Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/11/08 at 12:10 AM ET
Carolina opened their 11th season on Friday with a wild game against division foe Florida and a 6-4 win. It wasn’t pretty, but two points in the standings look good any day of the week.
The Hurricanes stumbled out of the gates, giving up two goals in the first six minutes of the contest, but settled in nicely with goals from six different players and assists from seven different players. At the end of it all, Tim Gleason earned the game’s first star with three assists.
Recap and notes after the jump
David Booth got the visitors on the board first at 4:13 when he blew past Joe Corvo and Frantisek Kaberle at the blue line, beating Ward cleanly on the glove side. Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan Allen assisted.
After two quick Hurricanes penalties, the Panthers capitalized with an easy five-on-three goal by Cory Stillman at 6:07. Stephen Weiss and Bryan McCabe got their first assists of the season.
Tuomo Ruutu scored the first Hurricanes goal of the season with a power play marker at 10:30. He re-directed a big point shot by Dennis Seidenberg, who picked up the primary assist. Kaberle also helped on the play.
Ray Whitney scored a beautiful goal at 17:25 to knot the game at two. He picked up a puck near the bottom of the left circle and very patiently moved around, finding a great angle from the inside hash marks. Patrick Eaves and Timmmmmay Gleason got the helpers.
Rod Brind’Amour gave the home team the lead at 6:35 of the first by tipping Kaberle’s left point shot. It was the second power play goal in two chances. It barely got past Vokoun, trickling over the goal line. It’ll look like a blistering one-timer in the boxscore, though.
Radek Dvorak pounced on a rebound of David Booth’s shot, sending it past Cam Ward and tying the game at three. Kamil Kreps had the secondary helper on the even strength goal, which came at 13:10 of the middle stanza.
At 14:45, newcomer Joni Pitkänen scored his first goal in a Hurricanes sweater with a quick wrist shot from the right circle. Tim Gleason picked up the lone assist, his second of the game.
3:32 into the final period, Randy LaCouture, who was a free agent tryout was in the right place at the right time to stick in a rebound. It proved to be the deciding goal, assisted by Nic Wallin and Brandon Sutter, earning his first NHL point in his debut.
Nathan Horton put the visitors within one goal at 13:31 on another power play goal. It was a really pretty goal, and a great display of skill by Horton, who maneuvered through traffic and used a nifty toe drag move, then wristed it top shelf. Cory Stillman and Nick Boynton assisted.
Finally, Matt Cullen scored an empty net goal from a difficult angle at 19:35 of the third. Ryan Bayda and Tim Gleason assisted.
Carolina was pretty undisciplined, and they were penalized six times. There was an iffy kneeing penalty against Dennis Seidenberg, who otherwise had a very good game, and there were five penalties for hooking/holding. This is one of the points of emphasis for the officials this season (but don’t they say that every year?), and every one of those was well deserved. Carolina surrendered one power play goal and one five-on-three.
On the other side, Carolina had three power play opportunities of their own, and they cashed in on two of them. They’ll take those percentages any day of the week.
Joni Pitkänen looked pretty good out there, and his goal was sweet. It’s just one game, but I like what I’ve seen. He and the rest of the defense have some issues (blown coverage deep in the zone) that they need to work on, but Pitkänen and Gleason looks like a good pairing.
Rookie Brandon Sutter looked very good. Very good. He did a bang-up job on the PK unit and looked very confident out there. He had 5:54 of penalty killing time and 11:29 overall time on ice. It was great to see him pick up a point, assisting on the game winning goal.
Frantisek Kaberle looked fantastic. I’ve bashed him loads of times in the past, and I’ve gotta say that I’m really impressed. He seems to be playing without any pain and he looked very comfortable. He had two assists and four blocked shots, including one during a critical PK sequence late in the third. My cap’s off to him in a big way.
The official three stars went to David Booth (third), Joni Pitkänen (second) and Tim Gleason (first)
I was so impressed with Kaberle that I threw him in the mix. The RBH three stars:
THIRD STAR David Booth, FLA —- 1g, 1a
SECOND STAR Frantisek Kaberle, CAR—- 2a, 4 blocked shots
FIRST STAR Tim Gleason, CAR—- 3a, 4 blocked shots
With 13 different players on the scoresheet for Carolina, it’s hard to believe that Eric Staal wasn’t one of them. What’s even harder to believe is that one goal and SEVEN ASSISTS came from the back end. Good, good stuff.
Carolina takes the show on the road tomorrow for a 7:30 game in Tampa
Filed in: Carolina Hurricanes, NHL Hockey, game summary, | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brandon+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, frantisek+kaberle, game+recap, joni+pitkanen, tim+gleason
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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.