Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/11/09 at 12:59 AM ET
On Sunday night, the Hurricanes had a chance to eliminate the Bruins and advance to the Eastern finals. The Bruins had other plans. They played their best game of the series by far and beat the Canes 4-0. Phil Kessel had two goals and Tim Thomas stopped all 19 shots he faced. The series now stands 3-2 Carolina, and the Canes will have a chance to win it at home on Tuesday.
I expected a good game from the Bruins. I even kind of expected them to win this game. I did not expect this.
After the game was out of hand, Carolina lost their composure and committed twelve penalties in the third including six in the last three minutes. Of course the Bruins committed nine of their own in the third and most of them were matching. This is not the kind of thing that Carolina fans wanted to see.
The Hurricanes were shutout only once in 82 regular season games. This marks the second time they have been shut out in twelve postseason games.
Mark Recchi got the ball rolling for the home team at 14:48 of the first on a power play goal assisted by Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman. Carolina’s Dennis Seidenberg had just gone off for slashing, and the Bs took advantage of their third power play opportunity. Chara’s shot from the right point was tipped by the Recchin’ Ball in the low slot and it beat Cam Ward five hole. This ended up being the game winner.
Phil Kessel scored a pretty goal at 18:36, one-timing Marc Savard’s cross-ice pass. Milan Lucic got the secondary assist.
The first period mercifully ended with the Canes down 2-0. Carolina only had seven shots on goal in the period, and Thomas made great saves on at least two of them. By all rights, it wasn’t as close as the 2-0 score indicated. I had the feeling that it was the beginning of a long night.
Kessel scored again at the 4:40 mark of the second period, assisted by Savard and Chara. That was the only scoring of the second, but the Hurricanes didn’t make any progress. The shot count was 29 to 11 in favor of the Bs and Carolina was having a hard time getting anything done. They were being outshot, outhit, outhustled, and just beaten in every way. This looked like a very different Boston team.
Things started to get a little chippy with some stickwork and some roughing penalties, but it only got worse after Lucic scored at 12:21 of the third to make it 4-0. MIchael Ryder’s shot was fended off by Ward, but the long rebound went out to the right point, where Lucic one-timed it in. Ryder and Patrice Bergeron got the helpers.
After that, Carolina was an undisciplined mess. They should be embarrassed by both the outcome of the game and by their behavior on the ice.
Tim Conboy engaged in fisticuffs for the second time at 12:53. I’ve seen enough of him. I’d like to see Bayda reinserted in the lineup. Or if he’s not recovered from the flu, maybe one of the Black Aces.
Later, Scott Walker lost his marbles. I’ve railed on him before for losing his head, and I was accused of painting him in an unfair light. At 17:13, former Hurricane Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen were going to get matching roughing penalties, but Walker really didn’t like what he saw. He skated over, confronted Ward, then pounded him with a couple of punches. Walker got the two minutes for instigating, five for fighting and the mandatory ten minute misconduct. EDIT He will also face an automatic one game suspension, per rule 47.22. Versus color commentator Andy Brickley, who happens to also be the Bruins color commentator, was outraged. He said that Walker sucker-punched Ward. It was certainly uncalled for. It was certainly stupid. It was not a sucker punch. They were square to each other, and it didn’t come out of nowhere. I think it falls outside the realm of sucker punch.
Nick Wallin and Chuck Kobasew went off for matching high-sticking calls at 18:11. Chad LaRose for slashing at 19:32.
After the horn, LaRose came out of the box and had words with Lucic. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but Lucic was given a 10 minute misconduct.
Brickley, in the heat of the moment, said that Scott Walker should and would see some supplemental discipline from the league for his confrontation with Ward. I really don’t think he will aside from the automatic one game. Far worse things have gone unpunished in these playoffs.
Carolina would like to put this game behind them and forget all about it. They’d like to play game six on Monday morning at 9:00.
Aside from the obvious things, one stat worth noting is that Rod Brind’Amour only took eleven faceoffs, compared to 18 by Eric Staal, 11 by Matt Cullen and 16 by Jussi Jokinen. Brindy only won three of those draws.
This game reminded me of game six of the 2006 Cup finals. Edmonton crushed the Canes 4-0 and completely owned them in every way. Carolina came out in game seven and completely changed the tide, owning the first 40 minutes (and ultimately, the game and the Cup). Hopefully, they can make the same kind of turnaround in game six of this series. It’s going to have to start with aggressive forechecking and offensive pressure early in the first.
I don’t imagine the plane ride home tonight is going to be any fun at all.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.