Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: Ray Whitney
On Friday, the Hurricanes were busy, making three meaningful announcements. Two of them were player re-signings. One might be more significant than it appears at first glance. They have come to terms with defenseman Jay Harrison (details) and winger Jiří Tlustý (details). Each has signed for one year at the league minimum of $500k. The press release didn’t specifically identify Harrison’s as a one-way deal. Tlustý‘s is, and this detail makes me suspect that there could be some big changes.
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes hosted the Washington Capitals in a game that had very very little playoff implications. Someone forgot to tell the home team, and they emerged with a 4-3 overtime win.
Former Cane Joe (s)Corvo scored twice for the Caps in the middle stanza while Eric Staal got one for the Canes.
Brett Carson and Chad LaRose scored for the Canes in the third and Eric Fehr forced overtime.
Ray Whitney scored with a shot “from the ladies’ tees” in the final minute of overtime to give Justin Peters another huge win in his young NHL goaltending career.
On Thursday night, the Penguins and their mob of fans invaded Raleigh. They used blitzkrieg tactics to take a 2-0 lead just five and a half minutes into the game, and it looked like they would have their way with the host Hurricanes. However, the Hurricanes fought back and ultimately emerged with a 4-3 overtime win. The sea of powder blue sweater-clad fans, who were boisterous during the game, left in silence while the Hurricanes fans reclaimed their own barn.
Justin Peters, who faced 40 shots in the game, looked shaky at times. In the end, though, he earned his fourth win in five tries thanks to some outstanding work in the third frame.
Brian Pothier, who was part of the return on the Joe Corvo trade, scored his first Hurricanes goal to win the game very early in the overtime period.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes defeated the Devils 5-2 to complete a sizzling hot month of February. They have now won five in a row to go 5-2 in February. They also went 9-5 in January and are easily one of the hottest teams in the East. Unlike a lot of teams, they’ll lament the Olympic break. While it’s still astronomically improbable, there’s still a slim chance that these boys can qualify for postseason play.
Justin Peters got his second NHL start on the second Saturday in a row, and he got his second win. Ray Whitney (who might still be traded away at the trading deadline) and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice while Zach Boychuk got his first NHL goal. Martin Brodeur was chased from the nets early in the third with the score 4-0.
It looks a little bit like other teams are refusing to take the Hurricanes seriously, but the boys are having fun, and they’re refusing to give up. As a fan, it’s amazing to watch, even if it’s a little bit frustrating.
The Rangers and Hurricanes played for the third time this season on Saturday afternoon. Both previous meetings were in Raleigh, both were low-scoring, the Canes scored first in both, and the Rangers won Both. 3-1 on December 21, 2-1 on December 31. This game almost followed the same formula as the Canes scored first, and it was low scoring. Carolina emerged with the 2-1 win in their first game of the 2010 portion of the schedule.
Carolina has earned five of eight available points in their last four games, and have won two straight road games. Still, though, they’ve only won three road games all season. It’s silly to complain after a win, but Carolina only managed to get 19 shots on goal, and that’s not going to be enough to win the game most nights. They will need to continue working on shooting the puck and getting it through the defense.
Both goaltenders were great, but only one could win, and it was Cam Ward.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes finally ended their horrific 14-game winless streak. It wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, but since there’s no column in the standings for “ugly win”, we’ll chalk it up in the “W” column. Twice, the Canes had three goal leads in the second period. With 6:15 to play in the second, the Canes had a 4-1 lead, but the next eight minutes of gameplay were a train wreck. Fortunately, the Canes emerged out of the shootout with a win, and a tremendous weight was lifted off of the RBC Center. The kind of weight that’s lifted only when one’s career depends on it.
The weight was lifted off the players, the fans, the PA announcer, the hot dog vendors, the organist, and just about anybody who has any connection to this team. The celebration on the ice and in the stands was sort of like the ones we’ve seen after winning playoff series, and at this point, it feels about the same.
The Hurricanes four game road trip came to a close on Saturday, and they didn’t have much to show for it. They lost a rollercoaster 5-4 game in Denver on Friday, then lost 3-2 in overtime at Minnesota on Saturday. On the four game trip, the Canes only managed two standings points and have yet to win on the road. For the third time this season, they will now have three days off before their next game. Wednesday night, they’ll be back in the RBC Center against the Blues. While they’ve been lousy on the road, the Canes have grabbed five out of eight standings points at home.
While the Canes are struggling, the Albany River Rats are doing well. They have a record of 5-3-0 and sit atop the Eastern division. More importantly, they beat the Adirondack Phantoms 3-2 on Saturday to grab a two games to none lead in the 12-game season series with the hated rival.
