Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/02/09 at 11:16 AM ET
The Canes and Bruins opened their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Friday, and it was a solid victory for Boston. Just as the Devils did in game one of the first round, the Bruins won game one 4-1. The Bruins have won all five postseason games, and none of them have been close.
David Krejci started things off for the home team at 1:34, tipping a right point blast from Aaron Ward. Michael Ryder got the secondary assist. To me, it looked like Ward’s goal. However, they determined that it was touched by Krejci in the slot, and he gets the credit….
Jussi Jokinen scored his fourth goal of the playoffs at 18:50 of the first. His shot from the top of the left circle hit Tim Thomas, then squeaked through his equipment and nestled into the skirt of the goal netting. Simultaneous with that, there was a collision between Ryan Bayda and Thomas. It all happened so quickly, and with the puck in the skirt, we all assumed that it was under Thomas. The ruling on the ice was that the goal was good, but that the contact between Bayda and Thomas constituted goaltender interference. Incidentally, Bayda got the primary assist and Joni Pitkänen got the secondary.
The good news is that Carolina was outshooting Boston. The score was tied and that late goal had the potential to be one of those game-changing moments. It wasn’t.
Marc Savard scored his third marker of the post season at 7:211 of the second. He did some nifty things between the hash marks and worked hard to give his team the 2-1 lead. Phil Kessel and Milan Lucic got the assists on what proved to be the game winning goal.
At 12:34, Michael Ryder capitalized on a horrible neutral zone turnover by Tuomo Ruutu. Ruutu attempted a soft pass into the middle of the ice, but Ryder intercepted it and came in on a break. He fired a shot from the left dot, beating Cam Ward cleanly
Both goaltenders made some really good saves in the period. Despite letting two of nine shots past him in the period, Ward made some really challenging saves and kept his team in it. Late in the period, Carolina had its best scoring chance when Ryan Bayda attempted to finish off an odd-man rush. Thomas made a nice play to shut down Bayda and keep it 3-1.
Savard added a second goal, his fourth of the playoffs, at 7:21 of the third. Once again, it was the result of a neutral zone turnover by Carolina. Kessel brought it in and dropped a pass for Savard who made no mistake.
Carolina outshot its opponent, which is a good thing. Where it counts, though, they were on the short side. They were good again on the penalty kill, denying all three opportunities the Bruins had. That’s another good thing. At times, they were swarming around Thomas’ net. Another good thing.
Unfortunately, there were some bad things. Their neutral zone passing was terrible. Two turnovers in the middle led directly to Bruins turnovers. They weren’t physical and aggressive enough to force the Bruins into taking penalties. Zdeno Chara committed two penalties, which were the only Bs infractions of the game. One of those was offsetting with a roughing penalty to Erik Cole, so the Hurricanes only had one power play.
I’ll write more about Cole later, but he hasn’t done anything that shows up on the box score. This is unacceptable. While Carolina’s broadcasting crew has been cutting him slack and complimenting his play, I’m not impressed. He’s not utilizing his speed to create scoring chances or force the other team to take penalties.
Game two will be Sunday night. Hopefully Carolina can right the ship by then.
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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.