Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Entries with the tag: new jersey devils

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

Ward, Canes snap skid

On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes were in an absolute must win situation on the road in Buffalo.  It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but they got the job done with a 1-0 win to snap a four-game losing streak.  It keeps their slim playoff hopes alive. 

Brandon Sutter scored the game’s only goal at 19:18 of the first.  Cam Ward made 40 saves including 22 in the first period alone. 

With the win, Carolina closed to within two points of the eighth place Sabres with 12 games remaining.  A regulation loss would have put them six points back, and it would have spelled the end of all realistic playoff hopes.  It wasn’t all sweetness and light, though.  While the Canes are thrilled to have gotten two points, they should be disgusted in their continued power play woes.  They were 0-5 on the power play tonight.  They have now gone six games without a power play marker.  They’re zero for their last 27 on the man advantage, dating all the way back to March 1.  This is not how a playoff team plays.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils

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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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jeff+skinner, new+jersey+devils

Canes finish February on fire

On Saturday, the Hurricanes defeated the Devils 5-2 to complete a sizzling hot month of February.  They have now won five in a row to go 5-2 in February. They also went 9-5 in January and are easily one of the hottest teams in the East.  Unlike a lot of teams, they’ll lament the Olympic break.  While it’s still astronomically improbable, there’s still a slim chance that these boys can qualify for postseason play.

Justin Peters got his second NHL start on the second Saturday in a row, and he got his second win.  Ray Whitney (who might still be traded away at the trading deadline) and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice while Zach Boychuk got his first NHL goal.  Martin Brodeur was chased from the nets early in the third with the score 4-0.

It looks a little bit like other teams are refusing to take the Hurricanes seriously, but the boys are having fun, and they’re refusing to give up.  As a fan, it’s amazing to watch, even if it’s a little bit frustrating.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jussi+jokinen, justin+peters, new+jersey+devils, ray+whitney, zach+boychuk

Devils outlast Canes

Martin Brodeur had a chance on Wednesday to set a new NHL record for career shutouts.  For about 26 minutes of gametime, it looked like it might happen.  In the end, though, he earned a 4-2 win and the Devils protected their lead atop the Atlantic division.

Cam Ward was playing for the first time in 32 days, and he looked pretty sharp.  He gave up two goals in the first period that were not at all his fault, and one in the second.  Late in the second, when the Canes were surging, Ward was really sharp.  In the third, the puck was in the other end for most of the period, and he really didn’t have to work much.  It was a good first game back for him, and it was a good game overall for the Canes, even if they came out on the wrong end of it.

Andy Greene was the star of the night with two goals including the game winner.  On the Canes side of things, Joni Pitkä was quite good, picking up two assists. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andy+greene, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, joni+pitkanen, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils

Ward stands on his head, but the Canes lose anyway

On Saturday, the Hurricanes returned to “The Rock” for the first time since they stunned the Devils with two goals in the last 90 seconds of game 7 to steal the first round of the 2009 playoffs.  The Devils in general, and Martin Brodeur specifically, had not been playing well at home, and it was a chance for the Hurricanes to get their two-week road trip off to a good start. 

Both goaltenders played very well and Martin Brodeur got the shutout, beating the Canes 2-0 and coming within one shutout of Terry Sawchuk’s 103.  He’ll get the spotlight, but Cam Ward also had a very good game that was for naught.  Unfortunately for Ward, the Hurricanes record doesn’t indicate how well he’s been playing.  If and when the Canes start scoring goals, Ward will get some more ticks in the W column.  Everyone knows that the Canes’ losses aren’t because of Ward.  Last season, the Hurricanes were shut out only once in the regular season.  So far this season, they’ve already been shut out twice in just seven games.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils

Canes win thriller, advance to conference semis

Tuesday night was a do-or-die for the Hurricanes and the Devils.  With 90 seconds to play, the Devils had a 3-2 lead in their own building and it looked grim for the Hurricanes.  I had already started making mental notes for a Canes eulogy and for a concession letter to the gals at Interchangeable Parts.

But then….

The Canes decided that it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.  Nothing was going to be over until they decided it was.  (please click the link if you don’t already get the joke)

Jussi Jokinen, the hero from the uber-dramatic game 4, scored a Finn-tastic (sorry) goal to tie it.  The crowd at the Rock and the Devils on the ice were shell-shocked.  Their shock turned to horror when Eric Staal fired a shot in from the right circle to win the game at 19:29 ....

