Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/23/09 at 11:46 PM ET
On Monday night, the Hurricanes traveled to Sunrise for a big game against division rival and playoff contender Florida. Due to league regulations, the best look we had at it was the closed-circuit video feed from the arena coupled with the Panthers radio feed. The Canes needed just over a minute of overtime to take a 3-2 win and the extra standings point. They now have 87 with seven games to play. They’ve also jumped over Pittsburgh in the standings to grab hold of fifth place.
I don’t know if it’s just when the Panthers play the Hurricanes, or if it’s all the time, but the announcers complained about the officiating a lot. The South Florida newspapers always complain about the Hurricanes, claiming that they dive to get penalties. In this game, they got the officiating crew they wanted, they got the penalty calls going their way, but they still couldn’t win the game. Ray Whitney put on a one-man show in the overtime and sealed the deal with a little wrister from the left circle at 1:37 of the extra frame.
Strangely, it was actually the officiating that gave the Panthers a ticket to overtime. Carolina was protecting a tenuous 2-1 lead with about five minutes to play. Carolina was called for two penalties in quick succession, giving the Kitties about a minute and a half of five-on-three. Both penalties were legitimate, so there’s no complaints there. Cory Stillman fired one in to make things really interesting at 15:55 of the third.
The complaints from the Florida announcers were about the goal that gave Carolina a 2-1 lead. Both teams were changing, and they claimed that Carolina had “seven” guys on the ice. If they did, none of the changing guys touched the puck, and none of them figured into the scoring play, so it doesn’t warrant a penalty. Both teams were changing, and there were a lot of guys going over the boards. It happens all the time.
Rod Brind’Amour, who has rediscovered himself since being sent home during an early February road trip, had two assists and finished the night with a +2 rating. He’s +7 over his last ten games and is starting to climb out of that terrible hole he was in. More important than improving his +/- is the fact that he’s putting himself on the scoring ledger. Of course there’s a correlation between the two, but we don’t really care about the +/- thing.
Patty Eaves got a good break on his controversial goal, as it was just a mess of bodies at the net and a puck that squirted through Vokoun. He’s been playing really well lately and he deserves a break. We were expecting big things from him this season, but this is only his sixth goal of the season.
Cam Ward, who was just named the NHL’s first star of last week, made 37 saves en route to earning his 34th win and the team’s 40th. In his last eight games, he’s stopped 275 out of the 293 shots he’s faced. That’s a save % of .939. He’s definitely going to be the horse that this team rides
Up next, the sizzling hot Senators, who have gone 9-2-0 thus far in March. They’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but it’s going to take a miracle on top of a miracle for them to qualify. Maybe they can pass Les Habitants as those teams head in opposite directions.
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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.