Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/09/08 at 01:19 PM ET
On Sunday, the Atlanta Thrashers will visit Raleigh for the first of six meetings between the two teams this season. This is the second of five consecutive Sunday home games for the Hurricanes. The 3:00 game will fall into the untelevised abyss, as neither the Hurricanes nor the Thrashers network is covering this one.
Last season, the Hurricanes were 6-1-1 against the Thrashers, and have won the last six games in a row.
Atlanta got off to a slow start this season, but they are on a three game winning streak during which they have scored 14 goals.
Carolina’s Captain-in-waiting Eric Staal was very good against this division foe last season, scoring 16 (7/9) points in the eight games. Hopefully, this will be just what the doctor ordered for him. To say he’s been on the schneid would be an understatement. He has just nine (5/4) points through 14 games, which is a pace of just 53 points for the season. He’s had eight games without a scoring point, including the last three in a row.
On that same sad 53 point pace is captain Rod Brind’Amour, who has only registered four goals and five assists so far. He has had seven games without a scoring point.
On the other hand, Carolina has had bountiful production from the back end. Joe Corvo and Dennis Seidenberg both found the net against Ottawa, and are each on pace for 40+ points.
I still can’t figure out what’s going on with Sergei Samsonov. He has loads of detractors around the league who suspect that he was just gliding around collecting a paycheck in Montréal and Chicago and that his offensive explosion here last season was a product of it being his “contract year”. Those same people would say that he has his three year contract and has gone back into “collecting a paycheck” mode. I seriously don’t think that’s the case. He’s looked pretty good, but he only has two assists thus far.
Is it too much to ask for Brind’Amour, Staal and Samsonov to ALL come off the schneid?
Meanwhile, I wouldn’t say the Canes are in full-on “goalie controversy” mode just yet, but Michael Leighton has certainly risen to the occasion when he’s been called upon. He’s made a very good case for being more than the #2 goalie. He hasn’t made consecutive starts since October 19th and 23rd against Anaheim and Pittsburgh, respectively, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him back in nets
On the other end, Kari Lehtonen has been battling the flu for a week while Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec have been sharing the netminding duties.
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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.