Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: atlanta thrashers
The Globe and Mail is reporting that there is an agreement in principal, and an official announcement will be made on Tuesday “confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home”.
Other news sources are saying that nothing is final and that even if there is an agreement in principal, there are still formalities to tend to before any move takes place. This, though, seems like one of those situations where the writing is all over the walls.
When this becomes final, one of many questions is what will happen to the Southeast division. The team name and colors are also big questions, and there is certainly a lot of speculation and rumor about that.
Friday was a mixed bag of emotions for me. Due to a budget crunch, I lost my job of six years. That sort of takes all of the wind out of any sails. On Friday night, on the strength of the Two Finns and a Skinner line, the Hurricanes routed the Thrashers 6-1 to put themselves in eighth place and in control of their own destiny.
The Rangers take on the Devils at 12:30 today, and every Canes fan will be watching that game closely. If the Rangers lose, the Canes are in no matter what. Whatever the Rangers do, the Canes have to match or better. At this point, Carolina has control of the tiebreaker scenarios, and by 3:00, they’ll know what they need to do.
If it comes down to needing a win at 7:00 tonight, Carolina has the benefit of playing against a team who has nothing to play for. The Bolts have already locked up the fifth seed and nothing that happens today or tomorrow can change that. Will they give Dwayne Roloson the night off? Will they play their top lines less? If they don’t go 100%, there may end up being a conspiracy theory about the Bolts tanking the game to put another SE team in. None of that will matter if the Rangers lose.
Two shutout games have given Carolina control of its own playoff destiny with two games left to play. On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes surprisingly shut out the visiting Detroit Red Wings 3-0. On Thursday night, the Atlanta Thrashers shut out the New York Rangers by the same score.
The Rangers have 91 standings points—two better than Carolina, and have just one game to play. They must win their last game against the Devils on Saturday AND get help from Carolina to make the playoffs. Carolina, on the other hand, can control their own fate. If they win their last two games, they’re in.
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Tags: atlanta+thrashers, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, detroit+red+wings, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning
For the fourth time out of five meeting this season, the Hurricanes and Thrashers needed extra hockey to determine a winner. In every previous game, the Canes emerged victorious, and it was Erik Cole who scored the overtime winner twice. This time, the celebration was on the other side, as Tim Stapleton scored the overtime winner for Atlanta. It was the winger’s second goal of the season. The single standings point puts Carolina at 72 points, which ties them with Buffalo, but the Sabres have tiebreakers, so they get eighth place.
This was a game from which Carolina needed to emerge with two points. While there are still 15 games to play, these are the games that they have to win. No questions asked. You have to beat all of the teams below you in the standings and steal some points from the teams above you in the standings. Now they will have to make up for this loss by winning on the road against the Capitals on Friday.
With 21 games to play, I said that the Hurricanes were going to have to treat their remaining schedule as if it was three series of seven games and that they would have to “win” each of those series. After six games of the first “series”, their record is 3-2-1.
On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes will play the fourth of five consecutive road games. Today’s opponent is the Atlanta Thrashers, with whom they are in a three dog fight for the eighth and final playoff spot. These next two games (at Atlanta today and at New Jersey on Wednesday) are pretty much “must win” situations. Today’s game is more than that. They need to win in regulation. If they can engineer the two wins, they will have earned six of ten points on this road trip, and everyone will be happy with that. To be honest, people will accept five of ten, but that’s not going to be good enough for me.
The pessimist will say that Carolina has lost five of their last six games. That certainly is true, but a more positive outlook is that they have earned at least one standings point in three of their last four games. They fought hard on Saturday night to force overtime and steal a point from the Lightning, and they can be proud of that.
For at least today, the Canes have recalled Jerome Samson, who is third in the American Hockey League in goals and fourth in the league in scoring. In very limited NHL ice time last season, he didn’t have very much success, but I think he’ll make a difference this time. He’s slotted in at fourth line left wing along with fellow recall Zac Dalpe, who will center that line.
On Saturday night with an opportunity to climb into the playoff picture, the Hurricanes seized the moment. Sort of. While any win at all would do the trick, they would have preferred to have won in regulation against the Thrashers. It marked the third time this season that the teams have played each other, and each game has gone into extra time. Carolina has earned the extra point each time, but it has also allowed Atlanta to get the consolation point. This could come into play at the end of the season.
Both Cam Ward and Ondrej Pavelec were outstanding in nets. Both goalies faced 37 shots. Both made spectacular saves. Both played well enough to win.
Erik Cole’s coast-to-coast play was capped by a wrister from the right circle to win the game for the Canes at 2:48 of overtime. It was Cole who also scored an overtime winner the last time the teams met, and the final score was the same—4-3. Brandon Sutter had a huge goal and a really good night in the faceoff circle. After the jump, I’ll detail the reasons that I had him as my first star. Jiri Tlusty also had a big goal and the Captain scored his 26th of the season to start things off for the Canes.
With the Circus in town, the Hurricanes will now embark on a five game road trip that begins and ends in New Jersey. They’ll hope for six out of ten points on the trip, but will settle for five.
