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

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Canes fall flat, shut out by Habs.

On Thursday night, the stage was set for Rod Brind'Amour to score his 1000th career point in front of the home crowd. The stage was set for Erik Cole to jumpstart his slow start against the team he loves to terrorize. The stage was set for the Canes to move two points closer to Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

None of that happened. The Canes came out and stank up the joint en route to getting shut out 4-0 by the visiting Habitants.

Although the outcomes of Wednesay's and Thursday's games are quite different, they can both be summed up the same way. Poor special teams performance and really really sloppy defense were defining charachteristics in both games. I can't say that Kari Lehtonen was to blame for Atlanta's loss on Wednesay. He had no help in front, and he was hung out to dry on at least two of Carolina's goals. On Thursday, Cam Ward was put in the automatic dryer, left out in the sun for a couple of days, then put in the oven just for good measure. That's how dry he was left. On two of Montréal's goals, there was nothing he could do. One other was caused by a lack of support in front. He takes the "L", but it wasn't really his fault.

There was no scoring in the first period, nor anything penalty-wise worth mentioning. Carolina got off 16 shots in that first frame, but no quality chances.

At 10:45 into the second, Michael Komisarek got the Habs on the board with a shorthanded goal. Just after a 5-on-3 expired, they were able to generate a cheap chance that actually bore fruit. Komisarek attempted a centering pass from down below the goal line to the right of the goal. Somehow, it found its way in the net. At first it looked like it was tipped in by Steve Begin on the doorstep, but it must have been a Canes defenseman who caused the redirection. Begin got the only assist.

Saku Koivu, who suffered a serious eye injury the last time he played in Raleigh, gave the Habs the only insurance they would need at the 12:29 mark. Carolina's defense broke down in the neutral zone, and Koivu was able to make a dipsy-doodle move and beat Ward badly. It looked like he was the only skater on the ice. Everyone else was playing "statues". Granted, the Habs were on the power play, but it really did look like there were zero Canes skaters out there. Later in the game, he would put on some other displays, but this would be his only point.

At about 17:00 of the second, it became pretty clear that this would be a shutout. Carolina looked awful.

In the third period, the Canes were even worse than they had already been.

Mike Johnson scored on a breakaway at 13:07 of the third. A turnover in the Montréal end led to the one on zero break. There wasn't much of anything Cam could do there. Radek Bonk and Michael Komisarek got the helpers. I haven't reviewed the game to nail down the guy who committed the turnover, and I probably won't.

Still holding on for a "Miracle at the ATM", people stuck around. I'm stubborn. I always stick around to the bitter end. As if it wasn't painful enough, though, the Habs scored ANOTHER shortie in this game to salt it away. It came at 14:56 of the third and final frame. Again it was started by a sloppy turnover in the neutral zone, or down in the Habs zone. It was Tomas Plekanec on a one-on-zero break from the center red line. He worked it in down low and used a nifty backhand to get past Ward. It was unassisted.

Two shorthanded goals, one power play goal and one even strength. This is not the kind of night the Canes wanted. Fatigue from the back-to-back games is probably a factor, but it's not a good excuse for totally getting destroyed like that.

Erik Cole was flying, but obviously wasn't able to register any points. Chad LaRose looked great, and Scotty Walker was playing defense better that some of the defenseman. Aside from those three, the team was awful. Superstars included.

The Habs made a clean sweep of the three stars. The Raleigh media and I aren't far off in our assignment of them. The "offical" three stars go to Komisarec (3rd), Koivu (2nd) and Christobal Huet (1st).

The Red and Black Hockey three stars are:
Third Star Saku Koivu, MON. 1 goal
Second Star Michael Komisarec, MON. 1 SH goal (game winner), 1 assist
First Star Christobal Huet, MON. 31 saves, SO.

Up next, the Canes will travel to Ottowa. I'll be in Washington DC at a wedding.

No comments:


Red And Black Hockey is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Club, the National Hockey League or any of its other member clubs. The opinions expressed herein are entirely those of RBH. Any comments made are the opinion of the commenter, and not necessarily that of RBH.
Whenever possible, RBH uses its own photography. Any incidental use of copyrighted material including photography, logos or other brand markings will not interfere with the owner's profits.