Versteeg Plays H O R S E Hockey with Penguins

Kris Versteeg scored an amazing goal in Tuesday night’s contest between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of the craziest goals ever was made by Versteeg, and if it were a game of H O R S E in basketball, you’d definitely be chalking up a letter trying to make the same shot. Just take your “H” and keep going.

The match between Metropolitan Division rivals was thoroughly entertaining, with Versteeg’s “highlight reel” shot just one of many exciting moments. Both teams are in the hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot, and it was obvious that neither team wanted to hear the final horn without both of the two possible points in their column.

Feeling it out/Disaster Averted

Period one was 20 minutes of both teams feeling each other out. Hurricanes television play-by-play announcer John Forslund described the period after the game as almost feeling like the ‘Canes were the road team, kind of getting a feel for how the game would go. Both teams seemed to start this way, not slow or apathetic, but strategic.

Things might have gone very bad for Carolina very early in the period when they had two penalties back-to-back. At 2:39 Elias Lindholm was called for hooking. This was not the way the ‘Canes wanted to start the game, as the Penguins’ power play has been hot. To add to a possible first-period calamity, Brad Malone was called for delaying the game at 4:30. A five on three mixed into the penalty scenario with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the lethal scoring threats that are the Penguins and the game could have gotten out of hand quickly for the home team.

The Hurricanes survived, killing both penalties. The two teams headed to their locker rooms with the score tied at zero, each having taken only five shots in the first 20 minutes.

Here we go

The game heated up in the second period, as ‘Canes captain Eric Staal scored on a very nice play from Lindholm to Versteeg, who tapped the puck across the net to the waiting Staal. 1-0 Carolina.

The feeling in the building was that this could be a good night for the Hurricanes, having weathered the early Penguins’ power plays and now having the lead.

Versteeg made his unbelievable trick shot a few minutes later.

It takes a couple of looks to actually see the puck bounce off of the boards, fly over the net, hit Marc-Andre Fleury in the back and drop into the goal. What an amazing goal! The big “MO” was in the arena and it was definitely favoring the home team. 2-0 Carolina.

Big “MO” is not always what it seems, and it fled the arena in the blink of an eye, as Kris Letang took the puck off a face off less than a minute later and put the puck past ‘Canes goalie Cam Ward. The period ended with the Hurricanes up 2-1.

Big Finish

I leaned over and told the guy next to me in the press box that an insurance goal would be good for Carolina. A goal was scored, but it was by the Penguins’ Chris Kunitz. Sidney Crosby got his second assist of the night and the game would end in regulation tied 2-2.

The dreaded penalty rose its head once more, but this time it was Pittsburgh who sent a man to the box. With the man advantage at 2:02 in overtime, Jeff Skinner put the puck in the net, and the Hurricanes sealed the win, 3-2.

It was a huge two points for Carolina who overtook (for the time being) the Philadelphia Flyers in the standings. I say for the time being because there is sure to be a lot of jostling and positioning every week if not nightly as the battle for a playoff spot continues.