Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Entries with the tag: jeff skinner

Canes use special teams to beat Sabres

On Friday night, the Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in the home opener at First Niagara Center.  They were poorly disciplined, but the special teams stood tall.  They got shorthanded goals from alternate captain Brandon Sutter and newcomer Tim Brent.  Defenseman Jay Harrison also scored a goal that was technically even strength, but it happened just as a penalty to Tyler Myers was elapsing.  Initially it was declared a power play goal, but after a while, the ruling was changed and it was deemed even strength.  Jeff Skinner added a power play goal late in the third. 

Carolina had several excellent short-handed scoring chances in the game.  In addition to the two shorthanded goals, Sutter hit a post, Eric Staal was stopped on a breakaway, and Ryan Miller made a couple of really good saves to keep his team in the game, even when they had a manpower advantage.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sutter, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, jay+harrison, jeff+skinner, tim+brent

Canes steal a point from Caps

On Saturday, the Hurricanes had a much better showing than they did on Friday.  Against the defending Southeast Division champion Capitals, they forced overtime to earn a standings point.

For the second game in as many days, the Hurricanes scored the first goal, but couldn’t put one in the “win” column.  For the second game in as many days, Jussi Jokinen took a penalty that ended up being really costly.  Apart from that, it was a very different game from the one against the Lightning. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+boucher, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, justin+faulk, tomas+kaberle, washington+capitals

New faces, but same old Canes

The Hurricanes made some personnel changes on the bench and on the ice over the summer.  There are a lot of new guys, but the result of the opening night game was pretty much the same as a lot of games from the last two seasons.  They worked hard and looked great in the first period.  They lost the edge in the second, and then they just got outworked in the third.  Penalties, poor special teams play and lack of focus all added up, and the sum was a 5-1 loss at the hands of Tampa.

Jeff Skinner scored the Canes’ only goal at 8:07 of the first and was really the best thing the Canes had.  He and defenseman Joni Pitkanen were good.  Justin Faulk was good.  Everyone else was either invisible or was noticed for the wrong reasons. 

After Martin St. Louis tied the game early in the second, the Canes still had plenty of chances to pull ahead in the middle frame.  Late in the period, when it looked like it would be a great game, the wheels fell off for Carolina.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, justin+faulk, paul+maurice, tampa+bay+lightning

Skinner leading the way at the Worlds

While most of the hockey world is focusing its attention on the Stanley Cup playoffs, the preliminary rounds of the 2011 IIHF World Championships are underway in Slovakia.  Two-thirds of the way through round robin pool play, Germany is the surprise of the tournament.  They have taken control of group A with surprising wins over Russia and Slovakia.  The rest of the tournament has gone pretty much as anyone would expect.  Canada and Switzerland are first and second in group B, USA and Sweden are first and second in group C, Czech and Finland are first and second from group D.

While some of the world’s best players are competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup, some are injured and some simply opted not to play in this tournament, there’s still plenty of highly skilled players representing their countries.  Another surprise, two games in, is that Carolina’s Jeff Skinner is leading the entire tournament in scoring.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: canada, iihf+world+championships, jeff+skinner

Bad day / good day

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.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, new+york+rangers, playoffs

Two shutouts put Carolina in control of their own destiny

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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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, detroit+red+wings, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Skinner, McBain pummel Habs

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes got a two huge standings points, and one of their few lopsided victories on the season.  Rookie forward Jeff Skinner and rookie defenseman Jamie McBain each chipped in two goals to lead the way in a 6-2 pounding of the visiting Canadiens.  Joni Pitkanen and Cory Stillman also scored for the Canes. 

