Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/14/10 at 01:31 AM ET
On Saturday, the Phoenix Coyotes shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. In the process, they did great damage to Carolina’s quixotic pursuit of the eighth and final playoff position in the East. Martin Hanzal and Lee Stempniak had two goals apiece while Ilya Bryzgalov shut the door 29 times against Canes shooters. The Hurricanes’ eight game home winning streak comes to a screeching halt and the hill to climb becomes that much steeper. Montréal helped the Canes by beating eighth place Boston 3-2, but none of that matters because the Canes failed to help themselves. The gap between the Canes and eighth place remains eight points.
Justin Peters got his second straight start in nets, but he didn’t really look very good. He didn’t give up any “bad’ goals, but his rebound control was pretty lousy and he didn’t look confident. I was a little surprised when he was left in at 3-0. I fully expect Manny Legace to get the start on Tuesday against the Bruins. I also expect Brandon Sutter to be back in the lineup.
Carolina has fourteen games left and still needs to make up eight points in the standings in order to finish an improbable rise from the league’s cellar to the playoffs. Two of those games will be against Boston, who is currently in eighth place. Of course there are four other teams also trying to claim that eighth spot, so it’ll take a lot more than a red-hot finish. Tonight’s setback wasn’t exactly a death blow, but they’re definitely running out of time and space.
For the second game in a row, Carolina had a poorly executed two man advantage. On Thursday, they had about a minute and a half of five-on-three and were unable to even attempt a shot, let alone get one. Tonight, they had 29 seconds of the five-on-three. Obviously, nothing came of that. On the other specialty teams side, the Hurricanes killed two of three penalties against the league’s worst power play.
Erik Cole, who is still not feeling well after having a bout with the flu, actually looked better than he has in a while. He had a couple of breakaway chances and created some other scoring opportunities. In the end, though, Ilya Bryzgalov was a brick wall. This was his first win against Carolina.
The Canes continue their four game homestand with an absolute must-win game on Tuesday against the Bruins.
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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.