On Friday night, the Hurricanes defeated the visiting Penguins 3-2 behind a two-goal effort by Scott Walker. Meanwhile, the Canadiens were busy losing to the Sabres. This enabled Carolina to leapfrog Montréal into the eighth playoff spot in the East.
The good news came early. Eight-year old Katherine Fritsch was the anthem singer. She's sung the anthem about 10 times this season, and the Canes have won every single time. To see an archived video of Katherine singing the anthem, click here and click the play button. If you watch that video, you can clearly see me in the stands. After she starts singing, the camera pans back to a long four-shot of Erik Cole, Cam Ward, Nic Wallin and Rod Brind'Amour. It tightens to a two of Wallin and Brindy, and I'm just above Wallin's head in my red WILLIAMS sweater. Anyway....
The first period was a mess. There were a total of nine penalties called, and neither team was able to capitalize on its power play opportunities. Pittsburgh did, however, strike first.
At 14:23 of the first, Sid the Kid banged one in from the low slot just to Cam Ward's left. Jordan Staal and Rob Scuderi got the helpers. It was Crosby's 200th career point and he is the youngest player ever to reach that plateau.
With one minute to play in the first, Tim Gleason took exception to being high-sticked by Gary Roberts behind the Pittsburgh goal, and a fight erupted. Not many punches landed, but a ton were thrown and it provided the spark that was needed. The excitement from that extended through the intermission and into the second period.
At 7:28 of the second, Scott Walker ripped one to the short side from the right circle to make it 1-1. Nic Wallin and Josef Vasicek assisted on the four-on-four goal. Vasicek should be given full credit for a job very well done. He went down in the corner to battle for a puck, won the battle and made a nice pass to get the scoring play started.
At 8:35, the Canes took the lead on a goal that is being credited to Frantisek Kaberle. He fired a shot from above the left circle that found its way through Jocelyn Thibault and to the back of the net. The shot was definitely re-directed on the way in, and I guess the scorekeeper is saying it was off a defenseman's stick. From where I saw it, it sure looked like it was Andrew Ladd's stick in the low slot. They're calling it Kaberle from Viva and Ladd. I'm calling it Ladd from Kaberle and Viva.
Ryan Malone scored for the Pens at 10:24 to make it 2-2. His shot from the left circle was assisted by Colby Armstrong and Maxime Talbot.
The only scoring in the third was Scott Walker with the game-winner at 11:33. His second goal of the night was a quick shot from below the left circle, beating Thibault on the stick side. Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore assisted.
It's worth noting that Chad LaRose had a great game. His name won't show up in the score card, but he did some really nice work on the penalty kill, creating some shorthanded scoring opportunities. He also won his battles, outhustled his oppponents and just looked very good in general.
David Tanabe played well, too. In particular was a sequence in the first period when the Penguins were rotating the puck nicely in the Carolina end. Les GG was attempting to create havoc in front of Cam's crease, but Tanabe wouldn't have it. Snuggles gives up two inches and 30 pounds to the beastly Laraque, but Tanabe had no trouble removing Laraque from the area with good clean aggressive defense. In the third, a similar sequence with the same thing as the end result.
I think Anson Carter still isn't comfortable. He didn't have a whole lot of ice time, and what he did have wasn't all that pretty.
Cam was great. He made some dazzling stops in the first period, and although he wasn't forced to be good in the third, he hung in there for the win.
There's a ton of players who deserve to be among the three stars of the game. The "official" three stars went to Mike Commodore (third), Frantisek Kaberle (second) and Scott Walker (first).
The RBH three stars go to:
THIRD STAR Sidney Crosby, PIT -- 1 goal, 200th career point
SECOND STAR Mike Commodore, CAR -- 1 assist, 7 hits, 1 blocked shot
FIRST STAR Scott Walker, CAR -- 2 goals
Up next, a Sunday afternoon must-win situation in Atlanta. More later.
3 years ago