Meanwhile, at the HSBC Arena, the Sabres got a 1-0 shutout over the Rangers.  This means that Carolina is still three points behind the Sabres (and now also three points behind the Rangers) with just five games to play.  The Sabres have a slightly tougher road to hoe down the stretch, but the Canes can only concern themselves with their own games.  The most important of the five remaining games is the home game against the Sabres on Sunday.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, jamie+mcbain, jeff+skinner, montreal+canadiens

Carolina’s playoff hopes buoyed

On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes got a boost to their slim playoff hopes, but there is an asterisk.  The Sabres lost 4-3 in regulation to the Maple Leafs and the Hurricanes grabbed a huge 3-2 win on the road at Washington.  This two-point gain puts Carolina just three points back of the Sabres, and Sunday’s showdown looks really huge right now.  The only unfortunate thing is that Carolina’s win came via the shootout.  Carolina has two fewer ROW wins than Buffalo, so as of right now, a potential standings tiebreaker would go to the Sabres. 

Jussi Jokinen scored a power play marker in the second and Jeff Skinner scored a huge goal early in the third.  In the shootout, Skinner scored in the top of the first.  The Caps missed their first two shots, then Tuomo Ruutu iced it for the Canes with a successful shot in the top of the third. 

Cam Ward made 38 saves to give him 2006 saves on the season.  He’s just the sixth goaltender since the lockout to record more than 2000 saves in a single season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, playoffs, washington+capitals

LaRose, Ward pace Canes to big win

At this point in the season, the Hurricanes have to view every game as a “must win” and they know that they are also going to need some outside help to get into the playoffs.  They entered play Tuesday night three points behind the eighth place Sabres.  The Canes held up their end of the deal with a 4-3 win over the visiting Senators. 

Cam Ward made 36 saves and Chad Sharpie LaRose had two goals to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 third period lead.  The Sens scored a late goal to make it a one-goal game, then they prevented Sharpie from completing the hat trick.  The regulation win temporarily put the Canes just one point back of the Sabres, who were playing in Montréal, but the Canadiens didn’t do Carolina any favours.  Buffalo ended up winning 2-0, maintaining their three point lead over Carolina. 

Carolina will be off until Friday, when they will play a back-to-back home-and-home with Tampa.  Buffalo’s schedule will be much lighter: a Friday/Saturday home set against Florida and New Jersey.  In order to stay in contention, Carolina will have to win at least one of those Tampa games, and obviously they prefer to win both.  New Jersey has run out of luck, out of steam and out of time.  They’re not going to roll over for Buffalo, but they now know that their miraculous run is over and that they’re not going to make the playoffs.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, jeff+skinner, ottawa+senators

Canes win in OT, will watch Buffalo

On Friday night, the Hurricanes had to come from behind to beat the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  That gives them 76 standings points, and crucially, 29 “Regulation or Overtime Wins”.  They are now tied with Buffalo in standings points and ROW, but the Sabres have two games in hand.  Carolina is idle until Tuesday, when they will host the last place Senators.  This weekend, the Sabres have home games against Atlanta and Nashville.  The Canes players and fans are hoping that the Sabres lose both games in regulation.  Carolina, by virtue of earning more points versus the Sabres (four) than the Sabres have earned against the Canes (three) would have the tiebreaker and would jump back into eighth place. 

After the Senators game, the Canes have a back-to-back home-and-home with the Lightning, a road game in DC and a home game against the Habs.  During that same stretch,the Sabres will play at Montréal, back-to-back home games against Florida and New Jersey and finally at Toronto.  That stretch certainly plays in the Sabres favor, so the Canes will have to steal some points.

Once again, Cam Ward was great, and for the first time in a while, the Hurricanes showed some fight.  When they were pushed against the ropes, down a goal late in the third, they answered back, forced overtime, and won it the way they needed to—during timed play.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, joni+pitkanen, new+york+islanders

Brind’Amour night a big success

On Friday night, the Hurricanes sent Rod Brind’Amour’s sweater to the rafters, where it will hang alongside Ron Francis and Glen Wesley.  New NHL regulations dictate that sweater retirement ceremonies must take place before the pre-game skate, and the pre-game skate can be no more than 30 minutes before puck drop.  So the ceremony was at 7:00 and the game at 8:00.

