Carolina played a very solid game on Friday following the frustrating loss to Buffalo on Thursday. The result was a 4-2 win over the Ducks. They were injury riddled, but the Canes will offer no sympathy in that department, as they are also depleted. What follows is the period-by-period updates done during intermissions. It'll take the place of my usual game recap. I left the comments (I was the only one playing along) in.
The Canes tested Wall early and often. He answered the bell a couple of times in the first minute, and looked much better than his inexperience would suggest.
--7:42 Ray Whitney scores on a beautiful one-timer from Justin Williams. Avi Tanabe got the second assist. Tanabe (playing for the first time in weeks) started at the right point, worked his way across the ice, then dropped it back to Viva. He made a perfect tape-to-tape pass to The Wizard, who blasted the one-timer past Wall on the stick side.
Formally speaking, it was a power play goal at 7:42 of the first. Whitney from Williams and Tanabe.
Moments later, Carolina was on another power play and had a couple of great chances denied by Wall. In particular a really nice one on Scott Walker.
Late in the first, Carolina had another great chance turned aside by the rookie. Cory Stillman had a great breakaway chance that Wall made a really nice glove save on.
After 20 minutes, I like the way things look. Carolina will have to avoid the second period lull that has plagued them lately, and they will need to continue to play well on the kill.
A BUSY SECOND PERIOD:
Just :41 into the second, Teemu Selanne unleashed a howitzer from the high slot that beat Ward badly on the glove side. Ward didn't have a chance on the play. Scott Niedermayer and Mike Wall got the assists.
At 3:22, Selanne struck again. During a Ducks power play, he slapped one in from the left circle, beating Ward stick side. Chris Pronger and Andy McDonald got the assists.
At this point, it looked like Carolina might have been slipping, hitting the "lull". Fortunately, they were able to right the ship quickly.
Rod Brind'Amour evened the score at the 4:31 mark on a power play marker. Ray Whitney made a really nifty move to work his way through traffic in the high slot, then wristed a shot that was ever so slightly deflected by Brind'Amour. I thought it was Whitney's goal, but the replays got a good look at the deflection. Avi Tanabe got the second helper.
At 6:57, Viva put the Canes in front with his 19th goal of the season. He let one go from the inside hash marks of the left circle. Brind'Amour and Whitney got the helpers.
So far, the Wizard has three points while Viva, Brind'Amour, and Avi each have two.
I'd still like to get Cole involved, but so far, so good.
A quick period. The only goal was an empty netter at 19:30 by Erik Cole. Chris Pronger was gone for a double minor high sticking, and Wall was gone for the extra attacker. Carolina managed to work the puck to center ice, but missed two shots from that distance. After the second, Cory Stillman raced down to battle for the puck. An attempted clear by the Ducks went right to Colesy high in the slot. He wristed it in with authority from there to seal the deal.
Officially, the last goal was unassisted, and was a power play goal into an empty net.
Carolina has done something that only five teams had done thus far: beat the Ducks in regulation.
Unfortunately it came at a cost: Nic Wallin had to leave the game with an "upper body concern". Now we have THREE of our top six defensemen out. Tonight, Carolina had seven defensemen dressed, so it was okay, and they'll be able to dress Keith Aucoin (scratched tonight) as the twelfth forward on Sunday night. Nothing catastrophic.
The "official" three stars of the game were Viva (third), Ray Whitney (second) and the Captain (first). This was a perfunctory gesture on "Rod Brind'Amour night" (celebrating his reaching 1,000 career points), but he was still one of the best players on the ice. As homerish as I love to be, I can't quite play it that way. There's no way to ignore the performance of Teemu Selanne, who, by the way, has 1088 points in 999 career games (counting tonight).
The RBH three stars:
Third Star: Justin Williams, CAR. GWG on 1 shot, assist, GWG, 24:02 TOI
Second Star: Teemu Selanne, ANA. 2 goals on 2 shots
First Star: Ray Whitney, CAR. 1 goal on 1 shot, 2 assists.
Carolina's power play should actually be named the game's first star. They converted three of their six chances, and in reality, it should be more like three of five. Cole scored on the front end of the double minor to Pronger, and the back end still had 1:30 remaining when time expired.
Honorary mention goes to David Tanabe, whom I have given a really hard time. He had a great game both ways, picking up two assists on the night.
At times, Carolina looked the way they did in June. Their passing was crisp, their d-men were really stepping up, they were getting to loose pucks. All of that. They deserved this huge win.
On New Year's Eve, Carolina will play host to the floundering Flyers with the traditional Dec 31 start time of 8:00 pm eastern.
4 years ago