On the road in Buffalo on Wednesday night, the Hurricanes stretched their winning streak to eight games. Including the overtime loss at Toronto the Canes have earned at least one standings point in 11 consecutive games.
Erik Cole made NHL history, but before I get to that, I have to back up a little.
Remember the other day when I griped about the Kerry Fraser-Tim Peel officiating tandem? Fraser has always been one to call diving penalties, and to be honest, Erik Cole is well known as a diver, but when Tim Peel called the diving penalty on Cole as he was breaking away towards an empty net, that was kind of absurd. The penalty denied Eric Staal a hat trick, and one fan a John Deere lawn tractor. In case you missed it the first go-round, here's my initial rant about that. I initially accredited that diving call to Kerry Fraser, but it was actually Peel who made the call. The point still remains that as long as it's a game that Fraser is running, those calls will be made.
I didn't mention it, but when we had the same officiating crew the next home game, Tim Peel stopped by the room to talk to Erik Cole before the game. In a move that Cole called "classy", Peel apologized, admitting that he made a mistake. Nobody in their right mind would dive in a situation like that. While the apology impressed Cole, Sara Kruszka of Raleigh still doesn't have a lawn tractor. She is owed more than an apology.
Tonight, at the HSBC Arena, Tim Peel was again one of the officials. In a karmically perfect twist of fate, Erik Cole made NHL history by being the first player to ever be awarded two penalty shots in the same game. The first came 8:37 into the third period with the Canes up 3-1, and the Sabres enjoying a power play. Cole made a nice pokecheck in neutral ice, which created a breakaway in which he had a step on two Sabres. One let him go, while Jochen Hecht hooked him down. On the penalty shot, Cole made a really nice move to drag it from his forehand to the backhand at the last second, then lift it up over the shoulder of Biron to go top shelf. On the second penalty shot he kept it on the forehand, faked to the backhand t the last second, and just missed, as Biron was up to the task.
Eric Staal was good for one assist tonight, making his total for the season 27 points (11g /16a).
Cory Stillman added his 11th, 12th and 13th assists of the season.
Ray Whitney continues to be a superb addition to our squad, getting our first goal of the night with five minutes to go in the first. He has appeared in eight games, and has recorded four goals and nine assists. He has been held scoreless in only one game thus far.
Thomas Vanek, who I selected as my pre-season choice for rookie of the year, scored his first and second NHL goals for the Sabres to go with the 10 assists he has. He also demonstrated that he is a very gifted player and a natural scorer. He was, by the way, selected fifth overall in the 2003 entry draft. The same year that Eric Staal was taken by the Canes with the #2 overall pick. If not for some stellar work by Martin Gerber, Vanek might have had four goals.
A-Hutch is out with a hip flexor, and is also still unsigned.
Next up: a road game at Florida on Friday.
5 years ago