The ceremony was excellent and Roddy handled it very well.  He doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, but he handled himself and the spotlight quite well.  During the pre-game skate, every player from both teams wore special sweaters with Brind’Amour’s name and number.  It was appropriate since Brindy played all but a handful of games for the two franchises.  Still, I thought it was a display of tremendous class from the Flyers.

Carolina had great jump coming out of the gates, and they got off to an early 2-0 lead.  Philly pushed back, killed a ton of penalties, climbed back in it and got an equalizing goal late in the third.  It looked like the game was headed to overtime, but Erik Cole brought the over-capacity crowd to its feet with his second game-winning goal in the last three games.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, erik+cole, jeff+skinner, philadelphia+flyers, rod+brind'amour

Despite loss, Jeff Skinner owns the Devils

Carolina’s rookie Jeff Skinner scored two goals against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in a 3-2 overtime loss.  It’s the second time this season that Skinner has struck twice against the Devils, and if he had his drothers, he’d play against the Devils every single night.  Twice he’s played against them, and twice he’s scored two goals. 
Eric Staal has played 26 regular season games against the Devils and he has only scored four times against them.  Skinner needed only two games to reach that mark. 
He’ll only get to see them two more times this season including once next Wednesday at the Rock.

While Carolina emerged with one standings point to start their five game road trip, this is a disappointment.  This was a game that the Hurricanes wanted to and should have won.  They were hoping for six points on this trip, and that was assuming that two would be taken on Tuesday. 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, new+jersey+devils

Huge game for Canes playoff hopes tonight

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.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner

Hurricanes close out hot January with another win

On Wednesday, Carolina played their final game before the All-Star break and got a much needed 4-2 win over the Islanders behind two Eric Staal goals.  Unfortunately, the Thrashers were simultaneously shutting out the Capitals 1-0, preserving their wafer-thin lead over the Canes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. 

Carolina went 8-4-2 in January and are still out of the playoff picture, but they’re just one point out and hold two games in hand against the Thrashers. 

After the break, Carolina has a tough road, as nine of 13 games in February are against teams currently in the playoff picture.  Meanwhile, just one of Atlanta’s 11 February opponents is currently in the playoffs.  Atlanta and Carolina face each other twice in what will be a very important month.

For now, Carolina can be happy with the way they played in January and specifically the hot play of Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner.  Both will be featured players in this weekend’s ASG festivities.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all-star, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, new+york+islanders

1000 wins for the Whaler/Canes

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.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, toronto+maple+leafs

Canes win a crazy game, keep streak going

On Tuesday, the Hurricanes won their third straight game and extended their streak to eight games in which they’ve earned at least one standings point.  It wasn’t a pretty game, and they needed the shootout to earn the extra point, winning 6-5 against the Flames.  At one point late in the second, the Canes had a three goal lead, but the pesky Flames fought back and nearly stole the game in regulation.  Although it was nerve-wracking, the Canes got the two points and there’s no harm in giving away one point across conference lines. 

Jussi Jokinen, who missed six games with a “lower body concern” returned to the lineup with a bang: he scored two goals and assisted on another.  Cam Ward was named to the All-Star roster Tuesday morning, and also returned to the lineup after backing up Justin Peters two games in a row.  He didn’t put up All-Star numbers, but he picked up the win, and that’s what matters the most. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calgary+flames, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, jerome+iginla, jussi+jokinen

Peters, Canes win again

On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes won their second straight game, extending their points streak to seven games.  Since Boxing Day, they have earned 12 of 14 points and have kept themselves in position to climb inside the playoff picture.

Since Cam Ward is nursing a minor undisclosed injury, Justin Peters got his second start in a row, and although it was closer than it should have been, he got the two points and the Hurricanes are looking good as they hit the halfway mark of the season.

