There. I said it.
The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-2 on Wednesday night, and showed their ass doing it.
The home team did a marvelous job of shutting down the Carolina power play, which has been stagnant lately. They had to kill a full five minute penalty in the second, plus a minute of six-on-three in the final minute of the game. The Rangers PK should get the first star of the game.
Carolina started the game with only 11 forwards and ended the game with only nine. Their power play struggles notwithstanding, this is no way to win hockey games.
Midway through the second period with the score tied at one, Matt Cullen was blasted at center ice by Colton Orr with a marginally late but very violent open ice hit. The puck was still in the vicinity, but Orr had to come from lower Manhattan to deliver the hit. Cullen was knocked out of the game, requiring stitches below his nose. Orr was given a five minute major for interference (a new rule) and a game misconduct. Mike Commodore jumped to Cullen's defense, but the fight was short and uneventful. On the ensuing major power play, Carolina was unable to get anything going, and it was probably the turning point of the game.
Carolina would later take a 2-1 lead on a different power play, but at that point they were down to ten forwards and they weren't looking all that great.
The Rangers exploded for three goals in the first half of the third period, but it wasn't quite out of reach.
With just under six minutes to play, Sean Avery delivered a hard forechecking hit to Glen Wesley into the boards behind Cam Ward. There was a bit of a disturbance first between Avery and Wesley. Then there was a lot of pushing and shoving by all players on both teams. For no reason, Sean Avery went after Trevor Letowski, but nothing came of that. It seemed like cooler heads were prevailing, but Avery chose to also go at Andrew Ladd. This was a mutual thing, except the linesman weren't going to allow it. The whistles were blowing, the linesmen were restraining both players. It should have been over.
Avery took at least two, probably three sucker punch shots at Ladd with the linesman between them. Ladd never threw a punch. Somehow, Ladd was given a
It was of no matter since Carolina couldn't convert the power play anyway, but it might have been different with more time.
Jaromir Jagr had two goals.
Scott Walker scored a shorthanded goal for the Canes. It was their first shorty of the year.
Sean Avery will be a marked man the next time these two teams play. A clean fight is one thing. A marginally clean hit is one thing. Sucker punches are another thing entirely. This will be looked at by the league, and he will receive a short suspension.
I'm too tired and too pissed off to search around for precedence on this kind of thing. One side of me thinks that because he threw punches after the linesmen had stepped in, it'll be multiple games. The realist in me says that it'll be one game.
Orr won't and shouldn't be suspended. Unless he already had a game misconduct in hand.
Above the animosity I'm feeling towards Avery, I'm really concerned about Cully. If he has to miss any time, it'll be a huge blow to this already hurting team.
I've said before that Avery is a guy with a lot of brawn and a bit of talent to go with it. It's a shame that he plays the way he does, agitating and instigating and traipsing around the borders of legal play.
Carolina is off Thursday, and hopefully there will be good news about Matt Cullen.