Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Canes steal one, await Habs

On Sunday, the black-clad Hurricanes came from two goals down to defeat the visiting Lightning 3-2, needing the shootout to get the win. 

Things got off on the wrong foot when Carolina ran a sloppy power play.  They committed a turnover deep in the offensive zone.  Because a defenseman was pinching and Tampa’s man was coming out of the box, the turnover resulted in a three-on-one and a goal by Martin St. Louis at 11:20 of the first.  Former Hurricane Radim Vrbata got the only assist. 

Early in the second, Vincent Lecavalier potted a power play goal on a very goofy play that should have been whistled dead.  Tampa was making a change and the puck was going to clear the zone, but it hit the skate of a player leaving the ice.  He was the sixth man on the ice at that point, and while it may have been inadvertent, it kept the play on-side.  Seeing as how Carolina had just been called for a too many men penalty, this should have been noticed.  It wasn’t.  The Canes stopped playing and the Bolts scored.  The Horseman from the Recchin’ Ball and Steve Eminger at 4:05.

All was not lost, though.  The Canes regrouped and ended up stealing the win.

Little used Wade Brookbank put the Canes on the board at 14:24 when he banged in a rebound from the bottom of the right circle.  Brandon Sutter and Joni Pitkänen picked up the helpers.

Just as the PA announcement was made, Carolina managed to tie things up.  From the left faceoff dot, Rod Brind’Amour whistled a one-timer past Mike Smith as he was falling to the ice.  Ray Whitney and Nic Wallin assisted on the even strength goal at 15:37.

There was no more scoring in the second.  Or the third.

Carolina appeared to put the game on a platter for Tampa in the closing seconds of the third period.  They committed their second too many men penalty of the game to give the Bolts 15 seconds of five-on-four and 1:45 of four-on-three.  It’s the latter that so scary, but the Hurricanes managed to fight it off and ultimately send the game to shootout.

Ever since the year of the Cup, shootouts have been disastrous for the Canes.  It’s been practically a given that they’ll miss their shots and the opponent will salt it away in the second shootout frame.

Laviolette made a change to his normal plan.  Usually, the shootout would be led off by Ray Whitney, then Eric Staal, then Sergei Samsonov (or some player on a hot streak).  This time, he led off with the hot-handed Tuomo Ruutu, then went with Rod Brind’Amour (who would usually go fourth in the rotation).  Presumably, Whitney would have been third, but there was no need for a third frame.  Ruutu and Brind’Amour buried their shots while Lecavalier’s weak shot was thwarted by Ward and Jussi Jokinen hit the post with his strange attempt during which he skated hard and came to a complete stop at the goal mouth, deked, then hit the post. 

Carolina will stay at home, awaiting the Canadiens, who are 5-2-2 on the road this season.  Puck drop on Tuesday will be 7:00.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, rod+brind'amour, shootout, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

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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. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.