Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 01/21/09 at 01:40 AM ET
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes used a 32-save outing by Cam Ward and Eric Staal’s 20th goal to outlast the Penguins 2-1 and catapult themselves back into the top eight in the East.
All season long, it’s been Good Canes/Bad Canes. Tonight, the “Good” Canes showed up and won their second straight game as they head into the ASG. Early in the game, it looked like Bad Canes, as they fell behind 1-0 early, then squandered a lengthy five-on-three in the first period. Carolina recovered with a gorgeous power play goal late in the first, then the game-winner by Staal at 8:01 of the second.
To finish the game, Carolina killed a four minute high-sticking minor that ended up being a six-on-four power play.
For the second straight night, Tuomo Ruutu did some of the unglamorous things very well, and deserves a boatload of credit.
On Monday, Ruutu did a fantastic job of screening Vesa Toskala, which allowed Joe Corvo to get the game-winning goal. Tonight, he did the exact same thing, screening Emma Fleury on Ray Whitney’s power play goal in the first period. He also hit everything in sight, leading all players with six hits. All this despite having just 14 minutes of ice time.
Kudos also go to Brandon Sutter, who has continued to be an invaluable penalty killer. However, he made a rookie mistake when he and Staal were on a two-on-one shorthanded break. With plenty of time and a good lane, Sutter went for the shot instead of passing to Staal for a better scoring chance. There’s no reason to assume that Staal would have buried his shot, but Sutter didn’t. Carolina remains the only team in the league not to have scored a shorthanded goal.
Eric Staal will take a couple of days rest before he heads to Toronto for the ASG. The rest of the Canes will have a whole week off before the nest game at Rangers next Tuesday. This break couldn’t have come at a better time, as Carolina lost two players early in this game. Scott Walker and Nic Wallin both left the game in the second period and did not come back.
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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.