On Tuesday night, they canes had a one night stand at the RBC Center sandwiched between a five game road swing and a forthcoming four game swing. They snapped their three game losing skid by defeating the visiting Rangers 5-3.
There was all kinds of good news in that game. Most importantly, they won the game against another one of the East's top teams. Also, the power play was able to click, converting one of their three chances. While this game was going on, another battle of the East's best was also taking place ---Ottawa was hosting Tampa. Any outcome would favor the Canes in some way. If Ottawa had lost, the Canes would widen that lead in the President's Trophy race. If Tampa lost, the Canes would widen their lead in the Southeast Division as they head down the stretch. Ottawa won that game, which means that the Canes lead in the Southeast is 22 points. The Canes win coupled with the Bolts loss means that Carolina's "magic number" with respect to Tampa is now 11. With respect to Atlanta (who, for the moment, is on the outside looking in), it is eight.
Another very exciting plus about that game is that Doug Weight is completely en fuego. He had two goals and an assist on Tuesday, and now has a three game points streak. During that streak, he has six points (3/3). Of course we shan't expect him to maintain a two-points-a-night clip for the rest of the season, but at any rate, this should silence the throng of naysayers. The same folks who were throwing in the towel after we lost the first game of the season were moaning about Weight's "lack of production" after just two games. They got louder when his "lack of production" reached eight games. They didn't want to hear "Be patient" or "but look at the great passes he makes, look at all the intangibles he brings".
The first of those two goals was a long bomb from about 55 feet out that everyone assumed had been redirected in front. However, it was clean. Kevin Weekes didn't have much of a chance on it because of all the traffic. The second was a thing of absolute beauty. Ray Whitney and Weight came in on a break. Three Rangers converged on Whitney out on the left wing, leaving Weight all by himself on the right. Whitney made a perfect pass, and Dougie easily slammed it past Weekes. At that point, it was 3-1 at the midway point of the second. After the Rangers missed a penalty shot, the teams each scored a goal. Carolina, however, knew that they couldn't rest easily with a two goal lead.
Late in the third, Petr Sykora took care of some loose change out front to make it a one goal game, and the Rangers pulled Weekes. Not long after that, Cory Stillman easily scored into the open net to effectively end the game.
During the first intermission, the tv guys interviewed Erik Cole. He looked good, and he was in really good spirits. They say they'll evaluate him in two weeks and we'll have a better idea of whether he'll be available for the playoffs. Also, Josef Vasicek is inching towards being ready to play. They say two more weeks.
The Canes go back on the road for four games, starting Thursday at Montréal. Then Saturday at Boston, Tuesday at Toronto, then the other side of Lake Ontario for a Wednesday game at Buffalo.
3 years ago