Harrison jumped into the play and crashed through the defense in front of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson as Staal let a low shot go that the Senators keeper could not smother after making the initial save.
Regaining his balance along the goal line to Anderson’s left, Harrison got his stick on the puck and flicked it into the top corner and ended the game at 2:19 of the overtime period.
“We hung in there, and found a way to get it done,” Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said afterwards.
It seems that scoring game-winning goals has become the norm rather than the exception for Harrison lately, and his goals have earned the Hurricanes valuable points in the standings when playing on the road.
The seventh-year NHL veteran scored against the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 25 on a shot that he let go that found its way through traffic in front of goaltender Ryan Miller, and into the net.
“You know, you shoot enough of em’ and eventually they go in,” Harrison said after that game.
Asked about scoring another game-winner against the Senators on Thursday, Harrison was equally appreciative of helping his team win.
“I am just happy to be in the spot to contribute,” Harrison said.
“A good all-around victory for us. I think it’s a big step for us, a building block going forward.”
Continuing on from last season
Harrison’s ability to jump into the rush and feel comfortable doing so for the Hurricanes, began last season after Muller took over as head coach.
After the win against Buffalo, Muller described the evolution of his defenseman’s offensive game.
“Last year he had some power play time and gave him a chance to put some more production up,” Muller said.
“This year we changed our personnel a little bit so he doesn’t get the power play time, but five-on-five he’s been solid so far to make a big part of that pairing back there.”
Always working to get better
Harrison understands his journey to become a productive defenseman has taken some time, and his balanced demeanor is his biggest asset in placing it all in perspective.
“There’s no real change in my game – I’ve developed a little more confidence, been able to generate a little bit more opportunity for myself, getting into position to get the puck and shoot the puck,” Harrison said.
“Early in your career, as a guy who slowly works his way into this league, sometimes it takes confidence to shoot the puck ‘cause you’re out there with a lot of great players.”
It seems that after leading a majority of the Hurricanes’ unofficial player on-ice sessions at Raleigh Center Ice during the NHL lockout, Harrison worked on the right aspects of his game that the coaching staff will rely on more as the season progresses.
“When he keeps his game really simple, and he’s a big body – he’s the type of defenseman people want, Muller said.
“He’s big, he can skate, he can shoot the puck. When he simplifies his game and plays his full role, he’s a great asset for our hockey club.”
An asset that paid out a big dividend against Ottawa, and helped to put Carolina over the level mark at 5-4 and into second place in the Southeast Division with just over a sixth of the NHL season now in the books.