Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/29/09 at 12:05 AM ET
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes stuck with their game plan from the previous game, and the result obviously wasn’t good. Carolina had a tenuous 1-0 lead going into the third period, but Ryan Miller was playing an absolutely other-worldly game. Something didn’t feel right about it, and it didn’t take long for the third to be all Sabres.
Matt Cullen converted a horrible turnover by Tyler Myers into a goal early in the first, but after that it was all about #30. He made save after remarkable save to keep it 1-0. And for the first two periods, Michael Leighton was on point at the other end of the ice. There was no scoring in the second period, as both netminders were up to the task. For the second time in as many nights, though, the Canes surrendered five goals in the final frame.
For a Sabre-centric view of the game, I recommend BFLOblog. I’m not really equipped to look at this game in a level-headed manner, but after the jump, there’s some angry commentary.
While team USA’s netminder continued to play well and get good help in front of him, the Sabres opened the offensive floodgates to embarrass the visiting Canes. They got unanswered goals from Michael Grier, Clarke MacArthur (power play), Derek Roy, Jochen Hecht (power play) and Tomas Vanek.
Somehow, out of that mess, Canes defenseman Nic Wallin ended up with a +1 rating.
I don’t think the third period collapse had much to do with Michael Leighton, just as last night’s epic fail had anything to do with Manny Legace. The players in front of Leighton didn’t help. When Carolina was in the Buffalo zone, their skaters did an excellent job of helping out around the net, which limited Carolina’s chances. In the Carolina end, the Sabres forwards were having their way in front of and behind the net. No help at all.
What didn’t help matters is that Carolina had power play opportunities. They even had an extended five-on-three on which they failed to score. They have yet to register a five-on-three this season, and have been completely horrid on the five-on-four standard power plays. While there actually were some good things that could be found in Friday’s game, there was nothing good for the team in white tonight. Instead, they exposed themselves again as an extraordinarily fragile team. And they can’t deal with adversity.
Ryan Miller had a really fantastic game, and he deserves every accolade. I’m fully convinced that he’s going to give Team USA a good chance in Vancouver.
With this loss, Carolina is 0-10-3 on the road. After this, they’ll return home to face the Caps on Monday. They could easily hang eight or nine against this fragile team. After that, four full days off before hosting the Canucks on Friday. In the four day break, I would imagine that Jim Rutherford will be busy trying to move at least one player. And I imagine they’ll have a bag skate and perhaps an emotional players only meeting.
A couple of weeks ago, during the fourteen game skid, a friend asked me if the Canes had hit rock bottom. I told him that they hadn’t. I think this here might be it.
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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.