Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/22/09 at 06:13 PM ET
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes used a playoff-like atmosphere to defeat the SE leading Capitals 4-1, propelling themselves into sixth place with 85 standings points and eight games remaining. Eighth place Montréal is four points back with two games in hand while ninth place Florida is five points behind Carolina with two games in hand.
Carolina took care of their own business, winning their third straight game and their eight straight home game. Meanwhile, they got some help from other teams in the hunt. Les Habitants did their part by losing to the Leafs and the Kitties did theirs by losing to Columbus. It would have been nicer if Buffalo had beaten Rangers, but at least it wasn’t a three-point game.
The Canes got three goals from the defense including a 190-footer by Joe Corvo into an empty net. The defense also did a great job of denying the middle of the ice, which makes Cam Ward’s job a lot easier. Señor Hot Stick had seven shots on goal, but I don’t remember any of them being great chances.
The first period of this game was dull, and I was worried about the intensity of the players and the fans. The Caps dominated the flow in the first ten minutes or so, but the Canes managed to hold them at bay and eventually find their own legs.
By the third period, the Canes really elevated their game. They were giving no options in the neutral zone, and whenever the Caps gained the Carolina zone, the Canes defense clamped down, forcing them to the outside. This is how it got done in the New Jersey game, but not at all what happened in the Islanders game.
Cam Ward started for the 21st consecutive game and earned his third straight and 33rd overall win. He will start the remaining eight games for coach Paul Maurice, barring any bizarre injuries or illnesses.
A lot of credit should be given to Joe Corvo. He’s never been categorized as a “good” defenseman, or even as a “defensive” defenseman. However, he and Tim Gleason did a really amazing job of shutting down the Ovechkin line. Every defenseman did something really well in that game, and his thing was shutting down the hottest scorer in hockey.
Carolina will have to go back out on the road, where they have lost three straight. They have a 7:30 date with the Panthers on Monday. Apparently, this is one of those odd games that falls through the cracks completely. No television coverage at all, by either team. I don’t get a Hurricanes broadcast on my radio dial, so my only option will be web radio. Exciting.
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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.