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jussi+jokinen, new+jersey+devils, playoffs, ray+whitney, tuomo+ruutu

Game seven:  win or go home

This magnificent series between the Devils and Hurricanes will come to an end tonight.  It’s been an evenly matched, well played fun series to watch. 

The last three times these teams have played in the postseason (twice in the first round, once in the second), the series winner has gone on to play in the Stanley Cup finals.

Carolina played two game sevens in 2006.  Both at home, both were wins.  The last time this franchise played a game seven on the road was a 3-2 overtime loss to Montréal on May 1 1992 in the Adams Division semifinal. 

More pregame stuff in a few hours.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Ward, Whitney and Staal force game seven

On Sunday night, the Hurricanes had their back against the wall in their own building.  They responded with easily their best game of the series and a 4-0 shutout over the Devils.  The series will move back to Newark for the decisive game seven on Tuesday.

Eric Staal had two goals and an assist.  Ray Whitney had the game winner and three assists.  Cam Ward pitched a perfect 28 save shutout.

This has been a beautiful series and is about as evenly matched as it could be.  Each team has had one easy win.  Each team has had one shutout.  Each team has had an overtime win.  This has been as advertised and then some.  It’s a shame that neither team is named “Pittsburgh” or “Washington”, or there would have been more national teevee….

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward., carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, eric+staal, new+jersey+devils, playoffs, ray+whitney

Do or die in Carolina

Tonight, the Hurricanes face elimination against the Devils.  There is no tomorrow.  There is no alternative.  Win or stay home.  This is actually the way Tuomo Ruutu likes it.

“I kind of like this situation,” forward Tuomo Ruutu said. “You can put everything on the line and you really don’t have to worry about the next game, because if you don’t play well enough there’s not going to be a next game. You play this game like it’s your last game almost.”

  from CanesNow.

For Ruutu, it might be the last game of the season, but a segue into a contract extension.  The 26-year old Finn is scheduled to become a RFA on July 1.  He is coming off his most productive NHL season, scoring 54 (26/28) points in the regular season.  He was given a one-year contract last summer and has more than earned his $2.25M salary.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Off-day:  more changes coming for game six lines

On Thursday, coach Paul Maurice mysteriously replaced defenseman Anton Babchuk with Frantisek Kaberle for game five.  It has been my opinion for some time now that Kaberle should have retired after the miserable 2006-07 season.  I certainly didn’t want him in the lineup during this regular season, so my displeasure with that move goes without saying.

Due to a “lower body injury”, left wing Sergei Samsonov had to be scratched in favor of Dwight Helminen.  I wasn’t too sure about that, and I wasn’t at all happy with the lack of ice time seen by Ryan Bayda.  Bayda had been one of the hardest working players in games two through four, yet he only saw 4:14 of ice time.  I’m not sure what Mo saw in practice that he didn’t like, but I wasn’t too thrilled with that change.

Samsonov hasn’t practiced and is ruled “hopeful” for Sunday.  Matt Cullen also didn’t practice today, but he will play tomorrow.  Paul Maurice has indicated that the lines and d-pairings will undergo another change.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Devils, Brodeur shut out Canes in game five

I just wrote a game summary that got eaten by my computer.  I’ll do my best to recreate it.

On Thursday night, Martin Brodeur tied Patrick Roy with his 23rd career posteason shutout.  Carolina was only shut out once during the regular season, and this one is pretty painful.  While Martin Brodeur stopped all 44 shots that came his way, an unfortunately forgotten story of the game is that Cam Ward also played a great game. 

The lone goal in the game came at 11:22 of the second period, and the rest was all Martin Brodeur.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

in-game commentary—game five

I don’t own a laptop, and my computer and teevee are on opposite ends of the apartment, so I can’t do any liveblogging, but I’ll do my best to update in at teevee timeouts.

I think Paul Maurice must want to lose the game.  I can’t believe he started Frantisek Kaberle.  It’s only a matter of time before he shoots it into his own goal or does something else stupid that leads directly to a Devils goal. 

Feel free to leave comments

update 1So far the Devils have killed off a penalty and are about to go on a power play of their own.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Canes-Devils set for game five

In about 20 minutes, the Hurricanes and Devils will square off in game five of a hotly contested series wherein there were splits of each home set.  The smart money says that whoever wins game five will win the series, but I think it’s pretty clear that this one is going to go the distance either way. 

