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

Friday, December 22, 2006

Canes win third straight

On Friday night, the Hurricanes won their third straight game in decisive fashion by defeating the visiting Islanders 5-1. Thanks in part to some good bounces, a crappy goaltender, and an active power play unit, the boys in red made it look easy.

Before getting into game summary mode, I'd like to give Tim Gleason some mad props. He had a really amazing game. There's no doubt in my mind that he was Carolina's best defenseman tonight, and was one of the best players on either team. In the first period, especially, he made some great poke checks and had some very nice stick work to deny scoring chances.

In the post game presser, Isles coach Ted Nolan quipped
"Every team in the league has bad games, and we certainly had an off one tonight,"

Goaltender Rick DiPietro blamed the loss on the fact that they're basking in the glow of their win in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
"We had to follow it up with a big win, or at least a hard-fought effort. It's a terrible excuse to lose a game. We can't win one and then lose one because you're drained emotionally."

What? You're serious? On two days rest you can't recharge your "emotional batteries"?

In case you're scoring along at home, DiPietro will be in an Islanders sweater for 1,197 more games and 118 of them will be against the Rangers. That's a drop in the bucket. If he only wants to show up "emotionally" less than 10% of the time, it will be a VERY long 5,226 days on Lawn Guylund. Drop the high school theatrics, Ricky.

Rod Brind'Amour got the scoring started at 3:54 of the first during a five-on-three sequence. From the low slot area, Brindy had a couple of whacks at it, and finally, with Di-P laying flat on his back, the Captain got it past him. The assists went to Bret Hedican Cory Stillman and Ray Whitney.

At 12:52, Viva potted what would end up being the game winning power play goal. Whitney fired a shot that bounced around a lot, and somehow found Williams all alone in the lower part of the left faceoff circle. He easily beat the $67.5 Million Man. Whitney and Brind'Amour got the assists. Viva now has 16 goals and is still on pace for a 77 point season. He's now riding a six game point streak.

Erik Cole, who was the best Eric/k of the night got the Canes only even strength goal at 1:53 of the second. Di-P gave up a big rebound on a Cory Stillman shot, setting up Cole in the slot. His wrister from there should have been an easy read, but it slowly trickled through Ricky's five hole for a 3-0 Canes lead. Stillman and Eric Staal (third best Eric/k) got the assists.

Eric Belanger (second best Eric/k) scored a very authoritative power play goal at 6:15, making the game look like somewhat of a mockery. He slapped one in from the right faceoff dot after settling a cross-ice pass from Brind'Amour. Secondary assist went to Glen Wesley.

Scott Walker, who was one of two gentlemen to hand Brendan Witt his ass, got the Canes fifth and final goal at 1:43 of the third. After forcing a turnover deep in the Isles end, Cory Stillman fed Walker in the low slot. He slapped it in from there, which prompted the crowd to sing another rendition of "DiPietro, you suck"

Cam Ward's shutout bid was ended at 8:09 of the third. Chris Simon picked up a loose puck and fired it past Ward from the right side of the net. Jason Blake and Alexi Yashin got the assists.

The Canes, whose power play had been atrocious all season, got four goals with a man advantage, and were four out of nine total. That's very good, and the lively power play has everything to do with Cory Stillman. He had three assists, and now has six total in only four games.

I swore that Carolina was whistled for another one of those delay of game(puck in crowd) penalties midway through the third, which would have been SIX GAMES IN A ROW. However, the penalty turned out to be Brind'Amour for roughing. Okay. Whatever.

Brendan Witt twice enraged the Canes. Late in the first, he got tangled with Scott Walker behind the Isles net. A scrum ensued and Walker eventually got the KO. I can only guess that Witt said some ungentlemanly things about Walker's wife, because after Witt was down, Walker continued to pummel him. After the linesman pulled them apart, Walker wasn't ready to let it go.

Midway through the third, Mike Commodore took offense to Witt running Cam Ward. The two discarded their equipment and duked it at Carolina's blue line, with Commodore eventually earning the upper hand.

The "official" three stars went to Viva (third), Stillman (second) and Brind'Amour (first). I didn't quite see it that way. The RBH three stars:

Third Star Tim Gleason, CAR
Second Star Justin Williams, CAR -- Game winning goal
First Star Cory Stillman, CAR -- 3 assists

Carolina will travel to Florida for a Saturday night game against the Panthers

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