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

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Canes defeat Thrash 5-3

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes atoned for their bad game on Thursday by beating their host Atlanta Thrashers 5-3. Carolina earned their 23rd standings point of the season, but were unable to widen their divisional lead over Tampa, who beat Washington 5-2.

Eric Perrin got the Birds on the board with an early goal at 2:33, assisted by Slava Kozlov.

In the waning seconds of the first, Carolina's captain notched one of those "momentum changing" goals. It's often said that a goal in the first minute of the game can set the tone, and a goal in the last minute can set (or change) the tone. The Thrashers' Alex Zhitnik was in the box feeling shame when Brind'Amour tapped one in with just one second remaining in the power play and seven seconds remaining in the period. Officially, it was a power play goal at 19:53, assisted by Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman. The assist extended The Wizard's points streak to nine games.

Todd White of the Thrashers went to the box early in the second. Both teams potted a goal during the ensuing power play.

First it was Maid Marian Hossa with the shorthanded goal at 4:47, assisted by Perrin and Ken Klee. It was the second shorty surrendered by the Hurricanes this season.

Just 31 seconds later, Viva knotted it up with a power play goal. It was the Hurricanes' 24th power play goal of the season, which leads the League. The goal was assisted by Eric Staal and Dennis Seidenberg at 5:18.

At 7:44, Brindy notched his second goal of the contest, which ended a four-game goal drought. Whitney and Viva assisted.

Cory Stillman banged in an insurance marker at 2:58 of the third. His ninth of the season ended up being the game-winner. This is his third game-winner of the season. Erik Cole and Bret Hedican got the assists.

Maid Marian made things interesting with his second goal of the night and his sixth of the season at 5:58. Todd White got the lone assist.

Down the stretch, Cam Ward made some dazzling saves to preserve the win, including no fewer than three breakaway chances. Maid Marian had a dandy breakaway chance to pick up the hat trick, but Ward was a stone wall, turning aside the shot and the rebound.

Eric Staal scored a garbage goal at 18:24, before Ondrej Pavelec had a chance to vacate the net. The young Czech netminder was handcuffed by Mike Commodore's shot from the right point, and he had difficulty controlling the rebound. He had this problem all night, and the Hurricanes took advantage. It was Staal's team-leading 12th goal of the season, assisted by Commodore and Stillman.

Staal's two points on the night make 21 (12/9) for the season, which put him on pace for 101 points on the season. That would be a career high.

Brind'Amour's two points on the night make 23 (8/15) for the season, putting him on pace for 111 on the season. That would be a career high.

Whitney's two points on the night make 19 (9/10) for the season, putting him on pace for 92 on the season. That would be a new career high.

Viva's two points on the night make 20 (6/14) for the season, putting him on pace for 96 on the season. That would be a new career high.

Stillman's three points on the night make 22 (9/13) on the season. Since he missed a few games, his PPG is higher, and he's on pace for 129 points on the season. That would be a new career high by quite a bit. His previous best was 80 (25/55) the year that Tampa won the Cup.

This was one of those games where there were a lot of different guys contributing. Nine different players registered at least one point, and the above mentioned five guys had two or more points. This is exactly what a team needs to do well in this league: synergy.

When Andrew Ladd returns, and if Scott Walker returns.... watch out.

With so many guys playing well tonight and contributing in key ways, it was hard to assign the stars.

FSN South gave the stars to Maid Marian (third), Rod Brind'Amour (second) and Cam Ward (first). The "official" three stars went to Ward (third), Maid Marian (second) and Brind'Amour (first). I see it a little differently. The RBH three stars:

THIRD STAR Rod Brind'Amour, CAR --- 2 goals
SECOND STAR Marian Hossa. ATL --- 2 goals, 23:47 TOI
FIRST STAR Cory Stillman, CAR --- GWG, 2 assists, 23:12 TOI

Carolina will continue their road trip with a game in Sunrise on Monday night. Expect the writers in South Florida to continue with their criticism of Carolina's skaters. Their press seems to have influenced the officiating in their favor last time down there, so they will probably try it again. If nothing else, their writers will be bored after having Saturday and Sunday off.

The interview with Rod Brind'Amour came after the game. It was nice, but it was obviously truncated, and there were quite a few breaks in the 30 minute segment entitled "In My Own Words". I learned one thing: after being drafted by the Blues, Brindy actually signed a contract, but immediately had second thoughts, and he got them to void it just seconds before it was to be transmitted to the NHL offices. Instead, he spent one season playing college hockey at Michigan State. After the Spartans were eliminated from the Frozen Four, Brindy signed the Blues' contract, joined them for the playoffs, and he scored a goal in his first game -- on his first shot.

Monday's contest against the Panthers will be nationally televised on Versus.

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