Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 04/21/09 at 08:28 PM ET
Tonight is as close to being a “must win” for the Hurricanes as it can get. A loss tonight puts them down 3-1 and headed back to New Jersey. I don’t have the stats in front of me, but a very small number of teams have ever come back from being down 3-1.
The good news: it’s a home game. If nothing else, the crowd will be on the Hurricanes’ side.
Some things have got to change if the Canes want to win this game and stay alive in this series. Obviously, the top line is going to have to start scoring. Through three games, the line of Ruutu/Staal/Cole has just one point. One. Carolina doesn’t deserve to win if that continues to be the case.
Also, the Canes are going to have to end this parade to the penalty box. Although the PK units have been outstanding, they’ve been asked to do too much. Also, there’s an old adage that goes something like “you can’t score any goals while you’re sitting in the penalty box”.
Another big thing that’s going to have to change is the shots. Carolina has been outshot by a wide margin in this series and really haven’t been able to mount any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. They haven’t created very much traffic in front of Brodeur and haven’t been gobbling up rebounds. During the power plays, it looks like they’re trying to get too cute and make a perfect shot. It doesn’t always take a perfect shot. Any shot will do.
So, the keys tonight will be to shoot the puck, stay disciplined, get the top line active. Oh, and it would be nice if they could do something about Zach Parise. That kid’s a beast. It’s still wicked early, but he’s having a heck of a series and would be an early Conn Smythe favorite.
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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.