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

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Canes get five of a possible six points on road trip

Saturday night, Carolina finished off a three game road swing by shutting out the Capitals 4-0. During the trip, the Canes outscored their opponents 14-6. On Monday, the Canes will return to the RBC Center, where they have been perfect in two outings. The visitors will be Dany Heatley, his eye (with which AQG of Hockey Will Tear Us Apart is completely obsessed), Daniel Alfredsson, the freakishly tall Zdeno Chara and the undefeated Ottawa Senators. They will be without the services of Martin Havlat, who was suspended for five games following a kicking incident in the Sens-Bruins game on October 15.

Now... about Saturdays game.

Cam Ward had to leave the game in the fourth minute during an extended glass-repair delay. It looks like he was shaken up a bit and possibly injured his arm on a play with lots of bodies crashing the net. Martin Gerber had to come into the game fresh off of the injured list. He did a damn fine job, putting himself back into the goalie mix. He only faced 17 shots, but he turned them all away. Unfortunately, he doesn't get credit for a shutout since Ward started the game and faced one shot. On the other end, Olie Kolzig faced 41 shots. The Caps are far and away the most shot-upon team in the league, which says a lot about their defense. Their offense isn't that terrible, but they can't continue to allow 37.9 shots on goal per game.
It was the highly anticipated debut of Ray Whitney, who was activated from the IR and dressed for the game. He did not disappoint, as he had one power play assist and a power play goal. This is exactly why we brought him in. His goal was a nifty one-timer from Erik Cole to make it 4-0 late in the third. Somehow, he had crept into the slot undetected, and Colesy made a perfect pass. In the second period, Whitney made a similarly perfect pass to Brind'Amour in the left face-off circle for an easy power play goal. Whitney received second star honors. Somehow, the media saw fit to give Kolzig the first star. He certainly played his butt off, but I don't think first star should go to a keeper who gave up four goals. Go figure.

Eric Staal also had a good night, adding his seventh assist on the Brindy goal. He now has 12 points for the season.

In the three-goal second period, Cory Stillman scored the first with helpers from Cole and Kaberle. Matt Cullen scored a freaky goal when his shot was redirected by a Caps skate and through the five-hole of Kolzig.

I was working, but I DVR-ed it, and I watched the whole thing. Carolina's defense continues to look really good, and the power play is continuing to hit. We connected on three of 12 chances, making us nine for 44 on the season. 20.5% is seventh in the league. Now that Whitney is playing, we should see the PP get even better. We have also killed 34 of 39 penalties (87.2%), which is sixth best in the league. Added to that, we are the fourth least penalized team in the league.

Andrew Hutchinson was a healthy scratch and is still on zero points for the season.

There was a scare with three minutes to play in the game. Rookie referee Wes McCauley was nailed in the face with a deflected shot. He immediately dropped to the ice and had to be helped off. There was a cut above his left eye which required stitches. From the looks of it, a visor would have prevented the injury. No word on his injury, but x-rays on Cam Ward came back negative.

I'll be taking some friends to the Ottawa game on Monday. They're not really fans, but they've always wanted to go.

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