Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: matt cullen
On Monday night, the Hurricanes went to face the best team in the East on hostile ground. Not only were the Caps the best team in the Eastern conference, but they were until last night undefeated in SE divisional play. Perhaps they saw the Hurricanes coming and decided to take the night off. Perhaps they were shelled by the team trading away its captain. Perhaps something else. Carolina did not look like the worst team in the league, and they spanked the Caps 6-3.
In the third period of Saturday’s game against the Flyers, the Carolina coaching staff gambled on on reconstructing a top line of all centers. They put Jussi Jokinen, Matt Cullen and Eric Staal together. It was a chance, and it worked beautifully in that game and even better Monday night against the Capitals. Saturday night, they combined for six points in just one period of play. Monday night, they combined for ten points. It’s way too early to know for sure, but it looks like this new top line is a great idea.
On Sunday night, the Hurricanes played a much better game than they did on Thursday. In the end, the score was 3-0. The series is now tied at one and has become a best of five series where Carolina has the home ice advantage.
Cam Ward was absolutely on fire, completing his fourth career postseason shutout. Eric Staal decided to take things into his own hands, and as I said before, things can get ugly when that happens.
Now, it would be crazy for Carolina to break their arms patting themselves on the back. Carolina was indeed very good tonight, but the fact of the matter is that the Bruins were sloppy. At times, they were flat out bad. They looked like they were at McGreevy’s getting hammered until the wee hours this morning. If that’s indeed the case, a special thanks goes to their wonderful bartender Amanda.
On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes beat the visiting Avalanche for the first time ever, and did it in convincing fashion. With 3 goals from Matt Cullen, some outstanding “character” play from Tim Conboy, and a balanced 60 minute game, the Hurricanes emerged with a 5-2 win. They are now just one point out of eighth place and four points out of fourth place in the East. The Rangers game is still pending tonight, but the Penguins have already lost, which helps Carolina’s cause. The three other teams that Carolina is chasing (Buffalo, Montréal and Floriday) will all be in action on Tuesday, when the Hurricanes play in Ottawa. If things go well, Carolina could be in fifth place by 10:00 pm on Tuesday.
Matt Cullen registered his 17th, 18th and 19th goals of the season to get his first career hat trick. The final goal, an empty netter, was set up very unselfishly by Ray Whitney. The Wizard had a perfectly clear shot on the empty net, but opted for a difficult cross-ice pass to the trailing Cullen. Cully made no mistake in finishing it. In addition to being the first of Cully’s career, it was the first hat trick scored against Colorado all season.
He won’t get much accolade, but Tim Conboy played a huge role in setting the tone of this game early on.
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 Saturday, the Hurricanes returned home after a long trip to face a team just starting a long road trip and deep into a losing streak. Unfortunately for the Canes, Edmonton was able to put an end to their losing ways and the visitors came out with a 3-1 win. In the process, Canes forward Matt Cullen joined the injury list. Today is Cully’s 32nd birthday, but he’ll have to spend it in the pressbox with five other injured Canes.