Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: toronto maple leafs
On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes had a glorious chance to climb within a breath of the eighth place Buffalo Sabres. One day after beating the Sabres on the road, Carolina was in their own barn hosting the Maple Leafs. Carolina knew that a win would put them in a standings points tie with the Sabres and that this would force the Sabres to win their next game on Saturday. Carolina also knew that the Leafs were breathing down their neck. At this point in the season, when you’re two points out of eighth, every game is the most important game of the season. This certainly was that.
The Canes got out to a 1-0 lead with—believe it or not—a power play goal in the first period. Unfortunately, that Chad LaRose goal was the only one for the home team.
Dion Phaneuf leveled the score at 19:01 of the first of his two power play goals on the night. Midway through the second, he potted another power play marker just six seconds into a hooking penalty against Carolina’s Brandon Sutter. Unbelievably, Tyler Bozak of the Leafs scored again just twelve seconds after Phaneuf. And that’s all it took.
Leafs netminder James Reimer had an outstanding night, making 36 saves to lead his team to victory.
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.
On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes will travel to Toronto, where they will try to pull out of a three-game losing skid. Their opponent for tonight, the Maple Leafs, has been a disappointment to the home team fans. At one point this season, a Leafs fan was so upset with his team that he threw a waffle onto the Air Canada Centre ice. This earned the fan a permanent ban from all events in the ACC and all other venues governed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Carolina will hope to upset the home crowd tonight, and will be on the lookout for flying Christmas fruitcakes.
I’m on the road and haven’t been able to see any of the action since last Monday, but I know that the Canes have had enough of losing by the score of 3-2.
Tim Gleason, who was exiled to the dressing room for the bulk of Sunday’s game, will be back on the ice, and that’ll be a big boost to Carolina’s blue line. He was sent off for a questionable charging call late in the first period of the game against Washington and assessed a game misconduct. He hasn’t and won’t apologise for the hit, which started a Rube Goldberg-esque chain of events that culminated in Mathieu Perreault lying bloody on the ice. Gleason hit Perreault, who had his stick high, bracing for the hit. The stick snapped and ended up hitting and cutting Perreault’s face. Because of this, he fell face-first to the ice and broke his nose.
The Hurricanes sent a total of four players from three different nations to the Olympic games this February, and all four players returned with hardware. They are one of three NHL teams that had players from each of the three medal-winning countries. Joni Pitk#&228;nen and Tuomo Ruutu won bronze for Finland. Tim Gleason won silver for the USA, and Eric Staal won gold for Canada. Staal became just the 23rd player in history to win an IIHF World Championship, an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup.
These players spent two weeks playing against each other, and they returned to being teammates without missing a beat. The Canes headed into the break as the hottest team in the league, and they continued their ways on Tuesday with a 5-1 win over the lowly Maple Leafs.
Justin Peters, in just his third NHL start, got his third win against a team that has clearly given up. He got the game’s first star and continues to prove himself to be a very capable NHL goaltender. Also in the game, Chad LaRose returned from injury to score a shorthanded goal and pitch in two assists. Not bad. Second star for him. Jussi Jokinen, who was left off the Finnish national team, scored the game-winning goal.
On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes did something they haven’t done since last season: they won a third consecutive game. Despite being outshot by a wide margin, Carolina doubled up the host Toronto Maple Leafs to the tune of 4-2. With the regulation win, the Canes move to within four points of fourteenth place in the East. There’s still a chance, albeit a very slim one, that the Canes could make the playoffs. At the very least, they have an excellent chance of finishing higher than 30th in the league.
With some stout goaltending by Cam Ward, some solid minutes from the “Rat Pack”, another strong outing by Eric Staal and some good special teams work, the Canes have their longest winning streak of the season. They’ve won three in a row and four of their last five. And the word on the street is that Chad LaRose could return to the lineup in Detroit on Thursday. And that Erik Cole is right behind him in the recovery room.
