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.
3 years ago