Although the JET line wasn’t paired togethter today, they were again the stars.  Tuomo Ruutu had a goal and an assist, rookie Jeff Skinner got his 14th of the season, and Erik Cole notched the overtime game winner.  Cole also was at the center of a controversial play that could have been a goal, but instead he was penalized for interfering with a Thrashers defenseman.

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

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

If Refs make it to Raleigh, Canes/Caps is on

Like most of the eastern United States, Raleigh was hit with a snowstorm on Christmas Day.  The Hurricanes canceled a season ticket holder event.  The game for tonight—against the Capitals, is on.  Maybe.
The Hurricanes are ready to go.  The Capitals are in town and ready to go.  According to twitter feeds, they’re still waiting on the referees to show up.  And that could be tricky.  Hundreds of flights have been delayed in New York, Washington, Baltimore, etc.  I read earlier today that Delta was canceling more than 500 flights and US Air was canceling more than 300.  Between the delays, the cancellations, the last minute changes, and the frustration of travel during the holiday, it could spell trouble.

For now, the plan is to play the game.  No word on the arrival of the officials.

Whenever the game is played, Carolina will have a slightly different look.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jamie+mcbain, jeff+skinner, paul+maurice, washington+capitals

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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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner, justin+peters, tuomo+ruutu

The Kids are Alright

On Friday night, the Hurricanes hosted the Avalanche for the only meeting of the teams this season, and on the strength of play from the kids, Carolina emerged with a 2-1 overtime win.  18-year old Jeff Skinner showed off some fancy skills when he scored his eighth goal of the season.  21-year old Brandon Sutter potted his fifth just a minute and change into overtime to help the Canes snap a home losing streak that had reached three games.  Cam Ward also made 34 saves in what turned out to be a marvelous goaltenders’ duel with Craig Anderson.

Other things went right for the Canes, including an amazing performance by the penalty killers and some strong play be the defense.  It wasn’t the prettiest game, but in the end Carolina got two points out of it.  That’s all that really matters.  There’s no column in the standings for “ugly win” or “tough loss”.

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  Tags: brandon+sutter, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, colorado+avalanche, jeff+skinner

Ward, Canes shut out Bs

On Black Friday, the Hurricanes played a matinee in Boston and came out of there with a very impressive win.  It was arguably their best performance of the season and their first shutout.  The 3-0 win snaps a three-game winless streak.  It was Cam Ward rather than the glowing hot Tim Thomas who stopped 37 shots to post a shutout. 
Rookie Jeff Skinner led the way for the Canes with a goal and an assist.  Tuomo Ruutu also had a goal and an assist.  Jussi Jokinen scored the other goal.  All three goals were power play markers as Carolina was a perfect three-for-three with the man advantage. 
All of this against the league’s best penalty kill and the league’s best goaltender.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner

Canes rout Oil as Skinner piles up points

On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes pummeled the visiting Edmonton Oilers to the tune of 7-1.  A lot went right for the home team, including great success at the power play, a 50% success rate in the faceoff circle (!), a four point night from captain Eric Staal and a three point night from rookie sensation Jeff Skinner.  However, the Hurricanes should be careful not to break their collective arm patting themselves on the back.  The Oilers are a bad team who got off to a really bad start and never recovered.  Carolina scored just 26 seconds into the game, and it was all downhill from there.

Oilers netminder Nikolai Khabibulin allowed four goals on eight shots in just 7:19 of ice time.  It was probably the second worst night of the calendar year for him.  His dreadful save percentage of .500 was only marginally higher than ...  oh never mind. 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, edmonton+oilers, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, joe+corvo, nikolai+khabibulin

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

Carolina finally scores at home.  A lot

Yes, friends.  The goal horn at the RBC Center does work. 

The Hurricanes’ last two home games were against the red hot keepers Brent Johnson and Michal Neuvirth.  Tonight, they had the prvilege of playing against the struggling Rick DiPietro of the Islanders.  On Saturday, he gave up six goals on 29 shots against the Flyers.  On Wednesday, he was even worse against Carolina, giving up seven goals on 32 shots.  This was just the elixir the Canes needed, as they cured their home woes with a decisive 7-2 win.

