Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/22/08 at 01:25 AM ET
On Friday, the Hurricanes crushed the visiting Coyotes 5-2. Coach Wayne Gretzky’s comments about Eric Staal in the Raleigh paper this morning turned out to be kind of eerily prophetic. Not only did Staal snap his eight game goal scoring skid, but he had a hat trick and the game’s first star.
Added to that, Carolina kept Olli Jokinen off the scoresheet.
I predicted that Staal would come off the schneid tonight by getting “a cheap one”. I was wrong about that, but I’ll gladly take the three goals. None of them were cheap.
Early in the first, the Canes got off to a really bad start. Eric Staal took a double minor for high sticking. With about 45 seconds remaining in that penalty, Patrick Eaves was sent to the box for a two minute high sticking penalty. Staal’s penalty was killed, but before Eaves’ was over, the Yotes found the net. Kevin Porter scored his fourth goal of the season at 8:56, assisted by Keith Yandle and Jovocop.
Staal ended his scoreless drought at 15:16 of the first. He was right on the doorstep to take a very nice pass from Sergei Samsonov. Tuomo Ruutu had the other assist.
Shane Doan restored the lead for the visitors at 17:03 when he buried a shot from the low slot after defenseman Anton Babchuk made a horrible turnover deep in the zone.
Immediately after the goal, my friend Jenn texted me “And Anton gets the first ‘Babsy’ award”. This goes back a few years when we used to be seat neighbors. We were often so disgusted with the horrible defensive play of Oleg Tverdovsky that we created a fictional award called the “Tevvy”, which is given every game to the player who makes the most or the most costly boneheaded mistakes.
The second period was all Canes. Staal picked up his second goal of the night at 8:00. He fired a shot well wide of the net, which set up a play with Joni Pitkänen and Nic Wallin. Both defensemen picked up an assist.
At 19:15 of the middle frame, Staal completed the hat trick, assisted by Scott Walker and Pitkänen. They say that goals scored in the first minute or last minute of a period are back breakers, and this one was exactly that.
Ray Whitney added two goals late in the third to put the game out of reach. At 17:39, he was assisted by Rod Brind’Amour, then at 19:29, he hit an empty net after being assisted by Walker and Pitkänen,
I got a heads-up from a friend that I was on teevee, but I haven’t reviewed the game yet. I also snapped a few pictures with my new fancy phone. I’ll hopefully add those later.
THIRD STAR Joni Pitkänen, CAR—- 3 assists, 3 blocked shots, +4
SECOND STAR Ray Whitney, CAR—- 2 goals
FIRST STAR Eric Staal, 3 goals, 8 shots on goal, +4
The Canes have now won three games in a row. They’ll stay home and will host the Predators on Sunday afternoon.
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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.