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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Canes beat Thrash, widen lead

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes defeated the Thrashers 5-3 and have gained their 85th standings point. As I am typing, Washington trails Chicago 5-0 midway through the second period. This is also good news.

If the game in Chicago holds up, Carolina will end the night with a five point lead over Washington with seven games (all within the division) to play. The road has just gotten a little easier to hoe.

Carolina's next two games could either put it out of reach, or make it really interesting. They will be in Florida on Thursday and at home against the Caps on next Tuesday. The Cats are smoldering hot and will be rested for Thursday's game. They will have the chance to move into second place in the division.

Although the score of Wednesday's game was 5-3, it wasn't that close. This game was all Canes.

Trevor "The Dude" Letowski started it all off at 4:04 of the first with a shot from the right circle. Patty Eaves made a really pretty cross-slot pass. Ruuty got the secondary helper.

Sergei Samsonov got an unassisted goal at 6:58 after putting on a stick-handling show. His shot came from above the right circle, and the rout was on.

At 13:35, the future captain Eric Staal potted his 35th goal of the season. He came fresh off the bench, created a neutral zone turnover, then took a pass from Jeff Hamilton in the high slot to make it 3-0.

Cam Ward's shutout bid didn't last long, as Bryan Little broke it up just 1:56 into the middle frame. Slava Kozlov and Mark Recchi got the helpers.

Joe Jensen, whose claim to fame heretofore was puking on the bench in his NHL debut, potted the game winner at 3:35 of the second. He was low in the right circle, and received a nice pass from Hamilton from below the goal line. He snapped it in on the far side for his first NHL goal. Tim ("don't call me Tom") Conboy got the second assist.

Steve McCarthy made it 4-2 at 4:56, and it was starting to get a little interesting. He scooped up some loose change out front and deposited it into Ward's net for his first goal. Chris Thorburn and the 1989 Hartford Whalers first round draft pick Bobby Holik got the helpers.

Erik Cole scored his 21st goal of the season at 14:51 of the third. From below the goal line, Sergei Samsonov made a phenomenal no-look, behind the back pass to Cole, who was hanging out in the left circle. He got a couple of whacks at it, and finally beat The Moose, making it 5-2. Bret Hedican, whose wife was apparently very good on "Dancing With the Stars" the other night, got the secondary assist.

Kozlov got a late garbage goal at 19:21, assisted by Little and Recchi.

This game had only four penalties. I guess the referees had tickets to Hanna Montana or something like that. They were in a real hurry to get out of there.

Carolina completely dominated the first, then slacked off in the second, then played well in the third. Good enough to beat the Thrashers, but they'll have to have 60 minute efforts against the likes of Washington and Florida, whom they play twice each in the remaining seven games.

The "official" three stars are a bit loopy. Okay. They're a LOT loopy. Word on the street is that these things aren't really selected by the "local media". Sometimes, it's some intern who randomly chooses names. This seems like one of those. The official stars were Steve McCarthy (third), Eric Staal (second) and Cam Ward (first). None of these were even in my top five stars. I don't get that.
The RBH three stars:
THIRD STAR Vyacheslav Kozlov, ATL -- 1 goal, 1 assist.
SECOND STAR Jeffrey Hamilton, CAR -- 2 assists.
FIRST STAR Sergei Samsonov, CAR -- 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 blocked shots.

Carolina will have no time to rest. They're headed to Sunrise for a 7:30 game on Thursday.

A little birdy has told me that Justin Viva Williams is very close to being ready to rejoin the team after missing the last 39 games with MCL/ACL issues. This makes me very happy.

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