Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 01/02/10 at 07:02 PM ET
The Rangers and Hurricanes played for the third time this season on Saturday afternoon. Both previous meetings were in Raleigh, both were low-scoring, the Canes scored first in both, and the Rangers won Both. 3-1 on December 21, 2-1 on December 31. This game almost followed the same formula as the Canes scored first, and it was low scoring. Carolina emerged with the 2-1 win in their first game of the 2010 portion of the schedule.
Carolina has earned five of eight available points in their last four games, and have won two straight road games. Still, though, they’ve only won three road games all season. It’s silly to complain after a win, but Carolina only managed to get 19 shots on goal, and that’s not going to be enough to win the game most nights. They will need to continue working on shooting the puck and getting it through the defense.
Both goaltenders were great, but only one could win, and it was Cam Ward.
After a scoreless first period, Tom “Greek Lightning” Kostopoulos put the Canes on the board very late in the second. His shot from between the hashmarks beat King Henrik at 19:0 of the middle frame. Jiří Tlustý and Pat Dwyer got the assists. For each player, it was the first assist of the season. That third line was supposed to have Zach Boychuk on the right wing and be nicknamed “The Rat Line”, but Boychuk was put on the fourth line instead. This was Kostopoulos’ third goal of the season.
Marian Gaborik pitchforked a backhand shot into the net at 9:08 of the third for his 27th marker of the season. That ties him with Ovechkin for the league lead. In the three games between the Rangers and Canes this season, Gaborik has two goals and has assisted on three of the other four. Brandon Dubinsky and Erik Christensen assisted.
This game was a bit uncharacteristic for these teams in that there were very few penalties. Both teams had just eight minutes of penalties, and both penalty kills were perfect.
Ray Whitney was in the right place, right time at 3:45 of the bonus frame to give the Canes their first overtime win of the season. Matt Cullen’s pass from behind the net went off Mike Del Zotto’s skate and to Whitney in the low slot. He mishandled it a bit on his forehand, but somehow got a backhand shot past Lundqvist for the win. Cullen and Joni Pitkänen had the assists.
Since Carolina has four full days off before playing in Nashville on Thursday, it’s almost certain that Tlustý and Boychuk will be reassigned to Albany.
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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.