On Friday night, in what the club ridiculously called "Opening Night II", the Canes were shut out by the visiting Devils. Just as the Sabres had done two nights prior, the Devils were able to have their way with the team that ousted them from the 2006 playoffs.
I don't think "have their way" is precise enough for what happened on Friday, though. If you looked at the shot count and the penalty log, you might think that it was an evenly played game. It wasn't. New Jersey was much better right from the puck drop than Carolina. Except for a span of perhaps five minutes during the second period, Carolina looked flat and unfocused. New Jersey looked like they were scrimmaging against a B team.
I wish I could find something positive to say other than "at least we gave up fewer than 5 goals".
I forgot to DVR the game, so I'll have to rely on my notes and my memory. I'll update/correct when I get a look at some footage.
Zach Parise, who is one of USA Hockey's best prospects, got things started very early. The red light came on at 0:26, after Parise tipped in a Colin White point blast. On the live look, I thought it was White's goal, but instead he got the first assist and Brian Gionta got the second.
At 11:30, Jamie Langenbrunner tipped one in from in close to make it 2-0. Rifalski and Brad Lukowich got the assists. Again, my live-look first impression was wrong. I thought it was Travis Zajac who tipped it in. These two goals were basically the same thing. Lots of traffic out front, a long point shot, and a deflection from in close.
Late in the first period, the Canes were having an awful lot of trouble staying out of the box, and the Devils took their Texas time doing it, but they made Carolina pay. During the back end of two consecutive short 5-on-3 sequences, Hepatitis Boy was left all alone on the front porch, and scored a goal on which Carolina seemed to put forth no effort. Gomez and Gionta got the helpers.
At the end of the first stanza, the Canes had only mustered six shots on goal, but none of them were quality scoring chances. The Devils, on the other hand, made the most of their 14 shots, scoring on three of them.
At 6:01 of the second, Parise scored again, making it 4-0. Gomez and Gionta each picked up another assist. Immediately following the goal, as the ensuing face-off was taking place, Kevyn Adams did something very out of character: He dropped the gloves. He and Dan Lacouture squared off in what was really nothing more than a glorified grappling match. I have no idea what sparked it, but it was definitely pre-arranged.
Unfortunately, the fight didn't motivate the team at all. They remained flat and listless until the final horn finally went off. Thankfully, the Devils didn't score any more after that, and the final was 4-0. Already, the Canes have lost two home games. By comparison, they didn't lose their second home game until November 20 last season.
I'm not sure why, but the Canes dressed seven defensemen and sat Chad LaRose. Anton Babchuk was the "extra" defenseman. My guess is that eventually, even before Frantisek Kaberle's return, David Tanabe will be out of the lineup and Anton Babchuk will be in.
Seriously, I have nothing positive to add about the game. It was an utter disaster. In earning the shutout, Marty Brodeur was only seriously challenged twice. Zach Parise deservedly got the first star of the game, Brodeur the second and Elias the third.
On Saturday, the Canes will travel to DC to take on the Capitals. Being the back end of two consecutive games, I'm sure we'll get our first look at John Grahame. Hopefully, the end result will be more savory than Wednesday or Friday.
3 years ago