Teemu Hartikainen spent several weeks after the NHL lockout ended with the Edmonton Oilers but has rejoined the Barons for what he hopes is another extended playoff run.
Hartikainen, a 22-year-old forward from Finland, played a key role last season when the Barons reached the Western Conference finals.
Reassigned to Oklahoma City on Thursday, the day before the playoffs opened, Hartikainen scored a goal and added an assist Friday night in the Barons' 4-3 overtime loss to Charlotte in Game 1 of a best-of-5 series.
“Last year we played a lot of (playoff) hockey,” Hartikainen said. “I definitely want to play more this year. This is a great group of guys. I love the playoffs.”
BARONS SCORE UNUSUAL GOAL
The Barons took a 3-2 lead late in the second period when Hartikainen's attempted pass was deflected from behind the goal over the net to teammate Josh Green, who scored with 1:15 left in the period.
“I'm not (Wayne) Gretzky,” said Hartikainen, confessing it wasn't planned. “It just happened. I was like, ‘Wow.'”
Green isn't exactly sure what happened.
“I think sticks just came together and it flipped over,” Green said. “I saw it go up in the air. When I saw it come in front of the net I started to lick my chops.”
LINEUP CHANGES FOR GAME 2?
Barons coach Todd Nelson said coaches will look at the game tape and decide whether to make any line changes.
With Hartikainen back in OKC, Mark Arcobello, Jonathan Cheechoo and Philippe Cornet were on the No. 1 line. The No. 2 line was Hartikainen, Green and rookie Toni Rajala.
“Toni and Harty had chemistry before so that was a no-brainer,” Nelson said. “Cornet and Cheechoo and Arco have played together a lot the past two months. We'll have to see if we want to add more depth on another line.
“It wasn't the lines as much as a lack of execution ... (Regardless of the lineup) we can play a lot better.”
OIL SPILLS ...
The Carolina Hurricanes didn't reassign either of their AHL veteran goaltenders that played most of the season with Charlotte. Rob Madore, who played most of the season in Double-A, recorded 30 saves in his AHL playoff debut. ... Friday's game was the first time since March 9 — a span of 20 games — the Barons allowed more than three goals in a game.
By Mike Baldwin