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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Canes lose in shootout

On Saturday night, the Canes dropped a very important game to the visiting Thrashers. The Canes had a one goal midway through the third, but couldn't hold it. As the end of regulation ended, I feared that it would go to shootout, and I didn't like our chances against Atlanta's snipers. I was justified in fearing the shootout, as Carolina was destroyed 2-0 in the fifth frame.

Scott Melanby got things started at 2:54, much to the delight of the 100 or so Thrashers fans sitting at the top of section 112. He stuffed in a rebound near the right post after Garnet Exelby's shot was stopped by Cam Ward. Jon Sim got the secondary assist.

Viva notched his 22nd goal of the season at 5:38 to tie it up. He wristed one in from the right circle assisted by Anton Babchuk and Eric Staal.

At 18:58, Glen Metropolit put the birds ahead 2-1 on a power play goal from a very tough angle. Erik Cole was in the box all by himself feeling shame for his second holding penalty of the period. Greg DeVries and Steve Rucchin assisted on the play.

Ray Whitney tied the game at 9:39 on nifty close range goal. As Rod Brind'Amour was being held up in front of the net, Erik Cole worked it behind the net and slid a backhand pass through the goalmouth to The Wizard, who had snuck in undetected. David "Snuggles" Tanabe got the second assist.

During a four-on-four sequence early in the third, newcomer Dennis Seidenberg gave the Canes a 3-2 lead at 0:27 of the third. He and Erik Cole were on a two-on-one break, Cole sent a nifty pass through the slot and Ham Pizza shot a wrister from the right circle. Kari Lehtonen got a bit of it, but it still trickled through his gear and into the net. It's his first goal as a Cane, and topped off a very good night for him. Cole had the primary assist, and Staal got the secondary.

Bobby Holik knotted it up at 10:27 of the third on a long bomb from the blue line. It was a rising and curving shot as it approached the net, and Cam got a good look at it, but it beat him cleanly top shelf.

As the minutes wound down, and overtime seemed imminent, there was a feeling that we wouldn't be able to take the overtime either. I didn't like the idea of a shootout against these guys, so I was really hoping for a late goal, but that didn't happen.

Nothing happened in the overtime, and the Thrash owned the shootout. Both Slava Kozlov and Maid Marian Hossa beat Ward badly on the stick side. Ray Whitney tried to get too fancy, and Justin Williams couldn't convert his attempt. With the Thrash up 2-0, there was no need for the final shooters, who I assume would have been Ilya Kovalchuk and Erik Cole.

I really think it's worth mentioning that Dennis Seidenberg had a great game. He's a big dude who takes the body when he needs to, and has a very good stick. He laid out five hits. He did a very good job shutting down passing lanes and canceling scoring opportunities. Added to that, he scored a goal by joining the rush and quickly switching to an offensive mindset.

Also, "Snuggles" Tanabe continued to play well. Now there's some speculation that his poor play early was because he was hurt. He's skating well, playing responsibly, and is active as hell offensively. Since returning from a groin injury, he's got five points in eight games, and has been averaging around 22 minutes TOI a night. Also, in his last four games, he has a cumulative rating of +7. He's, suffice to say, looking better. I'm dropping the Avi moniker.

The official three stars and the ones named in the arena were the same:
Garnet Exelby (third), Bobby Holik (second) and Maid Marian Hossa (first)

I didn't quite see it like that. The RBH three stars:

Third Star: Garnet Exelby, ATL -- 2 assists
Second Star: Erik Cole, CAR -- 2 assists
First Star: Bobby Holik, ATL -- goal

Carolina's run of Southeast games continues on Monday night at the Panthers. Then three out of four against the Caps. Meanwhile, the first place Thrashers will be battling the Atlantic division.

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