Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Finns get Canes off the schneid

On Tuesday night, the Finnish connection got the job done in Carolina, handing them their first win of the season.  It took a shootout to break a 1-1 tie with the Lightning, and the Hurricanes were successful. 

This was one of those odd games that fell through the cracks, and wasn’t broadcast by either team’s network.  This meant that, even with the Center Ice package, this game wasn’t on television.  Thank goodness for internet radio and Chuckandtheletterk. 

This was the first game of the season for defenseman Joni Pitkänen, who had knee surgery over the summer.  Unfortunately, he didn’t last the whole game.  However, he and the other Finns all pitched in for the win.  It was also the first game of the season for tough guy utility player Tim Conboy.  As I expected, he spent more time in the box than on the ice.  I sincerely hope that this experiment will come to a rapid end and one of the skilled forwards from Albany is recalled. 

Almost immediately, Conboy did the only thing he knows how to do.  In his third shift, he fought Zenon Konopka of the Bolts.  After that, he played just three more shifts.  He spent 3:25 on the ice and 5:00 in the box.  I didn’t see it, and I actually missed the first bit of the radio broadcast, so I didn’t even hear it, so I have no idea what triggered the fight.  With Conboy, it doesn’t ever take much. 

Last spring’s playoff hero Jussi Jokinen scored for the Canes on the power play at 13:12 of the first, assisted by Pitkänen and by the goaltender Cam Ward.  It was the first point of the season for each player. 

The Canes held this lead for the rest of the first and gave up the tying goal to Ryan Malone at 6:00 of the second while Matt Cullen was serving time for hooking.

The second period was filled with minor penalties: three to the visiting Bolts and five to the Hurricanes.  Joni Pitkänen was guilty of interference at 11:57of the second, then received an additional two for unsportsmanlike conduct.  The Hurricanes were able to kill off the ensuing four minute man disadvantage. Pitkänen had one shift of just two seconds after that, and he never returned.  The report was “lower body injury, will not return”, and the speculation is that the knee is a little tender.  Carolina is off until Friday, so they’ve got time to let him rest and let it heal. 

Nothing happened in the third aside from a penalty to Chad LaRose for goaltender interference.  The overtime frame was also uneventful.  Only a tripping penalty against David Hale of the Lightning. 

In the shootout, the Hurricanes went first and Sergei Samsonov scored what sounded like a dandy.  Marty St. Louis went for the Bolts and he missed the net.  In the second round, Jussi Jokinen was stopped by Mike Smith and Vincent Lecavalier was stopped by Ward.  In the top of the third, Tuomo Ruutu scored to put it out of reach and the Canes got their first win of the season. 

Next up will be a home game against the Panthers on Friday.  Hopefully the Hurricanes will call up Zach Boychuk or Drayson Bowman by then.  Even if Pitkänen is a no-go, I’d rather see Jay Harrison on defense and Tim Conboy eating popcorn in the press box.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, joni+pitkanen, jussi+jokinen, 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.