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

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Carolina loses game, Ladd, Walker

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes played a gritty game against the Thrashers which resulted in a 5-4 overtime loss. There were some good things and some bad things. Then the injuries.

Carolina converted two of seven power play chances. This is a good thing. Eric Staal and Erik Cole each notched power play tallies. These guys need to be Carolina's best players, and they were both good on Wednesday. Just not good enough.

The bad and the ugly was that Carolina's penalty kill, already the worst in the league, got worse. The Canes only committed two penalties during the game, and they surrendered two power play goals. This is completely unacceptable. Maid Marian Hossa's game winning power play goal in overtime was a case of too much time and space. It was an easy goal. However, Ilya Kovalchuk scored the goal of the night. Perhaps the goal of the month. While on the power play, he took the puck coast to coast and beat Cam Ward very easily with a phenomenal and beautiful individual effort. He's leading the league with 33 goals, and this one was a textbook example of "highlight reel goal". I'm still kinda dazed by it.

The good things are that Erik Cole scored a goal at home. It was the first time he's done that all season. Eric Staal continued to pour on the points. His two points on the game put him at 37 (21/16) for the season. He won't finish anywhere near the 100 (45/55) that he had in the year of the Cup, but he's continuing to play at an elite level. He's got 10 (6/4) points in his last 9 games, which is more like the Eric Staal that we know than the guy who went four game pointless streak and a six game goalless streak in November.

Andrew Ladd had surgery today for his eye. He'll be out for a couple of weeks. The Canes were already looking like a MASH unit, but when you add Ladd and Scott Walker (7-10 games, knee) to the already big list, they look awful. Carolina should be making a few callups from Albany. I imagine Nolan will be recalled along with Ryan Bayda. Or Keith Aucoin. For more on the injuries, read Luke's article in the N&O.

In Wednesday's game, Carolina also got even strength goals from Andrew Ladd and Ray Whitney. They had to battle back from down 3-1, and 4-3 to force overtime. They should feel good about accomplishing something on the power play. They should feel good about finding something when their backs were against the wall. They should feel horrible about the penalty kill. They should feel horrible about committing a penalty in overtime. Cam Ward should feel awful about giving up five goals on just 14 shots. They should not have lost this game, but they did. The one standings point shouldn't be a consolation, but rather a scarlet letter.

The same two teams will kick it in the Philips Place Arena on Friday night. There will be a lot of different faces on the Carolina bench, including goaltender Michael Leighton, who has been called up from Albany following the waiving of Johnny Crackers

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