Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Entries with the tag: tampa bay lightning

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

Bolts ruin Carolina’s hopes

In the final game of the New York Rangers, they knew that they had to win and get some help to get into the playoffs.  They did the only thing they had control of: they won their game against the Devils.  Carolina had to win, and hoped that the Lightning would “rest” its star players.  Things didn’t go well for the Hurricanes, and it was early and often that it didn’t go well.  Tampa scored thrice in the first thirteen minutes of the game and kept Carolina off the sheet.  In the second, they took a 4-0 lead halfway through, and the game was already over. 

Cory Stillman scored at 13:31 of the second, but it was already too late.  It was the front end of a five-on-three power play situation, but Carolina had already failed on three previous power plays. 

In the third, Chad LaRose scored at 8:33 to give the fans a little bit of hope, but the Lightning closed it out with two empty net goals to account for the final score of 6-2. 

This is the second time in the last four seasons that Carolina has missed the playoffs by losing in game 82.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, tampa+bay+lightning

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

Cole paces Canes to important win, but Buffalo offers no help

On Friday night, the Hurricanes were again in “the most important game of the season”, and they emerged with a huge 4-3 regulation win over the Lightning.  Jeff Skinner scored his 26th of the season, Eric Staal scored his 30th and Erik Cole added two.  Cam ward made 18 saves.  Unfortunately for the Canes slim playoff hopes, Buffalo also won its game.  With eight games remaining, the Hurricanes remain three points behind the eighth place Sabres.

For the first time since the Truman administration, the Hurricanes tallied two power play goals in the same game.  The power play has been one of many weak points for them this whole season, and it will probably be the one thing that we blame if/when the Hurricanes end up on the outside of the playoff mix. 

Carolina has now won three games in a row, but the harsh reality is that they’re going to have to be blazing hot down the stretch.  “Warm” won’t cut it.  They’ll probably need to get twelve of the sixteen remaining points available.  Every game matters, and they’d like some outside help from the Sabres, or even the Rangers.  The Canes are five points back of the Rangers with a game in hand.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, tampa+bay+lightning

Legace and the Finns win again.

Carolina extended their streak of earning points to five games with an impressive 3-1 win over the visiting Bolts.  It was only the second regulation win of the season for Carolina and it snapped a streak of four straight overtime games and three straight shootouts. 

Brandon Sutter had a four game point streak snapped, but still played a good game.  Jussi Jokinen extended his points streak to four games with the game-winning goal.  In the past four games he has three goals and an assist. 

Manny Legace played with confidence, played well, and had the guys in front of him play well.  It was probably the most complete game this team has played all season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, jussi+jokinen, manny+legace, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Malone’s hat trick beats Canes

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes played the back end of their second back-to-back set, and for the second time, they lost.  This time it was Ryan Malone and the blue-clad City of Tampa Lightning.  Based on his success this season, Malone would love to play the Canes every night

I didn’t get to watch this game, as I had to fill in at work for one of my lazy employees.  Also, I missed an unannounced concert by my favorite musician because I found out about it too late.  For that show, I would have made something else happen at work.  Anyway, I avoided any exposure to the game while I was at work, I went home to watch the DVR.  Just as I was about to sit down to that, a friend IMed me and accidentally spoilt the game for me.  Not a good night for me. 

The Canes managed to get the power play rolling, and the 5-2 score suggests that it wasn’t close, but it was.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, rod+brind'amour, ryan+malone, tampa+bay+lightning

Finns get Canes off the schneid

On Tuesday night, the Finnish connection got the job done in Carolina, handing them their first win of the season.  It took a shootout to break a 1-1 tie with the Lightning, and the Hurricanes were successful. 

This was one of those odd games that fell through the cracks, and wasn’t broadcast by either team’s network.  This meant that, even with the Center Ice package, this game wasn’t on television.  Thank goodness for internet radio and Chuckandtheletterk. 

This was the first game of the season for defenseman Joni Pitkänen, who had knee surgery over the summer.  Unfortunately, he didn’t last the whole game.  However, he and the other Finns all pitched in for the win.  It was also the first game of the season for tough guy utility player Tim Conboy.  As I expected, he spent more time in the box than on the ice.  I sincerely hope that this experiment will come to a rapid end and one of the skilled forwards from Albany is recalled. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, joni+pitkanen, jussi+jokinen, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Staal, Canes destroy Tampa

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes scored a season high nine goals in a rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Eric Staal had a career high six (4/2) points, which matches a franchise mark set by Ron Francis back in the Hartford days.  Carolina did all its scoring in the first 40 minutes, then eased off the throttle, settling for a 9-3 final.

Staal’s six point night was huge, but his first line mates also had huge nights of their own.  Tuomo Ruutu pitched in with five (2/3) points and Erik Cole had four (0/4).  15 points out of the top line is one heck of a night.  There was way too much scoring to enumerate the goals, but it was one shorthanded goal, two power play goals and six even strength markers.  When it didn’t matter, Tampa scored two unanswered goals in the third.

