On Sunday evening, the Hurricanes bounced back from a two game skid to defeat the visiting Buffalo Sabres in shootout. It was a terrific game from start to finish.
Before the game, we raised banners to the ceiling in honor of our seven players heading off to the Olympics, and of course head coach Peter Laviolette. Each banner has the players' name, his nation's flag, the Torino Games logo, and the Hurricanes logo. As far as I know, these banners will only be temporary. Like the Francis sweater, these hang directly above me, so I had to wait until the game was over to get a good shot of them. Note the final score on the scoreboard. Click the photo for an enlargement.
Nic "the Secret Weapon" Wallin started things off at 16:16 of the first with a blast from the point on an errant clearing attempt by the Sabres. The unassisted goal got just over Miller's shoulder on the glove side, and somehow, under the crossbar. That would be the only scoring in the first.
J.P. Dumont knotted it at one at the 7:36 mark of the second on a really nice play that started with a long pass from Paul Gaustad. Maxim Afinogenov then centered it to Dumont who easily beat Gerber from the right faceoff dot.
Exactly one minute later, Erik Cole potted his 26th goal of the season when Cory Stillman found him all alone in front of the net. Cole was, as Canes radioman Chuck Kaiton would say, shaking hands with Ryan Miller, and when he took Stillman's pass, he had time to settle the puck, pick his spot, and lift it backhanded over Miller's glove side shoulder. Truthfully, it didn't matter where he shot it because Miller was spread-eagle face down. Something about a rented mule. Eric Staal picked up the secondary assist on the play. It was the 39th helper of the season for both Staal and Stillman.
At 16:58 of the second, J.P. Dumont struck again, with his second goal of the game and his tenth of the season. He got about forty thousand whacks at it as Gerber couldn't freeze the puck after Kotalik's shot from the right point had the Canes netminder handcuffed. The secondary assist on the power play goal went to Campbell.
Once again, there was another goal less than a minute later. This time, though, it was the Sabres with the follow-up. Derek Roy got his seventh goal of the season at 17:35 after a sloppy clearing attempt by Carolina's Oleg Tverdovsky. Afenogenov got the only assist on the goal.
At 5:37 of the third, Viva tied the game at three when he redirected a Ray Whitney shot from the left point. In real-time, it looked to me like it was redirected off Weight, then Brindy, but they said Viva. Cullenator X got the other assist.
There would be no scoring for the remainder of regulation.
The overtime period was DOMINATED by the Canes, but they couldn't put one in. In the five minute stanza, they tested Miller seven times, while the Sabres only fired upon Gerber once.
And so it went to shootout, where the Canes had a record of 5-1 to the Sabres' 4-3.
It went to six rounds, and in the bottom of the sixth, it was Staal who got the winner.
I still think the player with the winner should get credit for a "game winning goal", but they don't even count the "goal" for personal stats.
It was a fantastic game that had a great ending. There was a full house, and we ended our mini-slump. When we come back from break, there;s just 25 games to go. Buckle up, 'cause this is gonna be a wild ride.
With 82 points, the Canes head into the break atop the Eastern Conference. They are one point behind Detroit, with a game in hand on the Wings.
During the break, I'll be shifting my focus to the red white and blue. Get all your Olympic hockey coverage right here. Atleast if it concerns team USA. I'll make an effort to write about Women's hockey too, but I can't make any promises.
3 years ago