Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 04/09/11 at 02:46 PM ET
Friday was a mixed bag of emotions for me. Due to a budget crunch, I lost my job of six years. That sort of takes all of the wind out of any sails. On Friday night, on the strength of the Two Finns and a Skinner line, the Hurricanes routed the Thrashers 6-1 to put themselves in eighth place and in control of their own destiny.
The Rangers take on the Devils at 12:30 today, and every Canes fan will be watching that game closely. If the Rangers lose, the Canes are in no matter what. Whatever the Rangers do, the Canes have to match or better. At this point, Carolina has control of the tiebreaker scenarios, and by 3:00, they’ll know what they need to do.
If it comes down to needing a win at 7:00 tonight, Carolina has the benefit of playing against a team who has nothing to play for. The Bolts have already locked up the fifth seed and nothing that happens today or tomorrow can change that. Will they give Dwayne Roloson the night off? Will they play their top lines less? If they don’t go 100%, there may end up being a conspiracy theory about the Bolts tanking the game to put another SE team in. None of that will matter if the Rangers lose.
I was physically at the Charlotte Checkers v Worcester Sharks game. Mentally and emotionally I wasn’t there. 90% of my thoughts were on my job loss. 9% were on the Canes. Only 1%, if that, was on the Checkers. I had planned on spending the entire weekend in Charlotte and go to tonight’s game as well, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was staying at my parents’ condo, and because they spend half the year in Sarasota, they turn off the cable and the internet in Charlotte. Aside from the fact that my phone wasn’t roaming into Canada, I felt like I was on Wellesley Island, NY. Oh, and the major city right outside the window. But the point is, I was cut off from the world. In normal circumstances, I would drag my laptop to a coffeehouse or a bar or something and set up shop there. In this case, I didn’t have the emotional energy for that. After completing a task for my parents, I left and headed back home to my cable and internet.
In Friday’s huge win, the Jeff Skinner / Tuomo Ruutu / Jussi Jokinen line was enormous, accounting for eight (3/5) points. Each player scored a goal. Ruutu and Skinner had two helpers while Jokinen had just one.
Carolina’s third Finn, defenseman Joni Pitkanen scored an uncharacteristic end-to-end goal during an early second period power play. Erik Cole and Brandon Sutter also scored for the Canes.
Atlanta’s Bryan Little busted up Cam Ward’s shutout bid with just 39 seconds remaining in the game. One interesting byproduct of that is that it turned the second goal of the game—Erik Cole’s goal—into the game winning goal. In the season series, Cole had five goals, and four of them were game-winners. Two of those were overtime game-winners. He has to be hated in Blueland. Every other game in this season series was decided by one goal, and this, the most important one, was a blowout.
Skinner has matched Logan Couture’s 31 goals and is way past him with 62 points to 55 for Couture. I’d say that he’s a lock for the Calder Trophy. That voting takes place sometime between Sunday night and the start of the playoffs.
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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.