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

Friday, October 12, 2007

Canes deal Sens first loss

On Thursday night, the Hurricanes visited Ottawa and became the first team to defeat the Senators this year. The scoreboard said 5-3, but it really wasn't that close at all. Carolina has got to be thrilled with how things went.

After a bunch of nothing early in the first, Erik Cole scored his first goal of the season at 17:23 to give the Canes a 1-0 lead. The Canes were on a power play and were crashing the net hard. Gerber made a great save on Eric Staal, but he completely lost sight of the rebound. After making the save on Staal, Gerber drifted off to his right, following Staal and Justin Williams. The puck, however, was way off to his left. Cole jumped on the rebound and fired it into a completely empty net. Staal and Hamilton had the helpers. Again, Carolina came through on the power play while using the aggressive five-forward system.

1:10 into the second, Matt Cullen gave the Canes an two goal cushion. Chad "Sharpie" LaRose led a charge from the left wing and made a run at the goal. Gerber stopped his shot, but the rebound went in the air and right out front. Matt Cullen was Johnny on the spot, batting it out of the air for the goal. After a brief review to look for a high stick, the goal was allowed to stand.

Dany Heatley got the home team on the board at 4:15 with a nice goal after a beautiful assist by Jason Spezza. Spez now has assists in every game. Wade Redden got the secondary assist on the even strength goal.

At 6:24, Sharpie's hard work led to another Carolina goal. He charged in from the right wing, went hard to the net, and fired a shot. Gerber easily made the save, but his rebound went right out front to the low slot. From there, Rod Brind'Amour shoved it in. Viva got the secondary assist.

The second period was truncated slightly due to a broken glass panel with less than a minute remaining. After the intermission, the period was finished, then they switched sides and started the third.

Erik Cole scored his second goal of the game at 6:42 of the third. Once again, it was Sharpie leading the way. He came down the right side and dropped a pass to the trailing Cole at the right faceoff dot. From there, Cole wristed it in to make it 4-1. Eric Staal had the secondary assist on the even strength goal.

The Sens were not ready to roll over and die, though. At 16:16, Mike Fisher scored, assisted by Antoine Vernette and Patrick Eaves.

Less than two minutes later, the home team made things really interesting. Joe Corvo fired a shot from the high slot through heavy traffic. It found its way in the net, and it was suddenly a one goal game. Spezza, who now has 10 assists on the year, and Heatley assisted.

With "Baby Food" Gerber pulled for an extra attacker, the Canes sealed the deal at 19:02. Eric Staal tucked the puck into the empty net, assisted by Cory Stillman.

After Tuesdays shellacking of the Leafs, it was good to see that the offensive outburst wasn't an anomaly. Seven goals on Tuesday and five on Thursday. That's good stuff. Like Tuesday, the wealth was really spread. Nine different players registered at least one point.

They continued with the aggressive style of crashing the net. Sure, it's a tired cliche, but good things happen when you crash the net. They also continued with the occasional employ of a five-forward power play. On the lone power play goal, the skaters were Cullen, Viva, Staal, Cole, and Hamilton. It's a risky maneuver, but the reward outweighs the risk.

The FSN South three stars were Staal (third), Cole (second) and LaRose (first). The "official" three stars were Mike Fisher (third), Cole (second) and LaRose (first). Mine were exactly like FSN. The RBH three stars:

THIRD STAR: Eric Staal, CAR --- 1 goal, 2 assists
SECOND STAR: Erik Cole, CAR --- 2 goals, including GWG
FIRST STAR: Chad LaRose, CAR --- 3 assists

Carolina will play in Montréal on Saturday. Then they'll return home for a five day break, and the roadtrip continues in Pittsburgh next Friday and Philly on Saturday.

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