Rookie Jeff Skinner was one of six goal scorers for the Canes, and he added one assist.  24-year old rookie Jon Matsumoto, playing in just his second NHL game, scored his first two goals.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, new+york+islanders, rick+dipietro, sergei+samsonov

Skinner has big night in Canes win

On Friday night, the Hurricanes traveled to Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers on the front end of a back-to-back set.  18-year old Jeff Skinner, who was Carolina’s first round pick in this summer’s draft with the seventh overall pick, had a massive night for the visiting team.  He had two goals and an assist, including a real highlight reel play for his second of the game and third of the season.
All four goals came from the second line of Skinner/Tuomo Ruutu/Erik Cole, and that trio also added four of the seven assists.  With play like that, they might become the top line.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, jeff+skinner, new+york+rangers, tuomo+ruutu

Canes fall in LA

On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes headed into Los Angeles with a lot of good feelings.  Feeding off the big win in San Jose, they kept the forward lines intact.  The only change to the lineup was that Cam Ward got the night off and his backup Justin Peters got his first start of the season.  He played well, but in the end, the Kings got the 4-3 win.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, los+angeles+kings

Skinner, Skinner, Chicken dinner

On Friday, one day after Brandon Sutter, the young alternate captain of the Carolina Hurricanes was the big star, youth was again the star.  This time it was in the person of 2010 first round pick (seventh overall) Jeff Skinner.  His heroics won’t be a part of the official stats, but his game deciding goal in the shootout on Friday was a thing of beauty.  This is why he was drafted in the first round, and this is why he has made the big team.  Pure talent. 
Here’s a clip of the shootout goal taken from the stands in Hartwell Arena:

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, minnesota+wild

Canes drop KHL exhibition

On Monday, the Hurricanes played their final preseason game, an exhibition against SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.  The Russian team won 5-3 in a game that has been described as “chippy”, “dirty” and “a joke”.  For safety reasons, coach Paul Maurice had to bench Canes captain Eric Staal in the third period.  Cam Ward was also taken out of the game for precautionary reasons. 

There was a series of incidents in the middle stanza where the SKA players were apparently targeting Staal.  After a few knee-on-knee occurrences, Tim Gleason took matters into his own hands and pummeled Alexei Petrov.  This resulted in ejections for both players.  Later in the game, Jay Harrison was also ejected for the same.  I didn’t watch the game, but I’ve been told by decidedly biased Canes fans that the officiating was lax and the SKA players were blatantly attempting to injure Carolina’s star players.

It was a game with a lot of promise for cross-league promotion.  It could have set the table for games like this to be annual.  After this, though, there’s little chance that the Hurricanes or any NHL team will want to schedule this type of exhibition.  Too much risk and not enough reward.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, ska+st.+petersburg

Canes trim roster to 26

The Hurricanes made 13 roster cuts on Saturday before the preseason game against Atlanta, and they made five more cuts this morning, trimming the roster down to 26.

The latest cuts are forwards Jon Matsumoto, Riley Nash, Jerome Samson and Jared Staal.  Defenseman Bryan Rodney was also cut.  All five are assigned to Charlotte, and their preseason camp will open on Monday.

Samson and Rodney gained some NHL experience last season and will be among the regular call-ups this season. 

For now it looks like Jeff Skinner will have an NHL roster spot.  Last cuts should be made on Friday before the team leaves for Europe.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner

Ward shuts out Thrashers, Samsonov hospitalized

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes won their preseason game against the Thrashers 1-0.  Jeff Skinner had the game’s only goal at 1:17 of the third period.  Cam Ward had a 32-save shutout, but the thing that the Canes should be concerned about is the health of their winger Sergei Samsonov.

