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Entries with the tag: florida panthers

Canes win, close in on seventh

On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes won a critical game against the Panthers, earning two standings points and maintaining their slim two point cushion over the ninth place Buffalo Sabres.  Carolina got a goal and an assist from Cory Stillman, and the game-winning goal from Eric Staal.  Cam Ward, who has started the last 23 games in a row, made 41 saves to earn his 27th win. 
Meanwhile, the Sabres defeated the Rangers 3-2 in regulation.  The game put Carolina fans in a tough spot because they needed both teams to lose the game in regulation.  Since this can’t happen, the next best thing was a regulation decision, and that’s what happened.  The bad part is that Carolina was unable to create distance between themselves and Buffalo, but the good bit is that the Canes gained ground on the seventh place Rangers.  With a game in hand, Carolina is now just one point behind the Blueshirts. 

The Sabres have two games in hand on Carolina as they head into Raleigh for an epic game on Thursday.  For both teams, two points is the only acceptable outcome.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, cory+stillman, eric+staal, florida+panthers

Bryan Allen bolsters Carolina’s blueline

On trading deadline day, the Carolina Hurricanes made a pretty big move that should make their defense much better, and they didn’t give up much to do it.  They traded the mercurial winger Sergei Samsonov to the Panthers for gritty stay-at-home defenseman Bryan Allen.  Allen had to wiave his no-trade clause to make the trade happen, and is under contract through the 2011-12 season with a cap hit of $2.9M.  Samsonov, on the other hand, is set to become an UFA this summer.

Samsonov has had a rough go this season and, with the addition of Cory Stillman, he became an expendable left wing. 

As fate has it, Carolina and Florida will play each other tomorrow night in Raleigh. 

We like this very much because it addresses an immediate need heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.  It also takes care of the “defensive defenseman” need for next season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+allen, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, sergei+samsonov

Canes eat Panthers’ lunch

On Friday night, the Hurricanes played the Panthers for the second time this week, and it had a familiar theme.  The Panthers got off to an early multi-goal lead, then watched it evaporate.  On Monday, the Canes stormed back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime and steal a point with an overtime loss.  On December 15, the Canes overcame a three-goal deficit against the Panthers to win in regulation, stealing two standings points.  Last night, they were behind 2-0 in the second, but scored five unanswered goals to run away with a win and two stolen points. 

Rookie Jeff Skinner was by far the best player on the ice, with two goals, an assist, and a couple of skating clinics.  Tuomo Ruutu had three assists and Erik Cole added two goals.  The JET line wasn’t together for the whole game, but they collectively had eight (4/4) points. 

Justin Peters got the nod in nets because Cam Ward came down with some “undisclosed” concern.  He probably would have started anyway, but now it looks like he could get two starts in a row.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner, justin+peters, tuomo+ruutu

Skinner and the Canes climb out of three goal deficit to earn win in Florida

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes found themselves in an early 3-0 hole against the Florida Panthers, but they found a way to climb all the way back for a 4-3 regulation win.  18-year old Jeff Skinner had a lot to do with it.  He was officially the second star of the game, but by my recollection, he was the best player on the ice. 

I was out, ostensibly working, but in reality drinking a limited batch Sierra Nevada beer, so I didn’t watch the game live.  I have a bad habit of checking the score, even when I’m DVRing the game, and I did that a lot early.  I saw that Carolina had given up three goals in the first six minutes, and I didn’t bother checking any more after that.  Much to my surprise, when I watched the DVR, I saw my boys climb the mountain and emerge with an improbable win.  It came on the shoulders of Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and backup netminder Justin Peters.

Cam Ward, who had been blazing hot in goal in his last ten starts, had a bad night.  In just 102 seconds, he allowed two goals on five shots and was replaced by Peters.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner, justin+peters, tuomo+ruutu

Canes bounce back; Checkers roll

On Friday night, the Hurricanes played one of their worst games of the season, but they used the back-to-back situation to their advantage and bounced back with a nice 3-2 win over Florida at home on Saturday night.  On Friday they allowed 50 shots and seven goals.  On Saturday, in front of a packed house, they cleaned that up quite a bit and allowed just 20 shots and two goals. 

