While I was off dorking away at my Scrabble tournament, my Hurricanes lost the last two games of their seven game road swing. On Friday, they lost 5-4 to the undefeated Sabres, and on Saturday they lost 4-3 in overtime to the Islanders. They managed to earn seven standings points on the seven game trip, but they would have liked more, and felt like they should have gotten more.
First things first. I did well enough to take third place out of 19 players in my division. In Friday's random pairing round robin, I crushed all three opponents, building a huge cumulative point spread. I was the #1 seed going into Saturday's games, and protected my position by going 6-2 on Saturday in games versus other players seeded in the top four. After each game, the pairings are re-seeded, and you always play opponents closest to you in the standings. Going into Sunday, I was tied for first with a 9-2 record. I lost twice in a row against the guy who finished first, then beat the guy who finished fourth. In my final game, I was tied for second place with four losses, but lost to the guy I was tied with. So I finished with 10 wins and five losses, a cumulative point spread of +607 and $90 in prize money. I figure I'll get to play in one more tournament in the low division, then I'll get bumped up to the next division where I would probably be on the low end of the middle of the pack.
I still haven't watched the DVR of Friday night's game, but I got all the text messages (thank you). When I powered up my phone late Friday, there were quite a few of them! From what I read in the newspaper, it sounded like the Canes were able to match the Sabres speed and skill, but were outshot by a wide margin. Also, the Sabres did an excellent job of shutting down the Canes power play. Even though the Canes were able to convert one of their five power plays, they only mustered a grand total of three shots while on a man advantage.
In that game, both teams scored once on the power play, and once shorthandedly. Carolina's shorthanded goal was special, though. It was the first 3-on-5 goal in Carolina Hurricanes history, and the first in the NHL this season. Last season, there was only one of those in the whole league. Late in the game with the Sabres leading 5-3 and enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage, Tim Gleason made a great move laying his stick on the ice to deny a Sabres pass. Erik Cole sprung up ice on a one-on-one, took a shot which Ryan Miller stopped, but gave a big rebound to Mike Commodore who stuffed it in. That's the only part of the highlights that I've even seen.
In a bit of crazy news (perhaps some karmic payback), even the guys called up to replace injured guys are getting injured. Keith Aucoin, who was called up to replace the injured Andrew Ladd, suffered a broken foot, and will be out. However, there will be no need to recall Jesse Boulerice. Ladd will probably be back in the lineup on Wednesday at home against the Thrashers.
On Saturday, the Canes had John Grahame between the pipes. They fell behind 2-0 to the Islanders. Viva got them right back in it with two third period markers. One shorthanded, and one on the power play. Later in the third, Rod Brind'Amour got a tip in of a Ryan Bayda shot to give the Canes the lead. However, they gave up a late power play goal to Mike Sillinger, after which Jason Blake laid down on him and kissed him on the mouth. Did anyone else notice that? Still later in the third, the Canes committed another penalty, which would carry over to the overtime period. Tom Poti scored just 23 seconds into that fourth frame to give the Isles the win.
While that was happening, the Sabres were busy pasting the Bruins for their eighth straight win. They're good. They're "scary good". And if that isn't enough, the AHL Rochester Amerks are also undefeated. Mark from BFLOBLOG has the details. It's wicked early for this kind of talk, but a Stanley Cup for the big team and a Calder Cup for the little team? Holy crap!
The North Carolina State Fair is finally over, and the Canes can return to their barn. They'll be home against the Thrashers on Wednesday.
3 years ago