For the second night in a row, Niklas Nordgren scored a shorthanded tally en route to a 5-2 thumping of the host City of Tampa Lightning.
My guy Josef Vašíček (I did that for you, Jes Golbez) added two more goals, raising his preseason total to seven. Cory Stillman had assists on both of his goals.
Andrew Hutchinson continued to have a fantastic preseason, adding an assist on a Rod Brind'Amour goal in the second period that proved to be the game winner. I'm starting to get a little worried, though, because we don't have him under contract.
Both of Tampa's goals came on the power play, and both came on the tails of a Carolina goal. Their first score, by Ruslan Fedotenko, came at 17:55 of the first, only :27 after Matt Cullen had scored for the Canes. Their second, by Pavel Kubina, came at 1:37 of the second. It was during that same Tampa power play that Nordgren had his shorthanded marker just :29 seconds prior.
In the inconsequential shootout, Brind'Amour led off with a goal, and everyone else was shut down.
Cameron Ward had a very good game between the pipes, stopping 18 of 20 shots he faced . He also pitched a shutout during the shootout. He will be a very good backup netminder, and he might even find himself in the #1 role by season's end. He won't win the Calder, and he won't win the Vezina, but if there was a trophy for rookie goaltenders, he'd win it.
After the game, the final cuts were made. It was no surprise that Danny Richmond and Andrew Ladd were sent down. Ladd will need some injury recovery time anyway. It came down to LaRose or Nordgren, and the youngster (LaRose) got sent down. This is the right choice, in my opinion. We would have lost Nordgren to his native Sweden if we hadn't kept him on the big club. LaRose didn't have to go through wavers, so it was safe to cut him. Eventually, he'll be a fine player, but another year in Lowell will suit him fine.
The Canes are back in Raleigh and will have practice Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before heading back to Tampa for opening night. Our home opener is Friday night versus the Pens.
4 years ago