The Carolina goalie's mood brightened considerably when reminded that the Hurricanes' 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators gave him at least one victory over all 30 current NHL franchises.
The 37-year-old Legace made 25 saves, including a big stop on Daniel Alfredsson on a third-period breakaway, to reach the career milestone and help Carolina to its seventh consecutive victory.
"Oh, was that tonight? That's pretty cool," Legace, 37, said. "I didn't realize I've beat everybody. It's something I can tell my grandkids."
Legace, a midseason pickup after an injury to Cam Ward, has split time with rookie Justin Peters during the current Carolina streak, which has the Hurricanes at least in striking distance of a playoff spot. The victory came after the Hurricanes dealt five players on Wednesday, the NHL trade deadline, and two others just before the Olympic break they certainly have stayed hot.
"They stepped in and haven't missed a beat," Legace said. "It's like they've been here three months. We're going to miss our [traded] guys, but the new guys handled it very well."
One reason for their comfort level, the Hurricanes say, is the presence of Legace, who was playing for Chicago of the AHL before getting the call from Carolina.
"The guys in front of him really want to play for him," coach Paul Maurice said. "It's good to have a veteran guy who shows that he really loves the game. He's been a good goaltender his whole life."
Legace stopped Alfredsson midway through the third period, then denied Jason Spezza in front of the net.
Former Hurricane Cullen, traded to Ottawa on Feb. 12, broke up the shutout on a wraparound with 8:05 left.
"I'm going to say something to him before he gets out of here," Legace said in jest.
Kostopoulos and Brind'Amour, part of Carolina's fourth line with Boychuk, scored 65 seconds apart on backup goalie Pascal Leclaire, who was pulled by coach Cory Clouston after the second goal and replaced by usual starter Brian Elliott.
"Maybe it was better for the team, a spark or something, but it's unfortunate," Leclaire said. "I was hoping for a longer start, but I respect the decision."
The Senators are in need of a post-Olympic spark, losing consecutive games by a 4-1 score. Before the Olympics, Ottawa had won 14 of 16.
"We needed a kick in the pants and a little bit of a shakeup and trying to get the momentum back on our side," Clouston said. "We had our chances, but it came down to goaltending."
|Tom Kostopoulos slips the puck under Pascal Leclaire to open the scoring for Carolina. (AP)|
|Carolina (26-30-7) «||2||1||1||4|
Save Pct.: .962
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|05:18||Tom Kostopoulos (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boychuk|
|06:23||Rod Brind'Amour (6), Backhand Shot. Assist: Boychuk, Carson|
|15:50||Chad LaRose (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Staal, Ruutu|
|11:55||Matt Cullen (13), Backhand Shot. Assist: Alfredsson, Fisher|
|18:12||Brandon Sutter (16), Empty Net, Unassisted.|
|10:19||Ruutu, 2 min, Tripping|
|05:50||Kostopoulos, 2 min, Hooking|
|09:12||Carkner, 2 min, Roughing|
|06:47||Neil, 2 min, Interference|
|18:43||Neil, 2 min, Roughing|
|Shots On Goal|
|Attendance - 17048|
|Referees - Kerry Fraser, Dean Morton|
|Linesmen - Greg Devorski, Dan Schachte|