Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/30/08 at 05:01 PM ET
On Thursday night, Carolina will wrap up their longest roadtrip of the season when they visit St. Louis at 8:30 eastern time. They have been forced onto the road, as they are every October, because of the North Carolina State Fair, which has its fairgrounds adjacent to the RBC Center.
On Tuesday, the Canes played a pretty good game in Montrßal, earning one standings point in a shootout loss I neglected to blog that game, but each team had one cheap goal and one good goal. The game went to shootout and Saku Koivu was the man.
Carolina has gone 2-1-2 so far on this road trip, locking up six of a possible ten points. Tonight, they will face a team who has elevated its status from perennial laughing stock to early contender. In the meeting of the two teams last season, Manny Legace pitched a 1-0 shutout for the Blues.
Rod Brind’Amour is riding a two game point streak. Other stats after the jump
St. Louis has played in eight games, and five of them have been decided by three or more goals. Their Achilles, has been the first period, where they have a goal differential of -7. In second periods, however, they have a differential of +8, and they are +3 in the third. Carolina is pretty consistent across the board. They are -1 in first periods, +3 in second periods and -2 in third periods.
Carolina has taken the bulk of their shots on goal in the first and third periods. They have taken 75 first period shots and 85 third period shots but only 66 second period shots through the first eight games. Meanwhile, they have allowed most of their shots in the second. They have allowed 90 first period shots, 99 second period shots, and have seriously clamped down in third periods, allowing 77 final stanza shots.
On the other side, St. Louis is very consistent in shots taken and allowed. They have shot 60 in the first, 64 in the second and 63 in the third. They have allowed 80, 76 and 70.
St. Louis has the #1 ranked power play in the league and the #6 ranked penalty kill. Carolina is embarrassingly 27th on the power play and tied for 17th on the kill. Neither team has scored a short handed goal, and both have surrendered one.
Carolina has been unable to stay out of the penalty box lately, and this could be all the difference in this game.
Carolina is 3-0-0 this season in games in which Eric Staal scores a goal and 3-0-1 in games in which he has at least one scoring point. They are 4-0-0 in game in which Rod Brind’Amour scores and 4-0-1 in games when he has a scoring point.
Sergei Samsonov, who was one of Carolina’s most productive players last season (after the waiver wire acquisition) has been held pointless this season. I’m predicting that he breaks out of the slump tonight with a goal and an assist.
After this game, the Hurricanes will return to the friendly confines of the RBC center for two home games this weekend. Saturday afternoon against the Oilers and Sunday afternoon against the Leafs. I’ll be there Saturday. Come meet me for a beer!
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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.