Toronto Maple Leafs --- 4,275,634
Carolina Sons of Motherless Whores --- 1
(tip of the hat to the boys at CinO)
On Tuesday night, Carolina had a chance to strengthen their tenuous hold on the sixth playoff spot in the East with a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is a team on the outside looking in, desperate for a chance to return to the playoffs. Carolina is a team limping through the race as they approach the quarter pole. They will should be at full health heading down the homestretch and won't have any excuses if they can't finish in the top eight.
"Ole One Eye", aka Chairman Mo, aka "Paul Maurice" came back into town with the much maligned duo of Jeff "Public Urination" O'Neill and Bates "Manwhore" Battaglia and shut the home crowd up with a very impressive first period. Although the score was knotted at one after 20 minutes, Toronto was by far the better team. They outshot Carolina 14-4, dominated puck possession and puck position, outhit, out-hustled and just plain outplayed Carolina. They were roaring out of the gates with seven SOG in the first three and a half minutes played. In that same amount of time, Carolina's defensemen couldn't even keep their equipment in order. Dennis Seidenberg broke two sticks in the first three minutes of play. This, naturally, made things much more difficult for Cam Ward.
Bates Battaglia scored the game's first goal at 14:00 by tucking in a rebound of a John Pohl shot. Ward made the stop and there was a short rebound off to his left. Unfortunately, Batesy was there all alone on the right post to tuck it in for the easy goal. Ian White got the secondary assist.
Ray Whitney answered back at 16:06 to tie it up on a garbage goal. Dennis Seidenberg made a beautiful home run pass to Whitney from his own end to the Toronto blue line. Whitney went in all alone and Andrew Raycroft stopped his point blank attempt, but the puck trickled through Raycroft's equipment and over the goal line. Rod Brind'Amour picked up the secondary helper.
There was no scoring in the second period.
Nic Antropov gave the Leafs the lead they would never surrender at 0:37 of the third. It was just about a carbon copy of the Battaglia goal. Mats Sundin and Tomas Kaberle got the helpers.
There was a lot of action, and some chippiness in the next ten minutes, but nothing happened until Antropov scored again at 16:20. He wrapped around the back of the goal and lifted it top shelf from over near the right post. Same positioning as the first two goals. Bryan McCabe got the only assist.
The Canes were early to pull the goalie with about 2:30 to play, and with six forwards on the ice, they couldn't accomplish anything. Scott Walker did a nice job of saving an empty net bid, but before it was all said and done, Tomas Kaberle got to the vacated cage. One of those "who wants it" plays. Three Leafs came into the Carolina zone all alone. A couple of passes later, Kaberle buried it from the right circle. Chad Kilger and Battaglia got the assists.
During the first period, Eric Belanger was awarded a penalty shot on what I thought was a questionable call. It was no matter because he couldn't convert the shot. He drifted in to the left of Raycroft, hesitated too much and didn't score.
There was absolutely nothing redeeming about this game. Nothing. They looked awful. They deserved to lose. They looked like a team that will play themselves out of a playoff position, or one who will get demolished in the first round.
There was, actually, one redeeming thing. In a very silly way. There's a woman in my section on whom I have a perma-crush (for about three seasons now). I've never actually spoken to her, but always thought she's hot. I haven't seen her much this season, and even if I don't talk to her, it's still fun to look at pretty women, and it always cheers me up to see this one.
Anyway, the Canes will be back in action at home on Thursday night against the Bolts and again on Saturday at home against the Bruins. I would say that the Canes will have to win both of those games.
The way the "official" three stars went was:
Andrew Raycroft (third), Ray Whitney (second) and Nic Antropov (first).
Almost, but I just can't justify giving the Canes anything. The RBH Three Stars of the Game:
Third Star Andrew Raycroft, TOR -- 28 saves, win
Second Star Tomas Kaberle, TOR -- 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 takeaways
First Star Nic Antropov, TOR -- 2 goals (GWG)
4 years ago