I’d like to take one moment to take a page out of the IPB book and inject some levity into a really tense situation with a really bad joke.  Okay.  Two bad jokes. 

Why do melons get married in churches?      Because they cantaloupe.
Where do cantaloupes do with their kids during the summer?  They send them to John Cougar Melon Camp.

Seriously, some brief analysis after the jump

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Langenbrunner, Salvador doubtful for game five

According to reports out of New Jersey, Devils’ captain Jamie Langenbrunner and defenseman Bryce Salvador are both “doubtful” for Thursday’s game five against Carolina.  Langenbrunner suffered a “lower body” injury during game two and Salvador injured his knee in game four. 

When asked about the availability of the players, coach Brent Sutter was vague, but offered a hint that Salvador is a no-go.  From Fire&Ice

“I thought our five defensemen played extremely well,” Sutter said. ‘I thought the five of them handled it very well. And Greenie will come in and we won’t miss a beat.”

wherein “Greenie” = Andy Greene.
Salvador’s injury occurred near the end of the second period on Tuesday while the Canes were still up 3-0.  A very unpopular Devil, Nic Havelid, had a hand in the play.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, injuries, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Jokinen beats buzzer

Holy cow!  A miracle at the RBC Center!

Jussi Jokinen deflected the game-winning goal with two tenths of a second left.  The last time I saw anything like that was when Kevyn Adams scored a shorthanded overtime goal with one tenth of a second left at Atlanta on March 5, 2004.

Carolina dominated the first 39 minutes of the game, building a 3-0 lead.  Eric Staal and Ryan Bayda scored one minute apart in the opening frame to give the media (and Carolina fans) what they wanted: a game where Carolina took the lead.  The Canes also did what every Canes blogger was begging them to do:  they shot the puck.  And they established a forecheck and offensive pressure.  And they forced New Jersey to take penalties.  And they got physical.  And they neutralized Parise/Zajac. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+gionta, carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, dainius+zubrus, dennis+seidenberg, eric+staal, jussi+jokinen, new+jersey+devils, playoffs, tuomo+ruutu

Canes-Devils game 4

Tonight is as close to being a “must win” for the Hurricanes as it can get.  A loss tonight puts them down 3-1 and headed back to New Jersey.  I don’t have the stats in front of me, but a very small number of teams have ever come back from being down 3-1. 

The good news: it’s a home game.  If nothing else, the crowd will be on the Hurricanes’ side.

Some things have got to change if the Canes want to win this game and stay alive in this series.  Obviously, the top line is going to have to start scoring.  Through three games, the line of Ruutu/Staal/Cole has just one point.  One.  Carolina doesn’t deserve to win if that continues to be the case. 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Devils-Canes in a nutshell

Carolina’s top line has one point.  The Z Z Pop line has ten. 
That’s pretty much how this is going.

Game two notes and summary won’t come until this early evening.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Canes-Devils tidbits

This is the fourth time Carolina and New Jersey have squared off in the playoffs since 2001, and there’s some interesting bits about the history of this rivalry.  Most notably, the impact this matchup has had on the rest of the tournament. There’s also some interesting history of game two.

Every time these teams have met in the playoffs, the winner of the series goes on to play in the Cup final.  Every game two winner has won the series.  Each series has been won by the home team.  And there’s been a lot of overtime. However, this is the first time the teams have split games one and two.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Canes steal home ice

On Friday night, the Hurricanes played a much better game than they did on Wednesday, and the end result was a 2-1 overtime win off the stick of Tim Gleason.  With the road split, Carolina has stolen home ice from the Devils.  Games three and four will be in Raleigh on Sunday and Tuesday.

Carolina is no stranger to overtime hockey in the playoffs, and defenseman Nic Wallin has been the go-to guy.  He has three overtime winners in his playoffs career, which is tied for second among active players.  Although he didn’t notch the game winner, he’s rumored to have played a major part in it.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal., new+jersey+devils, playoffs, tim+gleason, zach+parise

Devils own game one

Carolina’s playoff season got off to a bad start on Wednesday as they were owned 4-1 by the Devils.  From the drop, it was clear that the Devils were the better team tonight, and they played a near-perfect game.

Just 37 seconds into the game, Carolina took a penalty for too many men , which was a harbinger of doom.  Carolina killed that and every other penalty in the game, but that’s the only thing that went well for them.

