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

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sens 5 - Canes 3. Canes first losing streak extends to 3 games

On Tuesday night, the Canes had a home matchup with the mighty Ottawa Senators. A matchup that scares me. A matchup we've had twice already this season and won both. This time, however, I correctly guessed that we would lose.
We're banged up. We're tired. We don't deserve to win three in a row against arguably the best team in hockey. There's a number of other excuses, legitimate or not.

Amazingly, though, it wasn't what I thought it would be. I thought that Ottawa's big line of Alfredsson/Heatley/Spezza would steamroll all over us, but it ended up being a little different from that.

This game was not in my ticket package, nor was it televised on Fox Sports South, so I can't give a thorough report. I know... I know. I need to get the Center Ice package.
If you wanna buy it for me, I'll gladly accept your donation.

Even though the big line collaborated for what proved to be the game winning goal, each guy finished the game with a -1 rating. Spezza, who netted that goal, and assisted on one other, was the game's first star.

Special teams ended up being a big factor in this game. Carolina is playing tremendously on even strength, but they've fallen into a special teams rut lately. On their power play, especially, they've been ice cold. On Tuesday they were 0-5 on the power play and surrendered a shorthanded goal in the game's fourth minute. That isn't a good start.

Ottawa was 1-4 on their own power plays.

Judging from the scoresheet alone, Carolina's big line of Cole/Staal/Stillman played really well. Staal had a goal and an assist, Cole had two assists, and Stillman had a goal. Five total points for that line to four for Ottawa's big line. Cole was named the game's second star.

Eric Staal's goal was particularly beautiful, as he had to fight off a very pesky Chris Phillips. He came in one-on-one against Phillips, who did an excellent job of denying Staal any room to work, but Eric somehow found a way to get off a shot that Hasek couldn't stop.

This game featured something that the Senators are very familiar with: the Canes rallied from an early two goal deficit to tie it up. Craig Adams potted a goal late in the first that tied the game at two. This time, however, the Canes wouldn't be able to pull out the win. After the Sens scored the only goal in the second, and Carolina's Cory Stillman answered in the second minute of the third, that would be all the Canes could do. Ottawa's big line got their goal in the fifth minute, and Peter Schaeffer got an empty-netter with one second remaining.

Carolina now leads the season series 2-1. I'd really like to see this as an Eastern Conference Finals matchup, but that's a LOOOOONg way off.

Here's a stat line that may have slipped under the radar:

Craig Adams: (+2) 24 shifts for 19:18 ice time, 1 shot, 1 goal, 100%, 4 hits, 2 takeaways, 1 blocked shot (I LOVE that the NHL is tracking that stat again)

This is a guy that we thought we had seen the last of, and even after we re-acquired him, we thought he would play at Lowell the entire season. Our recent injury situation forced us to bring him back, and he's played really well. He and Kevyn Adams have amazing chemistry. If Craig sticks around, they might be able to do some really good stuff on that line.

Another surprising stat line for the Canes:

Andrew Ladd: (even) 11 shifts for 8:40 of ice time, 3 shots taken, 4 hits

Amazingly, Mikey C didn't hit anybody in the game.

Although he's been removed from the IR, A-Hutch remained a healthy scratch. Still on zero points for the season.

Up next for the Canes is another tilt with the Leafs on Friday.
Our cheerleader/anthem singer will have another chance to get "O Canada" right. She hasn't botched the lyrics, but she's messed up the delivery.
We'll stay put at the RBC Center for a Sunday shot to redeem ourselves against Atlanta, who crushed us 9-0 two weeks ago.
Neither game will be on Fox Sports South, who is broadcasting something like 65 of the 82 games this season.

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