RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—The Ottawa Senators sensed Carolina was napping on a shaky third-period lead. So they went out and snatched the game from the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Wade Redden scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left and the Ottawa Senators scored three times in the third period of their 4-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
“To come from behind, that shows the character of the guys,” Redden said. “We just kept battling. That was our best period, the third one, (and) we needed it tonight.”
Dany Heatley and Anton Volchenkov also scored and Jason Spezza had an empty-net goal and two assists for the Senators, who trailed 2-1 after two periods before rallying for their seventh win in eight games.
“I think we put them on their heels right off the bat” in the third, Redden said. “We just kept coming at them. We carried a lot of the plays in their end, and did a good job cycling and got a few bounces to go our way.”
Strong movement of the puck generated the go-ahead goal when the Senators brought it up on a late rush and worked it to Spezza.
He skated toward the goal line from the right side and drew goalie John Grahame toward him before firing a last-second pass to Redden, who snapped the puck into an open net.
“It was a smart jump by (Redden)—that’s why he’s the player he is,” Spezza said.
Eric Staal and Josef Vasicek scored 19 seconds apart in the second period and Cory Stillman assisted on both goals for the Hurricanes, who had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 23-2 when leading after two periods.
“When you’re ahead going into the third period, you’re supposed to win,” defenseman Mike Commodore said. “When you give up three goals and you don’t score any, I consider that blowing it. I’m not taking anything away from them, but we can’t play like that in the third.”
The loss infuriated Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette, whose post-game press conference lasted roughly 20 seconds.
“We are just flat. I mean, we are sleeping,” Laviolette said. “We get outskated, outbattled. You’re not going to win games like that.”
Ottawa’s Martin Gerber, supplanted by Cam Ward as the Hurricanes’ starter during last year’s playoffs, stopped 23 shots against his former team. Grahame, now Ward’s backup, made 31 saves in his third straight start.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Laviolette said of Grahame.
Volchenkov tied it with just over nine minutes left in regulation with his first goal of the season. He took a cross-ice pass at the right point from Chris Phillips and rocketed a slap shot past Grahame to make it 2-2.
“We don’t expect him to score a lot of goals, and he doesn’t,” coach Bryan Murray said. “It was a big one tonight.”
The Hurricanes fell behind 1-0 in the second period before taking the lead with two quick goals.
Stillman had the puck in the right circle and froze the Ottawa defense by briefly glancing toward the net, then fired a quick pass to Staal, who snapped the puck past Gerber with 9:45 left. Seconds later, Vasicek stuffed the rebound of a long slap shot through Gerber’s legs for his first goal since rejoining the Hurricanes on Feb. 9.
Staal 26th goal of the season was just his third in 14 games, and was Carolina’s first on the power play in four games. The Hurricanes entered 0-for-11 with the man advantage during their previous three games.
“I think we were sitting back on our lead. You can’t do that,” Staal said. “When you don’t (maintain the intensity), you leave yourself vulnerable.”
Heatley had given Ottawa the early lead with his team-leading 37th goal early in the second, tapping a rebound past Grahame for his fifth goal in four games.
Heatley and Spezza each extended their point streaks to eight games. … Daniel Alfredsson added two assists for Ottawa. … RW Anson Carter made his home debut for the Hurricanes. He was acquired last week from Columbus for a draft pick, and skated on a line with Staal and LW Ray Whitney. … The Senators lead the season series 2-1 with the visiting team winning each matchup. The teams play again Wednesday in Ottawa.