A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Canes solid in preseason opener

I wasn't there, and I didn't even get to listen on the radio, but from what I've read, the Hurricanes looked VERY good in tonight's 6-0 shelling of the Capitals
Mike Zigomanis and newcomer Cory Stillman each had a powerplay goal and two assists to lead scorers. Eric Staal added another powerplay goal. Another newcomer, Matt Cullen, added the Canes' fourth man-advantage goal. Justin Williams netted a shorthanded goal, and former Capital Colin Forbes had the only even-strength goal of the game.

This is fantastic news. The Canes cashed in on four out of our 14 powerplay opportunities, or 28.6%. In 2003-04, our season total was 10.6%, dead last in the league. Meanwhile, we managed to stay out of the box, only getting whistled for four minor penalties.

In the "free sample" of shootout, the Canes were also a success, but at this point in time, I don't know any further details other than that Zigomanis found the net.

The other huge news is that our rookie sensation netminder Cam Ward stopped all 24 shots he faced, including some dandy breakaway stops. He didn't even know he was going to play until just before the game, but he obviously did quite well. Prior to camp, the expectation was that he would be the backup to Martin Gerber. Gerber has some sort of back injury, so we'll expect Ward to see some more preseason time. Possibly Kevin Nastiuk will find himself between the pipes. If all goes well, Ward might play himself into a bigger role with the team.

Erik Cole, Ray Whitney and Frantisek Kaberle sat out for Carolina, while Olie the Goalie, Andrew Cassels, and (I think) Alexander Ovechkin sat out for the Caps.

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