On the season, the Canes have split the only two home-and-home series they've had, the other coming last week versus the Rangers.
Before the recap, there are several good things that happened in this game, aside from the obvious picking up two points in a divisional matchup.
- We solved Atlanta. After dominating them for the first two years they were in the league, we've been on even ground the past two seasons. This season, we lost both of the previous matchups. It feels good to finally get past their ninth string goaltender.
- Our power play was hot. I believe the correct nomenclature is "shit hot". They connected on the first two power play opportunities, and although they didn't connect the rest of the night, they finished two out of five on the PP. Added to that, the Canes scored a really nice shorthander.
- Eric Staal sends a big FUCK YOU to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk had rubbed Staalsy the wrong way with his over-the-top goal celebration after he broke away from Staal in Raleigh on Sunday afternoon for his second goal of the game. Revenge was sweet as Staal was breaking away shorthanded from Kovalchuk in Atlanta on Tuesday. Kovalchuk tried to hook Staal down (and certainly Staal would have been awarded the penalty shot had he not scored), but Staal finished the play for his second goal of the game, and didn't really celebrate, but glared Kovalchuk down.
- Unheralded Justin Williams extended his point streak to eight games with a goal and an assist. During the streak, he has 12 points (5/7). Williams came to Carolina late last season in the Daniil Markov trade, and was fairly impressive. During the lockout, he had a mediocre season in Sweden. Just before the new NHL got underway, Williams vowed that this would be the season that everyone would know his name. If he continues to play like that, he'll be right. Because of his speed, he's one of the players who benefits the most from the new anti-clutching and grabbing NHL.
Winning is great, but the one thing that would have made this better is if we had won in regulation. Every point matters in divisional play. We can go to overtime against non-conference opponents until the cows come home, but in conference games, and especially in divisional games, we have to win in regulation.
Enough of that.... Recap.
There was no scoring in the third, and it didn't take much of overtime to decide it.
Andrew Hutchinson ended the game with a -1 rating, and did not make it onto the score sheet. He still has just two points on the season.
Up next: Friday night at Dallas. This is a team that has WAY more Finns than should be legal. One would be okay. Two would be stretching it. But they've got FOUR Finns on their forward lines alone. Perhaps we (and I mean that in the royal, editorial sense) should start referring to Dallas as "New Helsinki". Coach Lavi will get a good look at Bill Guerin and Mike Modano, both of whom will certainly make the final Team USA roster for Torino '06.