On Carolina’s current three-game winning streak, they’ve scored 20 goals and given up just six.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Canes bury Bolts, narrow gap in East

On Friday night, Carolina did something they haven’t done in a while: they won at home.  They took a 2-1 lead into the third period, then got two five-on-three goals from Joe Corvo to seal the deal.  At the end of the day, Carolina won 4-1 and finds itself only one point behind eighth place Buffalo in the East.

Eric Staal scored in the first period on a similar shot to one of his goals on Thursday.  Wrist shot from the left circle, high to the blocker side.  In the second period, Jussi Jokinen scored a “Finn-tastic” goal against his former club, and it proved to be the game-winner.  This was Jokinen’s first goal in a Hurricanes sweater.

When the Lightning took three consecutive minor penalties in quick succession in the third period, it gave Carolina back-to-back five on three sequences, and Joe Corvo scored with one-time blasts from the top of each circle just 39 seconds apart. 

Carolina will stay at home to face Colorado on Sunday afternoon.  Carolina is two games into a six game stretch out of which I said they need to get ten points.  They’re perfect so far.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, joe+corvo, tampa+bay+lightning

Canes climb to seventh

With a 2-1 win over the Blues on Friday night, the Hurricanes moved out of a two-way tie for the eighth spot in the East and into sole possession of seventh place, leapfrogging Buffalo and Pittsburgh in a single bound.  Both teams have a game in hand, and both will be in action this afternoon.  Carolina will be in Tampa tonight, hoping to fortify their position. 

Carolina’s top line of Eric Staal flanked by Sergei Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu had their second consecutive five point night.  Staal scored the game’s first goal while Ruutu and SerSam had two assists apiece.  On New Year’s Eve, SerSam had 2/1 while Staal and Ruutu had one assist each.  Tonight, they will have a chance to have another very productive night against a bad Tampa team.  There are no easy games, but the Bolts are just not very good.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, sergei+samsonov, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Canes steal one, await Habs

On Sunday, the black-clad Hurricanes came from two goals down to defeat the visiting Lightning 3-2, needing the shootout to get the win. 

Things got off on the wrong foot when Carolina ran a sloppy power play.  They committed a turnover deep in the offensive zone.  Because a defenseman was pinching and Tampa’s man was coming out of the box, the turnover resulted in a three-on-one and a goal by Martin St. Louis at 11:20 of the first.  Former Hurricane Radim Vrbata got the only assist. 

Early in the second, Vincent Lecavalier potted a power play goal on a very goofy play that should have been whistled dead.  Tampa was making a change and the puck was going to clear the zone, but it hit the skate of a player leaving the ice.  He was the sixth man on the ice at that point, and while it may have been inadvertent, it kept the play on-side.  Seeing as how Carolina had just been called for a too many men penalty, this should have been noticed.  It wasn’t.  The Canes stopped playing and the Bolts scored.  The Horseman from the Recchin’ Ball and Steve Eminger at 4:05.

All was not lost, though.  The Canes regrouped and ended up stealing the win.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, rod+brind'amour, shootout, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Back in Black:  Bolts at Canes

On Sunday afternoon, the Lightning will visit the Hurricanes for the first time this season.  In their only previous meeting this year, Carolina came from behind to win in overtime in Tampa behind Eric Staal’s two goal effort.

This will also be the first game for the Bolts under the direction of Rick “Wagergate” Tocchet. 

Carolina will be wearing their alternate black sweaters for the third time.  Thus far, they have gone 1-1-0 wearing them.  They will wear them at home 12 more times, and have recently added two road games for which they will don the third (December 11 @ Philly and December 13 @ Rangers).  The game is being telecast by the Lightning only. 

Rod Brind’Amour is one point shy of becoming #50 on the all-time NHL points list.  He is currently tied with Joe Nieuwendyk (564/562) and HOFer Mike Bossy (573/553) with 1126 career points.  A single point will also tie him for third on the Whaler/Canes all-time scoring list.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, rod+brind'amour, sergei+samsonov, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Tampa Bay writers, fans irked by Carolina’s rebuff

Earlier, Paul wrote about a scheduling problem in the City of Tampa.  It seems that some professional baseball team from the Bay area is participating in some post-season tournament, and one of their games is scheduled for the same time as the Bolts home opener against Carolina on Saturday. 

Under normal circumstances, the city would just cope with it, as Detroit did when both the Red Wings and Pistons were simultaneously playing home playoff games on the same night last summer. Or they might petition the league to move the start time of one or the other game.  In this case, Carolina has veto power on bumping up the start time of the hockey game because they will be on the back end of a back-to-back, and the proposed start time of 5:00 would be just 19 hours after the end of Friday’s game.  Carolina said “thanks but no thanks”, and certain people have been rubbed the wrong way.

Carolina is used to having grenades lobbed its way by the press from the Sunshine State, but this is getting really silly.

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Filed in: Carolina Hurricanes, NHL Hockey, | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, tampa+bay+lightning

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