Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/01/09 at 01:28 PM ET
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes squandered a two-goal third period lead and ended up losing 5-3 to the Thrashers. Carolina had already gotten some outside help when Florida and Buffalo both lost, but they missed the golden chance to climb into the playoff bubble by giving up four third period goals.
Now, the Canes are faced with a tough task. Starting Tuesday, they will play seven games in twelve days. Five of the games will be on the road. Five is also the number of playoff teams included in that stretch. It will be imperative that the Canes get no less than nine of the 14 points. One of the main obstacles to that endeavor is that two of those games are against the division leading red-hot Capitals, and both of those games are on the road. They’ve only lost seven home games. Another one of those road games is against the Blackhawks, who are currently fourth in the West and have only lost five regulation games at home. The flip side of that is that they’ve also lost six home games in overtime.
After this important stretch, the canes will have eight of their final eleven at home. Seven of the final eleven are presently in the playoffs. It’s not going to be easy.
The second and third goals were both situations where Cam Ward made a stop, a loose puck sat very close to the goal, and a Thrasher banged it in. There was no defensive cover. The go-ahead goal came on a very late power play, and the fifth was into an empty net.
I’m not sure why this team plays with urgency in some games, as they did against Buffalo, then plays without any against Atlanta. Those second and third goals could have easily been prevented with even the tiniest bit of defensive help. It was very disappointing and very frustrating to watch that game slip away.
The Canes are off until Tuesday, when they’ll visit the Caps.
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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.