Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/12/10 at 01:55 AM ET
The Hurricanes had a difficult back-to-back road set this weekend in Dallas on Friday and in St. Louis on Saturday. The Stars are the second best team in the West, while the Blues are one point out of eighth place in the West. Behind some stellar goaltending by Cam Ward, the Hurricanes were able to earn a consolation point on Friday and eke out a shootout win on Saturday.
For the second night in a row, Ward allowed only one regulation goal and emerged as a hero of the game. Jussi Jokinen got the game-deciding goal in the shootout. With the win on Saturday, the Hurricanes are back at .500 for the season. This isn’t any way to make the playoffs, so they’ll need to string together some wins. It won’t be an easy task in the much improved Southeast division.
I wasn’t able to see either game, but I was able to listen to Saturday’s game. I can’t say much about the games, but I know that Cam Ward made some spectacular saves in the overtime period on Friday and that he made 38 stops on Saturday. He and the rest of the Canes will have a well-deserved three days off before playing another back-to-back road set on Wednesday and Thursday in Florida and Atlanta respectively.
The Canes, who are in the midst of their second five-game road stand of the season, find themselves in ninth place overall in the East. They’re six points out of eighth, but with games in hand. They haven’t yet had a winning streak of more than two games or a losing streak of more than three.
According to the radio broadcast tonight, Cam Ward might have suffered a mild injury in the course of the game and definitely did during the shootout. I have no way of knowing, but I really hope it’s not his back. He had issues with his back last season, and he was forced to miss a bunch of games because of it. If Cam goes down, there won’t be a Manny Legace for Jim Rutherford to pull out of his hat. Fortunately, both Mike Murphy and Justin Pogge are playing well for the Checkers. They’ve split the starts right down the middle, and they have almost identical records. Murphy’s GAA and save percentage are slightly better. Pogge has a few games of NHL experience. All said and done, they’re on level footing. Each guy would be just as equipped as the other to help Justin Peters handle the load.
Of course we’ll wait to see if there even is an injury to speak of. On that note (knocking on wood), the Hurricanes have been extraordinarily lucky this season vis-a-vis injuries. The last five seasons have not been kind to the Hurricanes in that department. Usually, by now, they’ve lost about 100 man-games to injury. This season, they’ve lost just four. Oddly enough, this good health has turned out to be a bad break for the boys down in Charlotte. Many of the boys are playing well enough to deserve a call-up, but they’re not getting the calls. Nobody on the big team is hurt. Nobody is putting himself in the coach’s doghouse. The only player who had questionable ethic was Patrick O’Sullivan, and he was waived.
On the farm, several of the boys including Jerome Samson and Chris Terry have been tearing it up. Samson has 29 (15/14) points and Terry 24 (11/13). I’d like to see Terry get his NHL debut this season. Also, Jacob Micflikier has been playing very well, earning 21 (11/10) points. This is just a short list of the players who should and will get call-ups when the opportunity arises.
The Checkers, despite a sizzling hot November, have fallen to fourth place in the East division and seventh overall in the Eastern conference. Hopefully, they’ll take two regulation points on Sunday afternoon to leapfrog Hershey in the standings. Justin Pogge made 48 saves in a losing effort against those Hershey Bears on Friday. Mike Murphy will probably be in nets when the same two teams meet on Sunday.
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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.