Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/17/08 at 11:39 AM ET
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes took advantage of 11 power play opportunities, cashing in on three of them to defeat the visiting Canadiens 3-2. In the process, Eric Staal potted two goals and Sergei Samsonov earned two assists.
Slowly but surely, Staal is getting back to where he should be. And so are the Canes. There’s no denying that this has been a sub-par season for the Canes in the win column and for Staal on the stats sheet. In the past six games, Carolina has earned seven standings points. For the first time all season, they’ve earned at least a point in four consecutive games. Eric Staal has a four game point streak, which is also a first this season. In those four games, #12 has seven (4/3) points, including two two-goal games.
It’s great to see Staal coming to life because thus far this season, that old saying is perfectly applicable. “As Staal goes, so go the Canes.” When he scores, the Canes are 7-0-1.
Sergei Samsonov is also coming to life. In the last six games, he has six (2/4) points. He, too, is getting to the kind of production he was giving the Canes last season.
I’m still reserving judgment on Chairman Mo, but the team has played well against some very good teams since the transition two weeks ago. It doesn’t get any easier, though. On Thursday, the Canes will host the Panthers, who are suddenly on fire. Then they visit the Eastern conference leading Bruins on Saturday, and play at Montréal on Sunday. Then they’ll finally get a break with some games against non-playoff teams Minnesota and Atlanta.
While December’s schedule has been packed with some of the toughest teams in the east, January’s schedule is a little lighter. This should give the Canes an opportunity to climb back up the standings and assert themselves as a playoff-calibre 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.