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

Friday, March 07, 2008

Carolina wins again, widens lead

On Thursday, Carolina defeated the visiting Wild 3-2 and expanded their SE division lead to five points over idle Washington. The Caps still have two games in hand, but Carolina's win really puts pressure on the Caps to win. The Caps play at the slumping Bruins for lunch on Saturday.

Boston. Holy cow! They've been outscored 19-4 in their last three games. And one of those was a 1-0 game! Canes fans will hope that they can right the ship and do the Hurricanes a favor.

Thursday was a really long and bad day for me. I had tickets to the game, but one thing after another after another after another kept piling on, and I couldn't go. Among the things I had to deal with at work: a being shortstaffed, a bad leak in the ceiling of the dining room, and worst of all: some jackass poured gasoline down the drain in our women's restroom. Aside from the noxious fumes and the potential for an explosion, the gasoline ate through the drain pipes, and we had to spend hundreds of dollars on emergency plumbing. We don't know who did it, and we don't know whether it was a deliberate act of vandalism or some idiot carelessly disposing of unwanted petrol. Suffice to say, things were kinda scary for a while.

I didn't even get to watch the game on TV. Luckily, I had already set the DVR, so I eventually got to watch it.

Here's how things went down:

At 12:30 of the first, Matt Cullen very subtly re-directed a Joe Corvo shot from the right circle. Cullen was in the low slot, and I really don't see how he touched it, but that's what they're calling. The 4-on-4 goal was also assisted by Sergei Samsonov.

Scott Walker made it 2-0 at 14:09 of the first. After Eric Staal attempted a wrap-around to the right post, Walker jumped on the rebound at the bottom of the left circle and snapped it past the Wild goaltender. Keith Aucoin got the secondary assist.

Pavol Demitra put the visitors on the board at 18:02 of the first. From the bottom of the right circle, he beat Cam Ward with a snap shot. Pierre-Marc Bouchard set him up very nicely with a perfect pass from the left dot. Brian Rolston got the second assist.

Mikko Koivu got the equalizer just 19 seconds into the second frame on a gorgeous goal. Aaron Voros made a pass to him from behind the net. At the top of the goal crease, Koivu dragged the puck from his forehand to the backhand and easily finished the play. Marian Gaborik got the secondary assist.

Erik Cole got the game winner at 9:41 during a power play sequence. Like the first goal, it was credited to someone else first, then it was changed. Matt Cullen fired a heavy shot from the high slot which just barely ticked Cole's shin pad on the way through the slot. It's rather silly, but Cole gets credit for the goal and Cullen for the primary assist. Joe Corvo got the secondary assist, and Sergei Samsonov was robbed of an assist.

There was no more scoring in the game, but it got kinda chippy in the third.

Aaron Voros ran Eric Staal into the boards right along the bench area with about 14 minutes to play. Staal lay on the ice for a few seconds while a mini-melee broke out. Erik Cole immediately went after Voros, and all hell broke loose. Scott Walker for the Canes and Keith Carney for the Wild were ejected. Cole was penalized two for instigating, two for unsportsmanlike (instigating whilst wearing a visor), five for fighting and a ten minute misconduct. It was NOT a game misconduct. Voros was given a boarding major and a fighing major. When the dust settled, Carolina had one minute of power play thanks to a silly rule which doesn't give Cole the right to stand up for his teammates. It's absurd that in a situation like that, Cole is expected to go through the normal fighting protocol.

"Um. Excuse me. Mr. Voros. You have violently checked my teammate into the boards. He is our star player, our acting captain, and he is possibly injured badly. You must pay a price for your indiscretion. Would you like to engage in fisticuffs? Oh. Wait, please. I have to discard my helmet first. Okay. Let us commence fighting!"


Anyway, the game ended with that 3-2 score, but there was a little bit more tension in the dying seconds. Sergei Samsonov, of all people, threw a punch after he grew tired of being slashed by Nick Schultz down in the corners. Nothing came of that, and with just four seconds remaining, both players were sent to their locker rooms rather than the penalty box.

The "official" three stars and the RBH three stars are the same:
THIRD STAR Joe Corvo, CAR --- 2 assists
SECOND STAR Matt Cullen, CAR --- 1 goal, 1 assist, 75% (12/16) faceoffs

It should not be ignored that Tuomo Ruutu dished out five hits. At least one of them was of the "big" variety.

Also, it should be noted that Patrick Eaves looked good again. He's playing well and clicking with his linemates.

On Saturday, Carolina will face the hungry Sabres. After a loss against Washington on Wednesday, the Sabres are on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in. They have suffered a bunch of injuries lately, plus the subtraction of Brian Campbell from the blue line. This is crunch time, and they need the win. It's always a big game when the Sabres come to town. These two teams just don't get along very well, so both will be "bringing it".

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