On Thursday, The Hurricanes acquired 2006 first rounder Jiří Tlustý from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the rights to Philippe Paradis, who was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Tlustý, who got famous for “accidentally” posting nude pictures of himself on the internet a couple of seasons ago, has spent the last three seasons going up and down between the Marlies and the big club in Toronto. The 6’ left winger has played in 74 career NHL games and has registered 20 (10/10) points. He’s obviously much further along developmentally than Paradis, who is still toiling away in the QMJHL.
Jim Rutherford has said that he thinks Tlustý could play in the top six next season. I don’t see this as a reality, but one thing that might help is that there’s some contracts expiring in July. I think some of the older veterans will end up elsewhere .
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes hosted the Maple Leafs with a good chance to stretch their points streak to four games. Although things didn’t go well early on, they battled back. Although they gave up a would-be game winning goal with 30 seconds remaining in the third, they never gave up. Erik Cole scored with two seconds remaining, and then the Finns took care of business in the shootout. Carolina emerged with a gutsy 6-5 win and they have crawled out of the Eastern conference cellar. Baby steps.
The Canes spotted the Leafs one goal, allwing Matt Stajan to score on the Leafs second shot of the game at 1:01 of the first. Lee Stempniak added one at 14:21 and Mikail Grabovski another at 18:26. Things, seemingly, were about to fall apart. However, as they have done repeatedly this month, they refused to let a two or three goal deficit cancel their will to compete. Instead of folding like a rented futon, they displayed a little sisu and fought back. And won.
On Monday night, the Hurricanes did something they hadn’t done in nearly two weeks: they won. After losing five in a row including a pair of 5-1 undressings, the Canes finally got off the schneid. Cam Ward was brilliant between the pipes and the Canes got goals from Joe (s)Corvo and Chad “Sharpie” LaRose to beat the Leafs 2-0. They will take their one game winning “streak” to Pittsburgh on Tuesday before taking an entire week off for the ASG.
Corvo’s power play goal was one of his patented laser beams from the top of the left circle late in the second. It was his fourth game-winning goal and his eighth marker overall. LaRose scored a back-breaking insurance goal with just four and a half seconds left in the second period. However, it was the Hurricanes penalty killing and the outstanding play of Cam Ward that took center stage.
On Thursday night, with a nearly full house, the Hurricanes lost a very exciting game 6-4 to the Leafs. The game was pretty much a microcosm of the Hurricanes season. Long stretches of disappointment punctuated with brief but intense moments of inspiration. It was also one of the most intense regular season games I’ve ever attended.
The Canes stood around for 37 minutes while the Leafs built a 4-0 lead. Then they got a fluky goal from Matt Cullen with about two to play in the second. The Canes came out on fire in the third, completely owning the first 12 minutes of the period. On second period markers from Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal and Scott Walker, Carolina climbed all the way back to tie the game. And then the wheels fell off.
Carolina gave up a four-on-three power play goal to Tomas Kaberle late in the third, then an empty netter from Jason Blake. It completed the hat trick for Blake and closed the scoring out at 6-4.
It was another painful loss, the fourth in a row. However, some good things did happen, even if that only lasted 14 minutes.
On Thursday, the Maple Leafs will come to town and Paul Maurice will coach his first game against his former team. Mo was on 850 the Buzz this morning discussing the emotions behind playing against a team that fired him.
The full five minute radio clip is here, but here’s the money quote:
The politically correct thing that most coaches would say is that it’s just like any other game, but it’s absolutely not…. It’s absolutely personal. You get fired, you want to see that team lose every game for the next ten years.
I’m not sure whether the Leafs will know or care about that comment, but it’s an honest opinion. And I love that kind of honesty.
On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes won the front end of a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs by the score of 6-4. Carolina had been pretty anemic of late, particularly on the power play, but they scored a season high six goals including three power play markers to take the two standings points.
Six different Hurricanes scored goals and nine different guys had at least one assist. In all, ten guys had scoring points, including rookie Dwight Helminen, who got a goal and an assist in his third NHL game. He also earned the official first star of the game.
This was just the second time that Carolina wore their new third sweater uniform, and the first win.
Unfortunately, the Canes had to add one more player to the list of injured men, as Patrick Eaves left the game during the second period with an undisclosed illness.