Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/15/09 at 03:07 AM ET
On Saturday, the Blue Jackets came into Raleigh to wish Brandon Sutter an unhappy birthday. More than that, they beat up on Carolina in every way. The final result was 5-1, but the game was really over when it was 2-0.
This game and the Florida game on Thursday bring to mind the famous two-word review of Spinal Tap’s “Shark Sandwich” album. We all know how that one goes.
Columbus did not look like the team who played and traveled last night. They were ready to play, they earned all of their chances, took advantage of opportunities. They grossly outworked the Hurricanes, bumping themselves into the Western playoff bubble while denying Carolina a chance to get closer in the East.
Rick Nash had three assists, Kristian Huselius has a goal and two assists, and even Mikey Commodore joined the fun. He scored the first goal of the game on a nasty one-timer from the right dot.
There really wasn’t anything redeeming about the game tonight. Not even the $1 hotdogs could soften the blow of having to watch the team I love play like crap. During one of the post-game call-in radio shows, the host was delusional enough to think that the Hurricanes didn’t play badly. They did. With no disrespect to the Blue Jackets, Carolina didn’t play well even in the slightest. The power plays were ugly, there was no forechecking, there were offensive zone penalties, guys getting in each other’s way, and just sloppy play all the way around.
On the other hand, Columbus worked hard, winning every loose puck battle. They forced Carolina to commit defensive zone turnovers, and turned turnovers into goals. They were incredibly efficient as well. They only took 20 shots, and scored with five of them. Steve Mason was good, but he never had to make a great save. In fact, the majority of his saves were routine.
This is not the way anyone wanted this little three game stretch to start. After playing really well in a win in San Jose last week, then demolishing Phoenix, things have gone pear-shaped. In the last two games, Carolina has given up ten goals and scored just one.
I’d like to see a lot of things tomorrow in Buffalo. I’d like the power play to start setting up shop properly rather than have three guys simultaneously skate aimlessly behind the net while nobody works the front of the net. I’d like to see some loose puck battles won by the Canes in all three zones. I’d like to see some forechecking. Even if none of those play out, I’d like to see Micheal Leighton start in nets. And I’m pretty sure he will.
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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.