Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/16/10 at 11:42 PM ET
For the second night in a row, the Hurricanes were on the road against a Southeast division opponent. For the second night in a row, they found themselves down by two goals after two periods. Fortunately, for the second night in a row, they climbed all the way back and walked out with a win. Now, for the first time all season, they have won three games in a row, and they capped off a five game road trip by earning seven of ten standings points.
One night after failing to show up, Cam Ward had a pretty remarkable night in nets. He had 45 saves in a shooting gallery and looked great doing it. He was especially sharp in the waning moments of regulation. The Atlanta media couldn’t see fit to award him with one of the stars of the game, but it’s no doubt that he was the best Hurricane player.
Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal scored third period goals to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov scored in the shootout to secure the two points.
A few days ago, I wrote about Carolina’s uncanny health this season and how the kids in Charlotte were being denied chances for call-ups because of it. Jay Harrison was hurt in a fight with BJ Crombeen of the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, and this allowed for the callup of Checkers captain Bryan Rodney. Now it looks like one of the forwards will be getting a call. Jiri Tlusty had to leave the game tonight after being boarded by Ben Eager of the Thrashers. Later, in the second, Eager would play dirty again when he rightfully received a ten minute misconduct for persisting in a fight after Troy Bodie had been restrained by the linesman.
Tlusty was taken out with an “upper body concern”, which may or may not translate into a real injury. If he needs some time off, Hurricanes fans might get their first look at left wing Jacob Micflikier. He’s been working his tail off in Charlotte and is third on the team with 24 (13/11) points. Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk are both centers and deserve a call-up, but the Canes need a left wing, and that’s where Micflikier fits in.
After a scoreless first period, Evander Kane put the Thrash on the board at 8:45 of the second with a power play marker. Just a few seconds previous, Atlanta had a goal wiped off due to incidental contact with Cam Ward. Five seconds before the power play would have elapsed, Kane tucked it in from down low, and it was clean. Anthony Steward and Johnny Oduya got the assists.
Stewart made it 2-0 at 18:56, assisted by Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.
Brandon Sutter got the Canes in the game just 26 seconds into the third frame, when he knocked one in, baseball-style with his stick well below the crossbar. Tuomo Ruutu and Jamie McBain got the assists.
Eric Staal blasted one in from the high slot at 6:00 of the third with a lone assist going to Joni Pitkanen.
Cam Ward made some spectacular saves down the stretch and five during the overtime period to send the game to shootout. Carolina had struggled in their previous shootout decisions, but they were good with this one. Nik Antropov of the Thrashers went first and scored a pretty goal, putting the birds in the driver’s seat. Jeff Skinner went in the bottom of the first, but failed to get a shot off. Bryan Little led off the second inning, and was stopped by Ward. In the bottom of the second, Jussi Jokinen scored on a no-nonsense shot from the forehand. Dustin Byfuglien led off the third with a slapshot attempt from just inside the blueline. It was easily seen and stopped by Ward. Sergei Samsonov went in the bottom of the third and his shot went through the five-hole of Chris Mason.
I can’t complain about the three game win streak. I can’t complain about how well Cam Ward played. I can’t complain about their reaction to adversity. I wish, though, that they’d make it a little less stressful on me, the fan.
We’ll await word on the health of Jiri Tlusty. Jacob Micflikier will be waiting by the phone. Carolina will be back in action on Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks. It’ll be a special game for Troy Bodie and Ryan Carter, as they suit up against their former team.
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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.