A rat falling out of the world hallway ceiling in the course of the Carolina Hurricanes’ warmup recreation of soccer was only a precursor to a wacky afternoon of playoff hockey.
Lengthy after the lifeless rodent was eliminated, Recreation 2 between the Hurricanes and Washington Capitals included a questionable ejection for a test to the top, a shot off one goalie’s masks and one other that went in off the opposite goalie’s bottom. It fittingly ended with an additional time objective from an unlikely supply that despatched the defending Stanley Cup champions right into a wild celebration across the group’s hottest participant.
Veteran chief Brooks Orpik scored 1:48 into additional time Saturday to provide Washington a 4-Three victory and a 2-Zero lead over Carolina within the first-round sequence. His fourth objective in his 151st playoff recreation was his third winner, and Orpik grew to become simply the 11th defenseman in NHL historical past with two postseason additional time targets.
“I am most likely not counted on for too many targets, however I feel if you wish to have the lengthy runs, you want everyone sort of chipping in and doing issues they do not usually do,” Orpik mentioned. “At all times feels good when the group comes out on high.”
The Capitals got here out on high due to Alex Ovechkin’s two good passes, a 5-on-Three penalty kill and a stick scarcity by Carolina that allowed Evgeny Kuznetsov to search out Orpik for his objective. Afterward, proprietor Ted Leonsis quipped, “Similar to it was drawn up.”
There was no method to script the unusual happenings that unfolded on and off the ice. Maybe it was an omen for issues to come back when the ball used within the Hurricanes’ pregame soccer ritual knocked a rat down from the ceiling.
“I noticed that,” Carolina’s Sebastian Aho mentioned. “First time I’ve seen it. Sort of odd.”
Then the sport occurred. Similar to Recreation 1, the Capitals jumped out to an early 2-Zero lead — this time on targets by Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie — however this time the Hurricanes did not wait till the third interval to come back again.
Lucas Wallmark scored late within the first after teammate Saku Maenalanen brushed Braden Holtby, which Capitals coach Todd Reirden challenged for goaltender interference. It held up as a result of the NHL scenario room and referees decided the contact wasn’t vital sufficient to disallow the objective.
“Taking part in the place, that that is interference,” mentioned Holtby, who made 25 saves. “However there is a level in hockey the place you’ve got simply obtained to battle, too. I am not going to complain a couple of name or no-call. I do know that doing that’s giving me one of the best likelihood to cease that puck. We transfer on.”
Issues solely obtained stranger within the second interval. Lower than a minute after exiting the penalty field, Hurricanes ahead Micheal Ferland hit Nic Dowd whereas bent over and was given a five-minute match penalty for an unlawful test to the top and ejected.
After officers conferred and determined to make it a five-minute main, coach Rod Brind’Amour screamed at referee Steve Kozari that it was a clear hit, pointing to his hip to emphasise Ferland made largely hip to shoulder contact. Dowd left to undergo concussion protocol however returned.
“To be trustworthy with you, I let up,” mentioned Ferland, who added he would not anticipate to be suspended. “I may have completed with my shoulder, however I did not. I got here, hit him with my butt. I assumed it was a clear hit. I do not agree with the decision.”
In the course of the ensuing energy play, a one-timer from defenseman John Carlson hit Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek on the proper facet of his masks and knocked it off. Mrazek winced in ache however didn’t get pulled for concussion protocol and stayed within the recreation.
“It caught me a bit bit on the chin there,” mentioned Mrazek, who made 29 saves. “Once I fell, I did not have the masks on and I hit the ice fairly exhausting with my face. That was the worst.”
The worst second for Holtby got here when Aho ended a 15-game objective drought by banking the puck off him from a foul angle. Wilson and Jordan Staal traded third-period targets, and Mrazek stopped Carlson within the closing seconds of regulation.
That solely set the stage for Orpik’s heroics. After Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce misplaced his stick and obtained one from ahead Teuvo Teravainen, the Capitals had the opening they wanted to take a 2-Zero sequence lead and gamers mobbed Orpik to rejoice the daddy determine’s clutch objective.
“There’s actually no higher man to attain an OT winner,” Wilson mentioned. “We have been pumped up, and he deserves it. Large objective for us.”
NOTES: Ten of the Capitals’ final 14 first-round video games went to additional time. … Together with his 101st playoff level, Backstrom moved forward of Daniel Alfredsson into sole possession of fourth place amongst Swedish gamers. … Hurricanes D Calvin de Haan missed his fifth recreation in a row with an upper-body harm. … Maenalanen changed Greg McKegg in Carolina’s lineup. … Capitals C Lars Eller performed after lacking apply Friday for upper-body upkeep.
Recreation Three Monday evening in Raleigh is the Hurricanes’ first residence playoff recreation since Could 26, 2009.