After the Monsters broke through in the first, the two clubs traded tallies over a whirlwind two minute stretch, with Andrew Poturalski and Patrick Brown pulling the score even through 40 minutes of play. The visitors responded with a pair of strikes in the third to build their first two-goal lead of the night, but the Checkers wouldn’t relent.
Just 19 seconds after Cleveland’s fourth goal, Levko Koper kept a loose puck alive behind the net and banked it in pull Charlotte back within one. Then it was Brendan Woods, back in the lineup after a 45-game absence, who tied things up, ripping a wrister that beat Monsters’ netminder Anton Korpisalo short side less than a minute after that.
Neither side could pull back ahead in regulation and the contest moved to overtime. The Checkers wasted no time in the extra frame, with Poturalski and newcomer Danny Kristo springing out to a 2-on-1 where the latter would set up the former for his second of the night to lift Charlotte 5-4.
Samuelsson on his team battling back: “As soon as we got down two, we said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We were forechecking hard with two D joining every time because we didn’t have too much time there. We managed to keep some energy on the bench.”
Andrew Poturalski on the game-winner: “We kind of had the full ice for the two-on-one – I’m not used to those – but I gave it to Danny [Kristo] and he made a heck of a fake. Kind of even faked me out a little bit, but he put it on my tape and I put it in the open net. It was a great play by him.”
Samuelsson on his overtime strategy: “It’s funny – a couple of days ago we had Myles, our video coach, break down all the (overtime) goals scored in the NHL, and we we’re a little more firm tactically – we don’t always go for it. You saw that rush, we defended it and then we get a loose puck, win a battle and that’s where your two-on-one is. You’ve got to play with certain strategies a little more than we have been.”
Poturalski on his first goal: “Coach tells us every day to get stuff to the net, and in the first period we were kind of struggling there. In the second we bore down and got to those greasy areas where most of the goals are scored in today’s game. It was a great shot by Fleury and I was lucky to tip it.”
Brendan Woods on his first game back from injury: “I can’t complain at all. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my linemates for making it easy for me and for getting the nerves down for me, because they could tell I was a little nervous. It was good to get a win the first time back, and I’m just excited.”
Woods on returning ahead of schedule: “Sometimes when you have a couple of days to think about it – you’re always in your head thinking about what it’s going to be like, so having the short notice kind of helped me out. I tried to prepare as best I could, and thankfully I think I played pretty well.”
Poturalski on the team’s mentality down the stretch: “It’s pretty much a playoff battle right now, where every day feels like a playoff game – especially against these guys. It’s huge to get that extra point, and we’ll be ready tomorrow.”