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

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Canes pop the Caps

Everything I asked for came true tonight in the Canes 7-2 thrashing of the visiting Capitals.
First, Eric Staal continued his streak of goals. Coming into tonight, he had scored at least one goal in each of our three games so far, but had no assists. In fact, the Canes had only scored two goals by players not named Eric Staal. Tonight, the 20-year-old scored another goal, extending his goal streak to four games and his goal total to five. In addition, he added three helpers, bringing his point total to eight, tying him for first place in the league. While this is cool on the individual accomplishment level, there were some other things that happened which were very cool.

The best thing is that we finally got the power play going. We converted 3 of 7 power play opportunities, getting goals from Matt Cullen, Staal, and Rod Brind'Amour. On the Staal goal, there is absolutely no way that the Eric Staal who weighed 185 pounds in 2003-04 would have scored that goal. It took a lot of strength to fight off two guys. Then, from a pretty sharp angle, he forced Olie the Goalie to overcommit, and he found a wide open net and an easy goal. It was gorgeous.

The second really good thing is that we got six different players to register their first goal. Cullen, Brind'Amour, Erik Cole, Nick Nordgren, Bret Hedican and Justin Williams.

We continued to get good defensive play out of Calgary Flames castoff Mike Commodore and Aaron Ward.

So we scored more than two, we spread the wealth around, and we produced on the power play. My three keys to the game.

Cameron Ward looked fantastic again in earning his second win in three starts. The caps "scored" two goals, and one of them will probably later be ruled an "empty net" goal, freeing Ward of responsibility for it. The other Caps goal was by rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin, who worked very hard on the play.

We continued a really bad trend that most likely set an NHL record. For the second game in a row, we scored an own-goal. Early in the second period, the Canes had drawn a delayed penalty, Cam was pulled for an extra skater. Pretty normal. Like something out of the Twilight Zone, Nick Wallin made a backpass to nobody, and the puck sailed right into the empty Carolina net. As the last Cap to touch it, Zubris got credit for an unassisted goal. I incorrectly assumed that this empty net goal did not belong to Ward, but it in fact DID show up in his stats. That's criminal in my book.

Andrew Hutchinson was a healthy scratch, and stands on zero points for the season.

We saw Frantisek Kaberle for the first time, and he did a pretty good job.

Up next: a visit to the swamp.


d-lee said...

Actually, upon further review, Cam Ward was still technically on the ice, standing at the Canes bench area when the puck crossed the line, so it is his responsibility. Although he wasn't in net, this can't technically be called an empty net goal. I understand the technicality of it, but I don't agree with it. I think the scorekeeper should have some discretionary powers there, the way baseball umpires are allowed to rule guys out at second base on double plays even when the second baseman has his pivot foot a foot away from the bag. Technically the runner isn't out, but this is always permitted in the turning of a double play.

Anonymous said...

I know this will tick off a lot of Crosby fans, but watching Ovechkin last night and Crosby last Friday, the Russian is the better of the two. WOW, he has crap around him, but what a player! Crosby will benefit from the press love affair and the better players in Pittsburgh, but the moves Alexander made were scary. You also summed it up well with the fact that Ovechkin doesn't seem lazy. You knew when he was on the ice.

It was also something to think that not that long ago we were watching him get drafted in the very same place he scored his first goal (the stage was even on that end!).

It was nice to see the 'Canes get moving. Now a real test in NJ.

d-lee said...

I'm not sure what news source people have been using, but you aren't the first person to incorrectly state that it was Ovechkin's first goal. It was, in fact, his fourth of the season. He had two on opening night.

Sorry to burst your bubble.


CasonBlog said...

Three hightlights for me in the Craps/Canes game. One was AWard giving thuggy ex-captain Brendan Witt the business. Two was Nordgren proving he's as much grit as he is grace. He battled two blueliners and the goalies in the crease to score his fist lamplighter. Three was the continued dominance of Staal. He looks like he's got that Gretzky-like knowing where the puck is going to be thing working.

d-lee said...

Yeah, I agree with you. A Ward has been amazing thus far. He crushed SuperMario on opening night, and he's been leveling people with legal hits all over the place. He lost some weight and is obviously more fit than last time out. I like his play and that of Mikey C. He's impressed the hell out of me.

I REALLY worry about Staal. This is the last year of his rookie contract. Will we be able to afford him looking forward? I really hope that PK is making plans to make him the centerpiece of the organization at any cost.


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