It’s still early in the season, but there’s very much a flat line to the level of play.  It’s encouraging that they’ve bounced back from a bad game, but it’s not time to get happy about it until they can put together several good games in a row.  They won two in a row to start the season, and they’ve lost two in a row two times since then, but there haven’t been any other highs or lows.  They’ll have an opportunity to win their second in a row on Tuesday night when they play a struggling Oilers team at the RBC Center.  After that, the rest of the week will be difficult, with a home game on Thursday against the Flyers and a Saturday game at Montréal.

Once again, the JET line was terrific, and Jeff Skinner is making the front office look brilliant.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, erik+staal, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner

Canes lose wild one, will re-set with Panthers tonight (plus a farm report)

On Friday night, the Hurricanes lost a roller coaster ride of a game in the front end of a back-to-back, home-and-home with the Florida Panthers.  Last night’s result in Sunrise was a 7-4 loss that featured six goals and three lead changes in the first period alone.  The plan all along has been to start Cam Ward in goal for both games of the set, but he might get a rest tonight.  It’s not likely, but it’s possible. Last season, when he wasn’t healthy, he excelled in the back end of back-to-back games. 

Tonight, the teams will do it all again in the RBC Center, and hopefully the outcome will be better for Canes fans. 

I was in Charlotte, supporting the Checkers in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning).  Incidentally, they are in the same situation with a back-to-back, home-and-home set.  The Checkers are smack in the middle of a grueling five games in six nights set.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, florida+panthers

Canes already in (2009-10) season form.

Carolina played its first preseason game last night against the visiting Florida Panthers, and they looked a lot like the early season Canes from last season.  It’s only the preseason, so there’s plenty of time to work on things, but in the 4-1 loss, two things stand out.
First, the Hurricanes gave up goals in bunches.  That was the theme of the entire season last year, and in the first period on Tuesday night, they gave up three goals in 1:54.  When the Canes lost 14 games in a row in October and November, that was the common denominator. 
Second, Carolina was 0-5 on the power play.  This is completely unacceptable, and is also something that Canes fans remember from the first half of the 09-10 season. 

Carolina’s only goal of the game came shorthanded off the stick of Anton Babchuk.  The big Ukrainian is back for his third try with the Canes after spending a season with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.  He also had three blocked shots in the game and was one of only a few bright spots for Carolina.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, preseason

Canes bounce back against Cats

In the back end of a back-to-back home-and-home against Florida, the Hurricanes won 3-2.  They have now won five of the last six home games.  Four of their next five games will be in the RBC Center, and all will be against Eastern Conference teams.  This will give the boys a chance to start their long climb back into the playoff hunt.  At this point, though, they’d be happy just to get to 14th in the East.

Over the summer, the RBC Center got new endwalls and new glass.  The boards are much more lively than they ever were in the past, and this contributed to one goal for each team.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, pat+dwyer

Canes fall to Cats in front end of home-and-home

On Friday, while most of North Carolina was getting pounded with a rare autumn snowstorm, the Hurricanes were getting pounded down in Florida.  They lost 6-3 to the Panthers in the front end of a home-and-home that will resume tonight in Raleigh. 

Carolina struck first, but then gave up six unanswered goals including two in a a 37 second span in the third period. This is the theme of this miserable season.  Giving up goals in quick succession.  Although it was too little and too late, Scott Walker and Eric Staal scored late markers to make the game look closer than it really was. 

Carolina has been playing with half of their regular blueliners on the injury list.  The “Rat pack” has been great at times, but pretty bad at times.  The good news is that Tim Gleason is expected to return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two games with lingering problems from the Ovechkin puck to the face last Friday.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers

Canes get it going against Cats

On Friday night against the visiting Florida Panthers, the Hurricanes finally figured out how to get the puck in the net.  Seven different guys scored goals and twelve different guys had scoring points in a 7-2 romp of the Cats.  The Canes continued to have success in the black sweaters as they wore them for the first time this season. 
While the penalty killers got better, the power play units did not, and that continues to be a major area of concern.  The Canes were limited to three power play chances, and failed to score even in a minute of five-on-three.  On the other side, the Canes killed off all six shorthanded situations including 40 seconds of a two man disadvantage. 

