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

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Carolina's playoff hopes buoyed

On Tuesday night, Carolina got a boost when they defeated the visiting Panthers 3-1. The special teams were great, they actually converted a power play chance, and they got terrific goaltending from Johnny Crackers.
Coupled with the loss by the Rangers, the win put Carolina back in the eighth playoff spot. At least temporarily. Starting Thursday at the RBC Center, they have a home-and-home with the formidable Devils.

Cory Stillman scored an even strength goal at 15:24 of the first. Eric Staal made a really nice effort, bringing the puck deep in the zone and drawing the attention of the Florida defense. He dished to Erik Cole, who fired a wrist shot from the top of the right circle, which Eddie Belfour stopped with a sprawling save. The rebound was a short one, but Stillman was there to pounce on it and tuck it from the left side of the goal. Officially at 15:24 with assists from Cole and Staal.

Josef Stumpel tied the game at 11:21 of the second on a bizarro goal. Josef Vasicek was trying to clear the zone by backhanding one against the wall along the blue line. Unfortunately, it hit the lineseman and stayed in the zone. Stumpel made some fancy moves to work through traffic, then backhanded one in off the left post. Unassisted at 11:21.

At 19:44 of the second, the Canes actually converted a power play! Frantisek Kaberle took a shot from the left circle that found its way through traffic. Belfour made a stop and Andrew Ladd took a couple of whacks at it. Belfour stopped those too, but the puck somehow trickled under him and was loose in the crease. Scott Walker found it first and shoved it across the line. Ladd and Kaberle got the assists.

14:42 was the time when Rod Brind'Amour got a shorthanded goal to seal the deal. The hard-working Chad "Sharpie" LaRose was there, as he always seems to be on the shorties. Glenn Wesley made a steal deep in the Carolina zone and dished to Sharpie, who found Brind'Amour streaking down the center and into the slot area. The pass wasn't quite tape-to-tape, but it was good enough. Brindy just tipped it in. Brind'Amour from LaRose and Wesley shorthandedly at 14:42.

Just seconds later, Chad LaRose had a brilliant scoring chance on the same shorthanded sequence, but Belfour answered.

Due to time restraints, I can't give stars right now, but Sharpie, Grahame and Walker were great.

Next up -- Thursday night date with the Devils

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