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

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Canes lose a heartbreaker, fall behind 2-0

On Monday, the Canes played a MUCH better game, but ended up on the losing end of a 6-5 double overtime thriller. They will head up to Montréal down two games. The Habs will have a chance to pull off a shocking sweep on home ice. I wouldn't bet on that, though.

For the first 20 minutes, things didn't look so good. The Habs were more aggressive than the Canes, they did a better job of completing their own passes and denying our passing lanes. Some poor officiating aside, the Habs absolutely had control of the first period. Martin Gerber was sent to the showers after surrendering three goals on 13 shots in only 14 minutes of play. After that, things started to turn around for the home team.

Early in the second, Matt Cullen got a bit of a fluky goal, which got the ball rolling for Carolina. Midway through the second, Brindy connected on a power play goal just seconds after a five-on-three had elapsed. They were awarded a great chance to make a lot of ground when Richard Zednik took a high-sticking double minor at 9:36, but they failed to score on either side of the penalty.

The mood was much better in the concourse and seating bowl during the second intermission. We had confidence in the boys and we had two penalties to the Habs on the board. There's not a better situation to ask for. Fresh sheet of ice, start of the period, two man advantage. Carolina struck twice to take the lead 4-3 at 1:15 of the third. Ray Whitney got the first one at 0:22 of the period, then Brindy got a wrap around to give us the lead early in the period. Needless to say, the mood had gotten even better.

The Habs would score the next two goals in quick succession to take a 5-4 lead. Kovalev at 5:22 and Zednik at 5:58. We still felt good, though.

At 18:30, with Cam Ward pulled for an extra attacker, Cory Stillman evened the score at 5, and we could breathe again.

First overtime was dominated by Carolina. They had loads of scoring chances, even shorthandedly, but Huet stood tall. In the end, it would be the Habs' Michael Ryder who got the game winner. Obviously, that made him the first star of the game. Second star went to Alex Kovalev, who had one goal and one assist. Third star went to Rod Brind'Amour with two goals. I don't understand why Eric Staal, who had four assists, wasn't one of the stars, but I guess that's how it goes.

Despite being down two games, I don't feel that bad. They showed strength and will in Monday's game. Now they now that the pressure is on, it's time for them to show some character. I think if the Canes can take game 3, up in La Belle Province, they have a chance. Of course winning them both would be better, but we have to take game 3.

Puck drop on Wednesday will be 7:00.

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