Tom Kostopoulos scored the game’s first goal on a shorthanded situation after forcing a turnover in the Florida zone.  The unassisted goal came at 7:00 of the first.  After that, it was all gravy.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+alberts., carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, jussi+jokinen, tuomo+ruutu

Canes hope to get going against Florida

On Friday night at the RBC Center, the Hurricanes will host the Florida Panthers for the first time this season.  It’s sandwiched between two Tampa Bay games and is the front end of Carolina’s second back-to-back of the season. 

So far this season, Carolina has been unable to find the back of the net with a compass, a road map and a native guide.  In three games, they’ve scored a total of just three goals.  There are eight individual players throughout the league who have scored more goals this season than the entire Hurricanes roster.  Hopefully tonight’s the night when the Canes figure out how to score.

Tonight, Carolina will be donning their third unis, the all-black outfit for the first time this season.  They’re scheduled to wear them for 15 home games, and will probably wear them for at least one road game as well.  Last season, the Hurricanes were 10-5-2 whilst wearing the third sweater, including 10-5-0 at home.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers

Canes continue to roll:  Carolina 3-Florida 2

On Monday night, the Hurricanes traveled to Sunrise for a big game against division rival and playoff contender Florida.  Due to league regulations, the best look we had at it was the closed-circuit video feed from the arena coupled with the Panthers radio feed. The Canes needed just over a minute of overtime to take a 3-2 win and the extra standings point.  They now have 87 with seven games to play.  They’ve also jumped over Pittsburgh in the standings to grab hold of fifth place. 

I don’t know if it’s just when the Panthers play the Hurricanes, or if it’s all the time, but the announcers complained about the officiating a lot.  The South Florida newspapers always complain about the Hurricanes, claiming that they dive to get penalties.  In this game, they got the officiating crew they wanted, they got the penalty calls going their way, but they still couldn’t win the game.  Ray Whitney put on a one-man show in the overtime and sealed the deal with a little wrister from the left circle at 1:37 of the extra frame.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, playoff+picture.

The homestretch

I’ve just taken a couple of days away from the blog, as I am forced to do twice a year when work puts everything else on hold for an entire weekend.  Now, back to the hockey business.

Carolina has eleven games remaining and they are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot.  Both Florida and Buffalo, who are chasing, have games in hand and could easily catch the Canes.  There is a possibility that the Rangers or even Montréal could collapse down the stretch and fall out of the race.  However, Carolina should keep their focus on taking care of their own business. 

I figure they’ll need 95 points to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, which means they’ll have to earn 16 out of 22 points down the stretch.  7-2-2.  8-3-0.  6-1-4.  Whatever.  They may be able to do it with 93, but either way, it’s going to be tough.  They’re going to have to win, and it isn’t going to be easy.  Of their 11 remaining games, three are against the Devils, and two of those are in the swamp.  They will have home games against playoff teams Washington, Rangers and the smokin’ hot Penguins. Sure, they have two home games against the lowly Islanders, but that doesn’t do much to soften the blow of having to play three against the Devils.

Carolina is, without a doubt, going to have to “steal” some of their final games and they won’t be able to give any away.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, playoff+picture

Canes suffer big loss

Carolina returned from a successful road trip, took three days off, then looked lost on their first game back.  Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers blanked the Hurricanes 5-0 in a critical “four point game” between the division foes.  The Hurricanes are stuck on 59 points and are now three points out of eighth place. 

Carolina, who looked sluggish out of the gate, fell behind 2-0 in the first and never recovered.  On the other end, Tomas Vokoun was absolutely sensational, stopping all 42 shots that he saw.  There’s not much anybody can do other than tip their hat to Vokoun for a job very well done. 

Since Carolina suffered their first shutout loss of the season, the only remaining team who has not been shut out is the Detroit Red Wings.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina++hurricanes, florida+panthers, tomas+vokoun.

The Eastern Playoff bubble

As we hit the all-star break, it’s about time to start seriously thinking about the playoff picture.  In the East, it’s clear that Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Montréal, Rangers and Philadelphia will be there.  As of today, Buffalo and Carolina are in, while Florida and Pittsburgh are just barely on the outside of that playoff bubble. 

