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

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Canes take 3-0 lead in Eastern Semis, Wallin makes a huge play.

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes took the first of two games in the Continental Arena by the final score of 3-2. Game 4 will be Saturday afternoon at 3:00 in the swamp.

If a game 5 is necessary (and I'm guessing that it will), it will be Sunday night in Raleigh at 7:30.

Despite a big talk about intimidating the Hurricanes with beach balls, Devils fans didn't even fill the arena, and the ones who showed up left the arena with their team in a very deep 3-0 hole.

I'd like to point out a play that in my mind was HUGE, but went without comment by the OLN crew. With the Canes clinging to a 3-2 lead late in the third, the Devils had switched up to a four forward system. They were unable to mount any serious pressure, and because the Devils only had one defenseman, the Canes were able to clear the zone easily each time. However, with about 3:30 to play, it looked like the Devils were going to mount a serious threat. They had a 3-on-2 break coming hard into the Canes zone. Jamie Langenbrunner brought the puck down the left side with Scott Gomez and Patrick Elias streaking down the center of the ice. It was here that Nic Wallin, the hero from game 2, made a huge play. Wallin gave up his body, throwing himself to the ice. Three things happened. First, he denied Langenbrunner a shooting opportunity. Second, he denied the passing lanes, leaving Langenbrunner with no options. Third, and most importantly, he poked the puck off Langenbrunner's stick, and the Canes picked up the loose change.

Even though Brindy got the game winner and will be called "hero", I think that specific play by Wallin was of boundless import.

The Canes hit the left post of Brodeur's empty net with a 150-foot shot with about :30 to play, and that was the best scoring chance by either team in the closing seconds.

Justin Williams capitalized on a bad Devils turnover midway through the first, roofing one past the helpless Brodeur. Turnovers were the biggest weakness for the Devils early in game three, and it may have cost them the game. With the goal, Williams extended his playoff scoring streak to three games.

Rod Brind'Amour got the game winner by barely getting a stick on an Eric Staal blast from the blue line. Both guys extended their playoff scoring streaks to a remarkable eight games. Rod Brind'Amour now has 99 career playoff points in 125 games.


CasonBlog said...

I only caught the third period. The Devils looked very tired, sluggish and frustrated whenever they weren't controlling the flow. The 'Canes are back to playing like they expect good things to happen on every shift.

The Acid Queen said...

And that's where they need to be, Cason--I said that at the start of the playoffs; they gotta be where they were at the start of the season when they were having fun and not taking themselves so seriously.

Good things will come for this team. Bank on it.

Doug said...

Chuck Kaiton and John Forsulnd immediately recognized how important this play was and gave Wallin his props for it.

Bill Purdy said...

I cannot disagree. Even though the wife was upstairs trying to put a fussy kid to sleep, that play elicited a loud whoop and a handclap from me.


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