- Even though there was a net loss of one standings point, we still got one point. The boys have gotten points in six straight games. Now Carolina's lead over Tampa is eight. Ottawa and Buffalo each won their game to keep the margin in the Northeast at two points. Meanwhile, since Ottawa beat the Rangers and Philly beat Florida, the Rangers widened their lead in the Atlantic to three points.
- Andrew Hutchinson assisted a Matt Cullen power play goal at 15:13 of the first period. Hutch now has one goal and six assists for seven total points. Just one more! He's been a nice surprise as a defenseman, and another valuable part of the power play quarterbacking team.
- US Olympian Erik Cole scored a dandy of a goal on a semi-breakaway only forty seconds into the third period to knot the game at four. In addition, he assisted on
one ofMatt Cullen's twogoal s. He extended his personal point streak to four games. During that span, he has three goals and five assists.
- With a
n assist of a Matt Cullen goalan unassisted goal at 17:30 of the first period and an assist on a Cory Stillman goal in the second period, Canada pseudo-Olympian Eric Staal kept his personal point streak going. He has points in each of the last four games, totaling fourfive goals and fivefour assists in that span. On the season, Staalsy has 51 points ( 25/2626/25) in 35 games played.
- Cory Stillman's goal at 3:58 of the second means he has a point in his last five games. During the streak he has one goal and seven assists.
- Matt Cullen had
two goalsa goal in the first period, extending his own streak to four games. He's got fourthree goals and two assists in those games.
note: originally, the Staal goal was credited to Cullen on a re-direct, but after the game, they ruled that it was all Staal.
Viva was unable to extend his streak to six games, and Brind'Amour was unable to extend his to seven, but the point remains that they're really spreading it around, and they're staying "hot" as a unit. Not just one or two guys, but the whole team is getting it done.
Things the Canes should be concerned about:
- Despite converting on both power play chances in the first period, and two of four for the game, the Hurricanes PP unit is volatile, at best. I'd settle for a "slightly better than average" PP so long as it's consistent. As is, they're Jekyll one night, and Hyde the next.
- Marturs Gerbe isn't good at handling the puck. He did really well with it earlier in the season, but he's been having trouble lately, including having some difficulty with the trapezoid. Tonight's issue was not trapezoid-related, but he earned the TEVVY for the night by trying too hard to play the puck instead of letting a skater come get it. While we were on a power play in the first, Gerber went behind the net to chase a puck, played it really awkwardly into the hands of the short-handed Lightning, lost his stick in the process, and gave up the shorty to Dave Andreychuk at 17:03. He tried too hard in the Florida game on Friday night, too. I commented about it to my friends at the game, but he got away with it then. He even picked up an assist on Friday. He didn't get away with it tonight, and I wish he'd cut it out.
- Bret Hedican isn't playing well lately. He's gotten away with some really bad passes in the past couple of games, and he wasn't the scapegoat tonight, but sooner or later, his sloppy play in our own end is going to hurt us. In general, he's an excellent defenseman, but he might be thinking about his groin injury too much.
Next: a Wednesday blockbuster bonanza at the Eastern Conference leading Senators. In three matchups so far, the Canes have won two and lost one.
I'll keep ya posted.