Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 01/01/09 at 03:46 AM ET
On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes defeated the visiting Thrashers 3-1 to move into sole possession of the #8 spot in the East. Cam Ward had a sleepy game in net with some solid defense in front of him and a huge game from the top line. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense did an excellent job of shutting down Atlanta’s top line. Ilya Kovalchuk was able to break a nine game goal drought, but that was it. Todd White and Bryan Little each assisted on the goal, but both were held to zero shots on goal.
Sergei Samsonov potted two hard-working goals while Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each had a single assist. To finish it off, Joe Corvo scored a blistering power play goal as some third period insurance.
This closes the 2008 portion of the 08/09 season. I vowed to withhold judgment on Paul Maurice: redux until the team has played 20 or so games under him, and I intend to keep that promise. I’m beginning to think that it’s not too soon at all, but I’ll still wait.
December was a very hard road to hoe, and the boys earned 15 of a possible 26 points in the first 13 games of Mo’s second run. And they did it against a tough schedule, going 6-4-3 in that stretch.
January’s set of 13 is a little less difficult, and they’ll have a good chance to earn 18 or more points in the month. If they can do this, they’ll be able to climb up the standings a little bit and maybe even start to make a push against the Capitals for the division. There’s still a lot of hockey to be played, as we haven’t even hit the halfway mark yet, but it’s never too early to talk about playoff positioning.
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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.