the last playoff spots, it could be an awfully fun contest to watch.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: