Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/02/11 at 01:59 AM ET
The Hurricanes had a good month in January, then the city of Raleigh shined during the All-Star weekend. Things were looking good for the team as they headed into a very tough month of February. First up on Tuesday night was the Northeast-leading Bruins, who had won the last two games between the teams.
It was a hard-fought game in front of an excellent weeknight crowd of 18,000. Unfortunately, Carolina was unable to earn even a consolation point. The Bruins skated out of there with a 3-2 regulation win. Meanwhile, the Thrashers were beaten by the Islanders, which left the back door open. They’ll have to wait until Thursday night for another chance to creep inside the playoff picture. The Thrashers will be at home against Calgary while the Hurricanes are in Toronto. Following that, Atlanta and Carolina meet up for a “four point game” in Raleigh on Saturday.
I don’t usually go to weeknight games anymore because the commute between Greensboro and Raleigh is just a bit too much, but I cashed in one of my vouchers. To be honest, part of my reason for choosing this game was that it was Brandon Sutter bobblehead night. I have to admit that this one is a pretty good likeness. The Jussi Jokinen bobble from earlier this season is also a reasonable facsimile. In years past, the bobbleheads have been really unbelievably bad. I have a Tim Gleason bobble from two seasons ago, and he’s wearing a helmet, so there’s no way to tell about his hair, but the bobbleGleason looks much more like Barack Obama than Tim Gleason. I’ll just leave it at that.
The Bruins had quite a few fans in the barn, as they always do when they’re in town. Bruins, Sabres, Penguins always represent really well. Not because people make a trip down here specially for the game, but because we have so many transplants here. Around these parts, a yankee comes to visit and a “damn yankee” comes to stay. The funny thing that’s specific to Boston-types is that they typically lose their Boston accent after they become a “damn yankee”, but whenever the Bruins are in town, they become the walking stereotype of the Boston sports fan. So that provides some comic relief.
Tim Thomas was amazing in this game. He was victimized by a crazy deflection on one of the two goals he gave up, and he stood tall in a shooting gallery in the third period, preserving the win for his team. It wasn’t, though, one of those games where he had to bail his team out. On the contrary, the Bruins were really good in front of him. They killed off three of four power play opportunities for the Canes, and they made it really difficult for the Hurricanes to get anything going. The Bs did a great job specifically in the neutral zone, denying Carolina easy entry into the Bruins zone. Even when Carolina worked its way in, the Bruins were cutting off scoring chances and denying shooting lanes.
Offensively, the Bruins imposed their will against the Canes and had a pretty easy go of it setting up shop deep in Carolina’s zone. Zdeno Chara was also able to fire away from the points, and he ended up assisting on two of the three Boston goals. Chara’s eight shots on goal were by far the most by any player. Carolina had two players (Brandon Sutter and defenseman Jamie McBain) with four shots each, while David Krejci of the Bruins had four.
Joe Corvo scored a goal for the Hurricanes, extending his points streak to six games. Erik Cole and Sergei Samsonov each had two assists.
Worth noting is that Boston had no power play time. The only penalty called against Carolina was a five minute major to defenseman Jay Harrison for fighting Milan Lucic. I can’t remember any game where the Hurricanes went penalty-free.
Carolina’s next game is scheduled for Thursday night, and they’re scheduled to fly to Toronto Wednesday afternoon. With a major winter storm headed for the Northeastern United States and Ontario, those travel plans may be delayed. The Leafs played and won at home Tuesday night and will be there waiting for the Hurricanes.
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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.