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

Monday, December 26, 2005

Canes lose, but keep point streak(s) going

The Hurricanes lost a tough one in Tampa on Monday night in a very exciting game. I won't give much in the way of a proper game recap. Danny Boyle got the game winner for Tampa at 4:27 of the overtime period after some furious action in Carolina's end of the ice. It was his first goal since November 23. Despite the loss, we have a few things to be happy about:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 of Matt Cullen's two goals. He extended his personal point streak to four games. During that span, he has three goals and five assists.
  4. With an assist of a Matt Cullen goal an 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 four five goals and five four assists in that span. On the season, Staalsy has 51 points (25/26 26/25) in 35 games played.
  5. 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.
  6. Matt Cullen had two goals a goal in the first period, extending his own streak to four games. He's got four three 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Bill Purdy said...

I know you have an aversion to the placename Tampa Bay, and I can't help but agree with you. Tampa it is.

But in the same vein, shouldn't we refer to the Hurricanes as the Raleigh Hurricanes, or at the very least, the North Carolina Hurricanes? Because Carolina isn't a real place where people live, any more than is Tampa Bay.

You'll have to excuse me, I drank a lot over the holiday weekend...

("Marturs Gerbe" made me laugh out loud at 6:45 this morning -- quite a feat. Thanks.)

d-lee said...

In fairness, I can't take the credit for "Marturs Gerbe". I picked that up from my new friends Jen and Andy who sit next to me at the games.

Bill Purdy said...

The first time any of the folks in my section have said a word to me this year (except "excuse me" -- my seats are 1 and 2 in the row) was at the Panthers game last weekend, when the guy in front of me turned around and said "it's too bad hockey's not like football and you can decline penalties."

He had a good point.

d-lee said...

Yeah. I got really lucky with Jen and Andy. Last time, I never got a single word out of the folks who sat next to us. We tried, but nobody beside us wanted to be friends. One couple directly behind us, but we never hung out with them. I've been hanging out with these new friends outside the arena.

I think we clicked right off the bat because I and Jen both wear VASICEK sweaters. Incidentally, I was gonna buy a new sweater this season, but I had to buy a new car instead. Maybe at the end of the season when everything is on sale, I'll get one. Not now.

Funny, we were doing that on our end of the rink too. We were protesting the penalties. "But we don't WANT a power play", we kept saying.

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Marturs Gerbe? That's pretty good... :)

Any relation to this guy?

I'll get to see him at the WJC tonight against Finlandia.


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