Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 01/24/11 at 11:43 PM ET
On Monday night, the Hurricanes won a completely wild 6-4 game over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the 1000th win in the history of the Whaler/Canes history and the 466th since moving to North Carolina. More importantly, the Hurricanes move within one point of eighth place Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East. Carolina holds two games in hand on the Thrashers, who are on a big downswing.
I think the officiating left a lot to be desired on both sides of the ice, as there were a lot of strange calls and no-calls. There were certainly some iffy calls that went against the Leafs, but Jeff Skinner had a clear goal waved off and Tim Gleason was tossed from the game for returning punches thrown by Nikolai Kulemin at 20:00 of the first period.
This game had strange goals, a shorthanded goal, lots of power play chances, a couple of scrums, a bit of bad blood and a goal explosion in the third frame. Carolina did what they needed to do and have set themselves up for a chance to leapfrog the Thrashers into the playoff picture on Wednesday night.
Eleven different Hurricanes and nine different Leafs tallied at least one scoring point in this game that looked like a normal game after 40 minutes. There were seven goals scored in the third period alone and although Carolina had three different two-goal leads, there was never a moment when the Hurricanes could relax.
The game summary is here, and it’s worth pointing out that Jeff Skinner had an apparent goal taken away in the second period. He ended up scoring a goal later, but should have had one more. It was a wrap chance that may or may not have gone off the left skate of the goaltender and across the goal line. The call on the ice was “no goal”, and although there was a highly enhanced view from the Leafs truck which showed the puck crossing the line, the war room didn’t find a way to overturn the call on the ice.
The other contentious thing from the Hurricanes side was the assessment of a game misconduct to Tim Gleason. After the first period buzzer, there was a scrum in front of the benches. Nikolai Kulemin of the Leafs threw a couple of gloved punches at the face of Gleason. After no fewer than three shots, Gleason threw down his gloves and absolutely nailed Kulemin in the face, presumably breaking his nose. Kulemin was given two minutes for roughing, while Gleason was given five for fighting plus a game misconduct. I’m not sure what Gleason was supposed to do in that situation, but even the Leafs announcers found no fault in his actions.
Carolina looked like they were going to take a 1-0 lead to the locker room for the first period intermission, but the Leafs scored a crazy goal in the waning seconds of the period on a play where the puck was moving in slow motion.
The only goal of the second period was a blast from Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain from the top of the right circle, and the Hurricanes found themselves in a very good spot. Heading into the third period, Carolina had a record of 15-0-0 when leading after two periods.
After the wildest 20 minutes of the season in which Carolina outscored the Leafs 4-3, the Hurricanes stretched that to 16-0-0. Brandon Sutter scored two goals for the Canes, bookending two goals by Tim Brent of the Leafs.
In the end, Erik Cole scored an empty net from center ice to seal the win.
Carolina will close out January with a game on Long Island on Wednesday. They will have a vested interest that night in the Thrashers at Capitals game. If Carolina can earn one more point than Atlanta that night, the two teams will switch places in the standings and Carolina will be on the inside of the playoff bubble.
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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.