Tonight, the Thrashers come to Raleigh for one of those “four point” games. The winner will be in the playoff picture, the loser out. If Carolina can manage a regulation win, they will be one point ahead of the Thrash. An overtime or shootout Canes win would leave the teams tied on points, but Carolina holds tiebreakers and would move into the eighth spot. Any loss, whether in regulation or overtime, would be unacceptable.
After Thursday’s horrible performance against Toronto, coach Paul Maurice canceled practice to give the boys some time to think about things. Rookie Jeff Skinner didn’t accept this and asked for a net to be brought out. He held his own practice. This might not have been much more than skating and shooting, but it speaks volumes about his character. It’s easy for an 18-year old kid to take the day off and play video games or whatever, but he’s more than just some 18-year old kid. He will, some day, wear a letter on the front of his sweater.
As ugly as Thursday’s shutout loss to the Leafs was, Canes fans should expect a much better performance tonight. The Hurricanes should be angry, hungry and something else that ends in -gry.
On Monday night, the Hurricanes won a completely wild 6-4 game over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the 1000th win in the history of the Whaler/Canes history and the 466th since moving to North Carolina. More importantly, the Hurricanes move within one point of eighth place Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East. Carolina holds two games in hand on the Thrashers, who are on a big downswing.
I think the officiating left a lot to be desired on both sides of the ice, as there were a lot of strange calls and no-calls. There were certainly some iffy calls that went against the Leafs, but Jeff Skinner had a clear goal waved off and Tim Gleason was tossed from the game for returning punches thrown by Nikolai Kulemin at 20:00 of the first period.
This game had strange goals, a shorthanded goal, lots of power play chances, a couple of scrums, a bit of bad blood and a goal explosion in the third frame. Carolina did what they needed to do and have set themselves up for a chance to leapfrog the Thrashers into the playoff picture on Wednesday night.
For the second night in a row, the Hurricanes were on the road against a Southeast division opponent. For the second night in a row, they found themselves down by two goals after two periods. Fortunately, for the second night in a row, they climbed all the way back and walked out with a win. Now, for the first time all season, they have won three games in a row, and they capped off a five game road trip by earning seven of ten standings points.
One night after failing to show up, Cam Ward had a pretty remarkable night in nets. He had 45 saves in a shooting gallery and looked great doing it. He was especially sharp in the waning moments of regulation. The Atlanta media couldn’t see fit to award him with one of the stars of the game, but it’s no doubt that he was the best Hurricane player.
Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal scored third period goals to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov scored in the shootout to secure the two points.
On Monday night, Cam Ward got his first start in nets for the Canes in nearly two months. He showed no signs of rustiness, beating a desperate Thrashers team 4-1. Jussi Jokinen scored twice for the Canes while Brandon Sutter and Erik Cole each added one.
This was one of the super-rare games that neither team televised, so it wasn’t even on Center Ice. Added to that, somebody at the Hurricanes flagship radio station fell asleep at the webcast switch, and we lost the feed after the first period. Canes fans outside of Raleigh were almost completely in the dark. Like a lot of others, I had to rely on NHL.com’s “live scoreboard”, which is, if I’m fair, a lot better than nothing.
The win puts another breath into Carolina’s slim playoff hopes, and it may have ruined Atlanta’s.
Back in early October, if someone had told me that the Hurricanes wouldn’t pitch a shutout until March 7, I would have laughed. If someone had told me that Manny Legace would be the one to do it, I would have hit them. Thanks to poor play early in the season, a bout of injuries to Cam Ward and a dismissal of Michael Leighton, Manny Legace has pretty much found himself in the starting goalie’s chair in Carolina. And he got the team’s first shutout of the season on Sunday, a 4-0 win over the Thrashers.
On Thursday, Legace defeated the Senators 4-1, and this had quite a bit of significance for him. It was the first time he’d ever defeated the Senators and it means that he has at least one victory against all 30 active teams.
I’ve said a number of times, and I’ll say again: I hope some other team is taking note and I really hope that Manny gets a contract when he becomes a free agent on July 1. He deserves it very much, but it looks like the Canes won’t have any room for him on the big roster. Justin Peters has pretty much played himself into a situation where it’s his position (backup to Cam) to lose. He’s much younger and much cheaper. It sucks for Manny, but this team needs to get younger.
Peters, who has played very well in four starts, got his first NHL loss on Saturday, a 4-1 loss at Florida.
Carolina made a captaincy change on Wednesday, removing the -in waiting part of Eric Staal’s title and officially giving him the C. On Thursday, things went very well for him in his first game as the Cap. He scored a goal in each period. Carolina beat the Thrashers 5-2, and Staal’s empty netter in the closing minute capped off his tenth career hat trick.
His big night also makes him one of the hottest players of late. In his last ten games, he’s accrued 17 (7/10) points. Now that he’s got 13 goals, it seems like he has a chance to reach the 30 goal plateau for the fifth consecutive season.
Staal has some detractors, but I love the captaincy shift and I really like him as a player. I don’t understand how fans can find much to dislike about a guy who has played at exactly a point-a-night for the last five seasons. Sure, he’s streaky. Sure, he always starts slow. Sure, his defensive skills are still a work in progress. He’s still a premier player who is really good in the clutch. And now that he’s officially the captain, I think we’ll see more of that “put the team on his shoulder and take over the game” stuff. I know it’s just one game, but he sure did that tonight.
