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

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Carolina falls again

Boston Bruins -- 4
Carolina Hapless Sons of Bitches -- 3

On Saturday, the Hurricanes had a chance to snap out of a three game losing streak when the Bruins came to town. The B's were themselves in a five game skid, and are hopelessly out of contention in the Northeast Division. Instead of righting the ship against the seemingly inferior team, the Hurricanes crashed their own ship into the damn rocks, spilling all their gear into the water, where it all sunk.

Before I get into the game recap proper, I want to make one thing abundantly clear. There will be bloggers and maybe some professional writers who will say otherwise, but the game WAS NOT handed to the Bruins by the officials. Indeed there was a very questionable call made against Carolina in the overtime period, setting up the Bruins for the game-winning goal in a four-on-three situation. However, this isn't the reason the Canes lost.

The ice was in really poor shape. This is not the reason the Canes lost. Both teams had to play on that same sheet of ice.

Carolina lost the game because they were terrible on the power play. They converted only one out of 10 power play chances. Included in that, there were two lengthy back-to-back five-on-three situations. In an ideal world, you get four goals out of that, but Carolina could muster just one there. They had several other power play opportunities, and looked awful every time. The passing was bad, the shot selection was bad, the utilization of open space was bad, the line changes were bad, the "quarterbacking" was bad. It was just flat out bad. If you fail to cash in on five-on-three situations, and if you only convert 10% of power plays on home ice, you deserve to lose.

I don't wish to get into any discussions about the validity of any penalties called against the Canes. That stuff is immaterial. If they had taken care of their own opportunities, overtime wouldn't have ever existed.

In the first period, it looked like Carolina was going to take control Erik Cole looked extremely sharp in getting the home team out to a 2-0 lead. The first was a breakaway situation where he came in alone on Tim Thomas, pulled the puck to his backhand at the last second, and beat Thomas to the far side. It was Cole's 23rd and it was unassisted at 3:36 of the first..

The second Cole goal came at 18:26. Carolina had a good scoring chance from Dennis Seidenberg followed by a few rebound attempts. Finally, after a few whacks, Cole was able to go top shelf from just below the right circle. Seidenberg and Eric Staal had the assists, and it was officially a four-on-four goal.

Just a few seconds into the second stanza, Glen Murray scored for the Bruins. Like the second Cole goal, there were a ton of bodies out front, and there was a big scrum leading to the goal. PJ Axelsson and Zdeno Chara had the assists on the power play goal.

Brad Boyes knotted it up a the 19:08 mark on a beautiful and frustrating play. Boyes had served two minutes in the box, he was set free and took a long pass for a breakaway just after leaving the box. Marc Savard had the only assist.

Murray got a second goal at the 6:38 mark of the third. From the right circle, he beat Ward to give the visitors the lead. Chara and Paul Mara assisted.

With time about to run out, Rod Brind'Amour gave the Hurricanes some false hope when he scored with just 3:12 to play in regulation. This was a five-on-three. Brindy got his stick on a rebound chance from below the right circle. He fired it into a basically unguarded cage. For formality's sake, it was a five-on-three goal scored at 16:48 and assisted by Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman.

Early in the overtime period, Eric Staal was called for holding, which wasn't a popular call. It's generally understood that overtime isn't the time or place for ticky-tacky calls. With the four-on-three advantage, Chara banged one in from the right circle to give the B's the win at 1:49 of the "fourth" period. The shot clanged off the crossbar (which is at the same approximate height as Chara's shoelaces) and over Ward's left shoulder. Savard had the only helper.

The only bright side is that with the overtime loss, Carolina still gained one point. Atlanta lost in regulation.

I can't help but agree with the "official" three stars.

The RBH three stars go to:
THIRD STAR Glen Murray, BOS -- 2 goals
SECOND STAR Erik Cole, CAR -- 2 goals
FIRST STAR Zdeno Chara, BOS -- 2 assists, GWG

Carolina will travel to Montéal Monday night and will attempt to end this horrible losing skid.

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