Tuesday night was a do-or-die for the Hurricanes and the Devils. With 90 seconds to play, the Devils had a 3-2 lead in their own building and it looked grim for the Hurricanes. I had already started making mental notes for a Canes eulogy and for a concession letter to the gals at Interchangeable Parts.
The Canes decided that it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Nothing was going to be over until they decided it was. (please click the link if you don’t already get the joke)
Jussi Jokinen, the hero from the uber-dramatic game 4, scored a Finn-tastic (sorry) goal to tie it. The crowd at the Rock and the Devils on the ice were shell-shocked. Their shock turned to horror when Eric Staal fired a shot in from the right circle to win the game at 19:29 ....
On Sunday night, the Hurricanes had their back against the wall in their own building. They responded with easily their best game of the series and a 4-0 shutout over the Devils. The series will move back to Newark for the decisive game seven on Tuesday.
Eric Staal had two goals and an assist. Ray Whitney had the game winner and three assists. Cam Ward pitched a perfect 28 save shutout.
This has been a beautiful series and is about as evenly matched as it could be. Each team has had one easy win. Each team has had one shutout. Each team has had an overtime win. This has been as advertised and then some. It’s a shame that neither team is named “Pittsburgh” or “Washington”, or there would have been more national teevee….
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes won their seventh straight game and their tenth in a row at home. The latter is a new franchise record. The final score was 4-2, with Eric Staal and Rod Brind’Amour each scoring one and Chad LaRose notching two, including the game-winner.
Simultaneous with the start of the game, Chad LaRose was featured on the NHL Network’s “A Day in the Life”. Most of the program surrounded him antagonizing Sean Avery in the March 9 game between these same two teams. It was a big day for the little guy.
Carolina has now leapfrogged Pittsburgh and Philly into fourth place. The Canes have 93 standings points and four remaining games. They still haven’t guaranteed a playoff spot, but this makes it almost a certainty.
On Friday night, there was a lot of excitement in Raleigh surrounding the visit from the Northwest leading Calgary Flames. Not the least of which was the return of Erik Cole to the Hurricanes lineup after a 63 game stint with the Oilers. Added to that, the Hurricanes longtime nemesis Olli Jokinen was just traded to Calgary. Added to that was the fact that Carolina desperately needs standings points. Even an overtime loss would have been acceptable. The 6-1 rout by Carolina was beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.
After the meltdown in Atlanta last week, Carolina has beaten two of the top teams in the league, and beaten them convincingly. First, there was a 5-2 win on the road against the Southeast leading Capitals, then this blowout over the Flames. The hard part now will be to keep that mojo going against a considerably less formidable opponent tonight in Tampa.
Since the trade deadline on Wednesday, the entire league has been talking about how the Flames top line of Mike Cammalleri, Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen were the best line in the entire league. Carolina contained that line, holding Cammalleri and Jokinen to zero shots each and Iginla to three. Iggy scored a meaningless goal at 16:11 of the third. Aside from that, the “best line in hockey” didn’t do anything.
Instead, it was all about Ray Whitney, who tallied three goals for his third career hat trick and his 300th career goal.
On Thursday night, with a nearly full house, the Hurricanes lost a very exciting game 6-4 to the Leafs. The game was pretty much a microcosm of the Hurricanes season. Long stretches of disappointment punctuated with brief but intense moments of inspiration. It was also one of the most intense regular season games I’ve ever attended.
The Canes stood around for 37 minutes while the Leafs built a 4-0 lead. Then they got a fluky goal from Matt Cullen with about two to play in the second. The Canes came out on fire in the third, completely owning the first 12 minutes of the period. On second period markers from Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal and Scott Walker, Carolina climbed all the way back to tie the game. And then the wheels fell off.
Carolina gave up a four-on-three power play goal to Tomas Kaberle late in the third, then an empty netter from Jason Blake. It completed the hat trick for Blake and closed the scoring out at 6-4.
It was another painful loss, the fourth in a row. However, some good things did happen, even if that only lasted 14 minutes.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes hosted the Southeast leading Capitals for a twilight matinee that was the back end of a back-to-back for each team. Carolina needed to win this game in regulation to avoid falling eight points behind the Caps. A regulation win is exactly what they got. Late goals by Eric Staal and Ray Whitney gave the black-clad Hurricanes a 3-1 win over their rival and the first win in the second reign of Chairman Mo.
For the first time in 13 games, the Canes scored first. Reason enough to celebrate. For the first time in six home games, they won. Even more reason.
Although the game ended well, it was not without a price. Anton Babchuk left the game midway through the third with what appeared to be a shoulder or chest injury. He will now join the ridiculously large group of injured defensemen that includes Frantisek Kaberle, Tim Gleason, Nic Wallin and Dennis Seidenberg. Brett Carson was just called up from Albany, but this almost certainly will necessitate the recall of another Albany rearguard.
Still, though, there was plenty of good to go around.