Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/13/09 at 01:23 AM ET
On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes had a chance to eliminate the Bruins on home ice. They had failed to finish the task on Sunday in Boston, and it seemed like it would be better this way. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it done. They spotted Boston two goals in the first six minutes of the game and ended up losing 4-2.
Three days ago, it seemed like it was a guarantee that Carolina would advance to the Eastern finals. Now, they find themselves in a single game playoff. Nothing at all matters now. One game. Thursday night.
The Bruins are poised to become only the 22nd team (out of 237) to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win.
Let it be know that I didn’t say “the Hurricnaes might become the 22nd team to squander a 3-1 series lead”. It isn’t that Carolina has pissed it away. Boston has taken it. They have been, by far, the better team in games five and six. The thing that’s slightly reassuring is that Carolina showed some improvement between games five and six.
For Thursday, everything goes out the window. How each team got to where they are is completely insignificant. You can analyse it until the cows come home, but it’s actually very simple. One game. One winner.
The Recchin’ Ball got the Bruins off and running at 2:01 when he finished off a two-on-one with Patrice Bergeron. Chuck Kobasew got the secondary helper. The play was under review for a few moments, but I’m not sure why. The net came off the moorings, which might have been the question at hand, but it was pretty clear that the puck crossed the line first.
That was certainly a bad start, and it got worse jut a few minutes later. Steve Montador scored on a completely ridiculous shot from the left point that beat Cam Ward cleanly at 5:04 of the second. There was a screen down low, but still, it was a really clean shot that Ward should have seen and stopped. 2-0 Bruins. David Krejci and Michael Ryder got the helpers. The game was only five minutes old, and all of the energy was completely sucked out of the barn.
Carolina started the second period with a power play in hand, and they came out of the gates flying. They failed to capitalize on Zdeno Chara being in the box, but they got the puck deep and generated a couple of chances.
Matt Cullen cleaned up some loose change around Tim Thomas’ goal at 2:49, and there was temporarily some new life in the building. He got a backhander past Thomas to cut the lead in half and re-energize the fans. Scott Walker and Chad LaRose got the assists.
At 8:53 Mark Savard restored the two-goal lead by one-timing a shot from teh right circle. Tim Gleason blew his coverage on the play, and Ward didn’t have much of a chance. Milan Lucic and Dennis Wideman assisted.
Things got worse, and the game effectively ended at 18:03 of the second. Chuck Kobasew tipped one in, and the visiting Bruins were very much in charge of the game.
Segei Samsonov managed to close the gap at 7:20 of the third. It wasn’t over, but it was starting to get really really close. There was still a little bit of hope. That hope swelled a little when the Hurricanes got a power play opportunity eleven minutes into period three. Despite their efforts, Carolina couldn’t get another one past Thomas, and the final score ended up 4-2. Eric Staal and Tim Gleason assisted the goal.
Aside from the assist, it was a sub-par night for Tim Gleason. In fact, all of the Hurricanes defensemen were bad. There wer a lot of mistakes in coverage. There were a lot of bad passes in the Carolina end. There were a lot of failures to clear the zone. There were a lot of lazy plays by the Hurricanes blue liners that led directly to Bruins scoring opportunities. My opinion isn’t the common one, but I think that the worst of their lot was Joseph Corvo. One mistake after the other made it easy for me to shout criticisms at him for the bulk of the third period.
Carolina has no choice but to improve their level of play for game seven. They were better in six than they were in five, but it wasn’t nearly good enough.
Puck drop on Thursday will be 8:00.
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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.