Saturday, October 09, 2010

Good start in Finland!

Well, we're 2-0 after two games in Helsinki! Which already means that this season is better than last season - is the cure for a bad start to play two games overseas? Not for the Wild, haha.

But, let's continue.

I was not able to view the Thursday game, which the Canes won by a tally of 4-3. But, viewing was not necessary to tell that Brandon Sutter had a great game, scoring two goals in the season debut. Babchuk and Jokinen scored the other goals for the game.

I was lucky enough to be able to see the Friday game, which the Canes won in a shootout 2-1. My thoughts:

- Minnesota came out with a jump in their step, as evidenced by their early goal. They controlled most of the first period, and were out for blood - several scrums after the whistle and a fight by Tom Kostopoulos.

- The Wild lost their step in the final two periods, which ultimately benefited the Canes. The Canes had something like six straight minutes (a double high-sticking minor and a minor called after that) on the penalty kill in the second period that the Wild squandered. Had Minnesota been able to connect, that could have been deadly for Carolina.

- Cam Ward is the man, at times holding the team's collective head above water. Without him, the Canes would have easily lost the game.

- Jeff Skinner is the real deal. Not only did he score the only shootout goal (and look pretty sweet while doing it), he was an integral part of the play that led to the Canes' regulation goal scored by Tuomo Ruutu.

So, overall, I think it was a successful overseas venture for the Canes. Hopefully the jet-lag won't kill them too much as they come back to the States - after a game against the Senators, they head out West to face the Canucks and Sharks, teams who are both expected to do very well this year. Major test to start off the season? I'd say so. Although, if these two games are any indication, if Cam Ward continues to play well, we definitely will have a good chance at winning.

Erik Cole stats (Thursday): 1 assist

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