Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/26/08 at 01:31 AM ET
On Saturday, the Hurricanes needed some big-time heroics from goaltender Cam Ward to hang on to a 4-3 victory. Although he was on the bench for the two previous games, he wasn’t the least bit rusty. He made 57 saves, including a stop on a penalty shot with less than one second to play in regulation. He was easily the game’s first star by anyone’s account. Except, of course, the Islanders radio network, which picks the “official” three stars. Somehow, they left Ward off the card entirely. Although the game ended well, it wasn’t all pie and cake for Carolina.
The Hurricanes got off to a good start, pushing off to a 2-0 lead early in the first. The last time the Hurricanes led a game 2-0 was March 28 of last season in a 7-1 win over the Thrashers. Throughout the second and third periods, the Canes committed one penalty after another, putting themselves perpetually on the PK. The good news is that the defense responded well to that, killing seven of eight penalties. But there was bad news They gave up a shorthanded goal, and they lost two players to injury.
Chad “Sharpie” LaRose started the scoring with an unassisted goal at 3:43 of the first. He made a great play to bat down Rick DiPietro’s elevated clearing attempt. After knocking it down just inside the blue line, he rushed in with it and put it past DiPi from the bottom of the right circle for his first tally of the season.
At 8:49, Rod Brind’Amour banged one in from the front door to give the visiting Hurricanes a two goal cushion. He had won a faceoff cleanly at the right dot. Joe Corvo fired a shot from the right point, then Brind’Amour jumped on the rebound for his fourth marker of the season.
got a goal at 3:56 of the second to cut the lead in half. Nate Thompson didn’t get an assist on the goal, but he forced a turnover deep in the Carolina zone with a big hit on Tim Gleason. Meyer’s point shot went through traffic and beat Ward cleanly. Andy Hilbert got the only assist. It was Meyer’s first goal of the season. I still don’t know for sure whether he’s related to the Fred Meyer of Fred Meyer fame.
Eric Staal notched his fourth goal of the season at 10:51 on another unassisted goal created by a turnover. He picked off a point-to-point pass right at the Islanders blue line, walked in alone and beat Joey MacDonald, who came on in relief of DiPi to start the second.
The Canes killed off three penalties in the second, and Dennis Seidenberg was outstanding. He had four blocked shots in the game, and I’m pretty sure all of them came in the second period.
Things got very interesting in the third. Joni Pitkänen had to leave the game late in the second with an undisclosed injury, and later on Brandon Sutter would leave the game after a hard but legal hit from Dougie Weight.
Sean Bergenheim scored for the Islanders at 5:45 of the third to make it 3-2 Canes. Somehow, he and Freddy Meyer came in on a two-on-one rush and they got a shorthanded goal out of it.
At 7:11, Sharpie scored his second goal of the game, and it was a thing of beauty. Brandon Sutter led a two-on-two rush down the left wing, and he made an amazing pass to LaRose in the low slot, who went top shelf on MacDonald. Ryan Bayda got the secondary assist.
Isles defenseman Mark Streit pulled his team back within one goal at 10:34. His shot from above the right circle was assisted by Doug Weight and Billy Guerin.
Just a few seconds later, at center ice, Doug Weight layed out Brandon Sutter with a very big hit. There was no penalty called because the puck was still on Sutter’s stick, but the contact was directly to his head. Sutter laid on the ice for several moments, conscious and moving, but not able to get up. The medical staff from both teams tended to him for a few minutes before he was finally able to make his way off the ice and into the locker room. Technically the play was clean. If the league had a stance against head-high hits, it would have been a penalty. Of course Doug Weight wasn’t attempting to injure Sutter, but the league will probably review the incident. They say they are trying to crack down on those types of hits, but I don’t expect anything to come of this particular incident. Sutter was skating with his head down, leaving himself vulnerable. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s fair game. Dougie is a veteran guy, a class guy. He should have recognized that it wasn’t necessary to lower the boom on the kid like that. That said, I’m confident that he’s already paid visit to Sutter, whether he went to the locker room or the hospital.
It looks for all the world like a concussion. We can only hope that he’ll be okay.
The Islanders continued to pepper Cam Ward with shots, and with less than a second to play, a Hurricanes defenseman covered the puck in the painted ice. That resulted in a penalty shot for Doug Weight. With 0.7 seconds to play, it was simple. If he scored, there would be overtime. If he didn’t, the Canes win. Cam Ward made the save and emerged with the win.
The “official” three stars were Meyer (third), Staal (second) and LaRose (first). We didn’t quite see it that way in Carolina.
The Fox Sports Carolina three stars and also the RBH three stars are:
THIRD STAR Freddy Meyer, NYI—- 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 blocked shots
SECOND STAR Chad LaRose, CAR—- 2 goals
FIRST STAR Cam Ward, CAR—- 57 saves
Carolina will be off until Tuesday, when they will play the fifth game of the six game road swing. For the first time, they will visit Montréal without Erik “Hab Killa” Cole. After that, they’ll visit St. Louis on Thursday, then they’ll be home on November 1 against Edmonton.
According to Chip Alexander, Sutter will stay in the hospital overnight, and Pitkänen will fly back to Raleigh to have his knee evaluated. I’d be willing to wager a large sum that Doug Weight will also be at that hospital.
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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.