At 1:55 of the third, Samsonov went head-first into the endboards after being tripped by Dustin Byfuglien.  My only frame of reference is the Hurricanes radio, and what they gave us is that the Russian sniper lay face first on the ice for several minutes.  Medical staff from both teams assisted, he was removed from the ice on a stretcher and he was taken to an Atlanta hospital.  The only thing we know right now is that Samsonov had movement in his lower extremities. 

More details on Samsonov as they develop.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, sergei+samsonov

Skinner to sign Tuesday

The Hurricanes have cryptically announced, through their website, that a “player-signing news conference” will take place at noon on Tuesday.  This is a pretty big deal, but the player to be named isn’t much of a secret.  Jeff Skinner.  He’s wowed the coaches and fans in camp and in the Traverse City tournament and really put himself in a great position.  This is a big deal because since Skinner is under the age of 20, if he signs a contract, he only has the one option.  The big club.  The AHL is not an option for him this season due to his age, but it will still be a two-way standard entry-level contract. 

The Canes are also expected to make an announcement sometime this week or next that Tim Gleason and Brandon Sutter will be the new alternate captains.  These are both excellent choices, as they both ooze “leadership”. 

Later on Tuesday, the Hurricanes will kick off their preseason schedule with a tilt against the Florida Panthers.  The lineups have been announced and Skinner will be centering the first line.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner

Canes place third at Traverse City

On Wednesday night, Jeff Skinner was again the star for the Hurricanes prospects as they defeated the Tampa prospects 4-3 in overtime in the third place game of the Traverse City prospects tournament.  Young #53 potted the game-winning goal and added an assist, which gives him seven (2/5) points in the four game tournament.  Derek Stepan of the Rangers had the same seven point showing, which was tops in the whole tournament. 

Matt Kennedy, Justin Shugg and Jared Staal scored one goal each to round out the scoresheet for the Canes. 

Surprisingly, Troy Passingham was the netminder for the “Baby Hurricanes”.  He doesn’t have a chance of making the roster, even in Charlotte, and after Mike Murphy had an outstanding performance in all three round robin games, it was surprising to see Passingham see any action.  Then again, it was only the third place game, so it didn’t really matter much.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, zac+dalpe

Skinner has huge night in Canes romp

In the final game of round robin play in the Traverse City prospects tournament on Tuesday night, the Hurricanes hopefuls soundly thrashed those of the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-1.  Up until now, the Canes had been having a hard time finding the net, but they found it in a big way.  After the first game in which the Hurricanes were beaten by Minnesota 2-1, all of the talk was Jeff Skinner.  Everyone said that he would be a big factor, and he lived up to that talk tonight, contributing one goal and four assists to help the Canes win and take second place in the “Gretzky division”.  Tomorrow, they’ll play the third place game against Tampa, who was the second place team from the “Howe division”.

Mike Murphy went the distance in nets, allowing just the one goal.  This helped him maintain a GAA of 1.0 and he finished the round robin portion with a save percentage of .963.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, matt+kennedy, mike+murphy, zac+dalpe

Jeff Skinner drawing Crosby comparisons

Jeff Skinner, who was drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round of this summer’s Entry Draft, has been turning heads all summer long.  He had a good showing at the prospect camp in July, he had a good camp at Team Canada’s evaluation camp in preparation for the World Junior tournament.  His remarkable shootout goal in practice there will be on highlight reels, as will his dazzling 50th goal for Kitchener in the OHL last season. 

Whether he makes the Canes this fall or at some point in the near future remains to be seen, but for now, he’s been receiving high praise from NHL veterans, including a favorable comparison to Sidney Crosby.

The first time I saw Jeff I said, ‘Holy smoke, he looks just like Sidney Crosby.  It’s freaky how comparable they are. Jeff has the same frame as Sidney.  Sidney Crosby is more explosive. But Jeff will get there. I think he’s going to be a really, really good player for the Hurricanes for a long time.

 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes., jeff+skinner, sidney+crosby

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