Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/27/10 at 11:35 PM ET
On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes played their first real home game of the season, and things did not go well for the home team. The visiting Capitals won the game 3-0 behind some excellent goaltending by Michal Neuvirth. It was the first career shutout for the young netminder.
Nick Backstrom scored two third period goals, including a shorthanded empty netter and Matt Hendricks was credited with a controversial goal in the first period.
Neuvirth looked great against the Canes, making a few spectacular saves against Eric Staal and a very couple of gems against Carolina’s other forwards.
The controversy with the first goal was that Cam Ward may have been interfered with in the top of his goal crease. A Caps skater came across the bottom of the slot, in the white ice, and made some contact with Ward. Cam was not in the blue paint, so it’s not a no-brainer, but the Caps player knocked him down and laid on top of him for a second, preventing Ward from making the play on the ensuing shot. It didn’t look like intentional contact and it didn’t look like it should have been a penalty, but it did look like the play could have been blown dead.
Towards the end of the second period, there was yet another example of fringe play by Alexander Ovechkin. Carolina’s Chad LaRose was going for a puck in the corner. Ovechkin came out of nowhere to lay a hit on LaRose, and he clearly left his feet in order to deliver the high hit from behind. He was penalized for charging, LaRose was uninjured, and nothing came of that. It wasn’t necessarily a dirty play, but it wasn’t a good hockey play either.
The effort was definitely there from Carolina. They played well. Just not well enough. Neuvirth stood on his head and the Caps played an excellent team game.
The power play isn’t clicking yet, and that continues to be a major area of concern for the Canes. Another huge concern is their faceoff winning percentage, which is not good.
After the one home game, Carolina will go back on the road for a Friday night game in Madison Square Garden.
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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.