While Toronto and Tampa are less than ten points out of a spot as of today, I don’t think they’ll be contenders come April.  After viewing the remaining schedules for the four teams I figure to be the last contenders, I’m predicting that the final two spots will be held by Pittsburgh and Carolina.

I’ll start with Buffalo, currently in seventh, and work my way down to the tenth place Penguins.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, pittsburgh+penguins, playoff+picture

Corvo’s new sticks making all the difference

Earlier this week, Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo switched to a different kind of stick that is lighter but denser.  He scored the game-winning goal on Tuesday against the Canadiens with a howitzer from the point.  On Thursday, he scored an absolute highlight reel goal in overtime for his second straight game winner.  It’s gotta be the sticks.  He says he’s only got two more of the new sticks, but he’s just gonna have to order some more.

In Tuesday’s post-game teevee coverage, the Canes broadcasting team teased him about the new sticks, and he claimed that they gave him an additional 5mph on his slapshot.  But it wasn’t his patented slapshot that won the game on Thursday.  Frankly, he looked like Alexei Kovalev with the fancy maneuver.  First he eluded a defender at the top of the right circle, then dragged the puck from his forehand to the backhand and lifted a finesse backhanded wrist shot from the slot into an essentially empty cage.  Very impressive stuff from a rearguard.  I’ll post a clip when I can.  It’s a must-see goal. 

Justin Williams also tallied a goal for the Canes, his first of the season.  In seven games back after his Achilles tear, he has three (1/2) points and is really starting to look comfortable out there. 

With the win, Carolina lays claim to eighth place in the East.  More importantly, the pieces are really starting to fall into place.  Since bringing Chairman Mo back into the fold, the Canes have gone 3-1-3 and have now earned standings points in six consecutive games.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, joe+corvo

Hurricanes fall to Cats, but make history.

On Monday, the Hurricanes dropped a 3-2 decision to the Panthers, missing an opportunity to claim first place in the Southeast division.  Carolina showed no signs of life in the first period, and none to speak of at all on Sunday in a 5-2 loss to the Predators.  But it wasn’t all bad on Monday.

Carolina played a penalty-free game, which is the first time they’ve ever done that on the road.  In franchise history, the last time that was done was a 3-2 Whalers loss at the Islanders on January 26, 1980.  Yeah.  28 years ago.  The last time they did it at home was the heartbreaking 4-3 loss against Florida to end the 2007-08 season. 

The Canes fell behind 2-0 in the first, looking miserable in the process.  They were losing all the battles, not passing crisply, and they just looked lost or confused.  They came out of the gates on fire in the second, scoring two goals in the first three minutes to tie it up.  They were both grinding, hard-working goals.  Also, they were controlling the play.  Dominating the play.  In the first six minutes of the period, Carolina had nine shots compared to none by the Panthers. 

Late in the period, the Panthers went ahead for good on a tip-in by Gregory Campbell.  There was no scoring in the third, and the game ended 3-2.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers

Carolina opens with wild ride, win

Carolina opened their 11th season on Friday with a wild game against division foe Florida and a 6-4 win.  It wasn’t pretty, but two points in the standings look good any day of the week.
The Hurricanes stumbled out of the gates, giving up two goals in the first six minutes of the contest, but settled in nicely with goals from six different players and assists from seven different players.  At the end of it all, Tim Gleason earned the game’s first star with three assists.

Recap and notes after the jump

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Filed in: Carolina Hurricanes, NHL Hockey, game summary, | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, frantisek+kaberle, game+recap, joni+pitkanen, tim+gleason

Opening Night!

The unbearably long wait is finally over.  Tonight is opening night for Carolina and 12 other teams.  Thousands of hockey fans in Carolina will be cutting out of work early, or skipping work altogether.  The RBC Center parking lot will fill up early and the sweet sweet smell of propane and grilled meat will be thick.  Cold beer and loud music will be coming from every tailgate.  Friendships will be renewed and new ones will be forged.  The sun will be shining and the birds will be singing.  It’s hockey night in Carolina. 

Unfortunately, I won’t be there for opening night.  Instead, for the first time since 2001, I’ll be watching the home opener from RBH headquarters.

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Filed in: Carolina Hurricanes, NHL Hockey, | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, opening+night

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