Carolina held a 4-1 lead entering the third period against the Thrashers on Friday night. I thought to myself, “even these Canes can’t screw this up”. I thought wrong. Two goals in 49 seconds (for the 12th time this season) made it uncomfortably close. At that point, the whole thing blew up. Carolina lost the confidence they had, the defensemen went AWOL and the whole thing went from sweet to bitter almost instantly. In the end, it was Atlanta who iced it with an empty net goal to end an extraordinarily improbable comeback and a 6-4 win for the Thrash. What seemed like two sure points became nothing.
By now, I’ve been to a couple hundred Hurricanes games, and I’ve been a season ticket holder in some capacity for seven seasons now. I’ve supported them through the leanest of the lean seasons and obviously the best season in 2005-06. I have never seen anything like the total collapse that I witnessed tonight. I don’t even know what to say.
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes squandered a two-goal third period lead and ended up losing 5-3 to the Thrashers. Carolina had already gotten some outside help when Florida and Buffalo both lost, but they missed the golden chance to climb into the playoff bubble by giving up four third period goals.
Now, the Canes are faced with a tough task. Starting Tuesday, they will play seven games in twelve days. Five of the games will be on the road. Five is also the number of playoff teams included in that stretch. It will be imperative that the Canes get no less than nine of the 14 points. One of the main obstacles to that endeavor is that two of those games are against the division leading red-hot Capitals, and both of those games are on the road. They’ve only lost seven home games. Another one of those road games is against the Blackhawks, who are currently fourth in the West and have only lost five regulation games at home. The flip side of that is that they’ve also lost six home games in overtime.
After this important stretch, the canes will have eight of their final eleven at home. Seven of the final eleven are presently in the playoffs. It’s not going to be easy.
Carolina will visit Atlanta tonight and have an excellent chance to move inside the playoff bubble. The Panthers have already lost today, which means that Carolina can jump inside the bubble with a win regardless of what Buffalo does on Long Island.
Brandon Sutter, who scored three goals during a two-game “conditioning stint” with Albany was supposed to be recalled for tonight’s game, but inclement weather caused his flight to be canceled. This means he’ll stay with the Rats for their first home game since the bus crash.
The Hurricanes will have a chance to jump as high as sixth place tonight, so Caniacs will do a lot of channel changing during teevee timeouts. The important games are Buffalo @ Islanders and Colorado @ Rangers.
Sergei Samsonov, who is dealing with an “upper body” injury will be a game-time decision for the second straight game.
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes again had a “must win” game at home against the hapless Thrashers. With goals by Matt Cullen and Ray Whitney and a shutout by Cam Ward, they got the job done. The 2-0 win was the third shutout of the season for Ward and the 101st win of his career.
I’ve seriously got to tip my hat to Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen. Without his brilliant play, it could have easily been 8-0.
Cam Ward was sharp in the shutout, but he only faced 19 shots. Lehtonen faced more than that in the first period alone.
On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes defeated the visiting Thrashers 3-1 to move into sole possession of the #8 spot in the East. Cam Ward had a sleepy game in net with some solid defense in front of him and a huge game from the top line. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense did an excellent job of shutting down Atlanta’s top line. Ilya Kovalchuk was able to break a nine game goal drought, but that was it. Todd White and Bryan Little each assisted on the goal, but both were held to zero shots on goal.
Sergei Samsonov potted two hard-working goals while Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each had a single assist. To finish it off, Joe Corvo scored a blistering power play goal as some third period insurance.
This closes the 2008 portion of the 08/09 season. I vowed to withhold judgment on Paul Maurice: redux until the team has played 20 or so games under him, and I intend to keep that promise. I’m beginning to think that it’s not too soon at all, but I’ll still wait.
On Friday, the Hurricanes went down to “Blueland” and were beaten by Atlanta 3-2. The Hurricanes were plagued by some of the same things that hurt them in their previous two embarrassments, but they managed to make this one look better.
The defense really hurt the Hurricanes in this game. Perhaps it’s safe to say that the D lost the game for the Canes.
On Sunday, the Thrashers came to Raleigh and completely embarrassed the home team in a 5-2 romp.
The scoreless first period was the most boring hockey I’ve watched in quite some time. The game came alive in the second period, but Carolina was only there for about five minutes. Ray Whitney scored a nifty breakaway goal at 5:50 to give the Canes a 2-1 lead, but it was a steep downhill road after that. Offensively, defensively, and most importantly, in net.
Cam Ward has been shaky for most of this young season, and it was certainly no different against Atlanta. Not to discredit the Thrashers, but Ward had a very manageable puck bounce off his chest and roll down his back. He had horrible rebound control, often sending stuff back into the slot instead of covering or sending to the corner. He let in one soft goal. Sure the defense let him down once, but he wasn’t anywhere near the top of his game. He only faced 22 shots and let five of them in. That makes for an abysmal 0.773 save %. I think he’ll sit on Wednesday against the Caps.
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.