When it turned 10:00, my DVR asked me, as it always does, if I wanted to “start over”.  I did, so I hit the “select” button.  It didn’t help matters.  The game still panned out the same way.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Canes-Devils in first round

It wouldn’t be playoff hockey in Carolina if it didn’t involve the Devils, and this post-season will be no different.  This is Carolina’s eleventh season in the league since relocating from Hartford.  It will be their fifth time qualifying for the playoffs and their fourth playoff series against the Devils. 

The when part of the equation isn’t known yet, but the who and where has.  The series will begin in Newark either Wednesday or Thursday.

As if it was all predestined, the Hurricanes played the Devils in three of their final eleven games of the season, winning at home and splitting the two on the road.

For a team that hasn’t been around that long, the Hurricanes have a ton of playoff history with the Devils, and some of it hasn’t been pretty.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Canes lose finale, await other results.

On Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes closed the regular season with a 3-2 loss to the Devils, who just might end up being the first round matchup.  Since Carolina lost and Philadelphia won, the Canes will finish in either fifth or sixth place.  If the Penguins get at least one point tonight, the Canes will get the sixth spot and will play the Devils.  If the Penguins lose in overtime, the Canes will face the Flyers. 

In what I considered to be a surprise move, Paul Maurice decided to start Michael Leighton in nets tonight.  He was victimized by two fluky goals, then made a bad decision that resulted in the game-winning goal for the Devils. 

The playoffs will start either on Wednesday or Thursday, and either way, the Canes will be on the road.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoffs

Carolina gets big win in Jersey

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes went to the Prudential Center, where the host Devils had won 11 games in a row.  The Hurricanes were on a five game winning streak and the Devils were on a three game losing streak. Carolina got the job done, earning a 2-1 regulation victory and moving oh so close to securing a playoff position. 

For the sixth game in a row, the story was Cam Ward.  Not the two goals in the third period.  Not the great defensive coverage.  Cam Ward.  Martin Brodeur did make 46 saves compared to just 31 by Ward, but there’s no reason to deny the recent greatness of Ward.  He’s allowed just five total goals in his last four starts.  In that span, his save percentage is a ridiculous .960 and a GAA of 1.24.  His best highlights in this game were in the second period, and they were both against Zach Parise.  One was an explosive kick save and a ten-bell diving blocker save.  Brodeur will get the accolades for the amount of shots he faced, but Ward kept the Canes in it with his sensational play in the second.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward., carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoff+picture

Canes-Devils preview

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes will visit New Jersey for the first time this season.  In two previous meetings, both in Raleigh, the Canes have won both games and outscored the Devils 7-4.  Martin Brodeur did not play in either game, and since is the back of a back-to-back for the Devils, he may not play tonight.

The Devils, who have won 11 consecutive home games, have secured a playoff spot and have a comfortable eight point lead over Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title.  They’ll almost certainly wrap that up very soon.  However, they’ve lost three games in a row and Brodeur has been quite cold in nets.

Carolina, on the other hand, has won five games in a row.  It’s virtually impossible for them to win the Southeast Division, but they are currently fifth in the East and have a chance to climb as high as fourth.  At this point, not even a berth in the playoffs is guaranteed, but they’ve been playing very well in front of a sizzling hot Cam Ward, who has given up just four goals in his last three starts.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils

Canes steal one from Devils

The other day, I wrote about how the cutoff for the playoffs is likely to be 93 points and that Carolina would need to steal a couple of games down the stretch to get there.  They did exactly that on Wednesday with an impressive 4-2 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils.  Eric Staal and Sergei Samsonov each scored one and Anton Babchuk—the unlikeliest of all heroes—scored two power play marks to pace the Canes.

St. Marty got his big win on Tuesday night in Jersey, becoming the winningest goalie of all time.  I figured that it would probably lead to a night off for him, and it did.  Make no mistake, though.  Carolina didn’t win the game because Kevin Weekes was in nets.  In fact, Shady Eighty was really solid.  Particularly in the first period.  The Hurricanes took advantage of favorable matchups and a tired team who played an emotional game the previous night.  They parlayed that into a great night for the power play units.

Carolina has now won six home games in a row and will have seven of their last ten games at the big ATM.  This race will surely come down to the last day, but for now the Hurricanes are in the playoff bubble.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, playoff+picture

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