Monday, December 27, 2010

Canes can't power back after penalties

Things haven't quite gone the Canes way the past two games.

Back before the Christmas break the Hurricanes lost 3-2 to Montreal, and last night they lost by the same score to the C[r]apitals. Both were games that the Canes could have won, and both featured questionable calls by the referees.

For the Montreal game, things were looking up when Erik Cole scored the second Canes goal of the night to put the team ahead by one. Then, nine seconds later, he hit Jaroslav Spacek from behind which earned a five-minute major boarding penalty - the Canadiens scored two goals on that powerplay and never looked back. I'm not entirely sure that the hit deserved a major penalty, but certainly the hit and the call cost the Canes the game.

For the Washington game, the questionable call came in the first period. Tim Gleason received a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct after a clean hit on Mathieu Perreault. It looked pretty rough in real time, but the replay obviously shows Gleason hitting with the shoulder pad, not the elbow... and definitely not charging across the ice for the hit. Looks like the refs were penalizing the amount of blood on the ice from Perreault's broken nose, not the actual play.

The penalty didn't have quite the obvious effect on the game that Cole's did, although I'm sure the Canes would have loved to have Gleason's services later in the game. My peeve for the game was the lackluster effort given in the last few minutes of the game - the Canes were only down by one and had ample opportunity to try for a goal, but it just didn't seem like they had the necessary jump in their step.

So, for those of you keeping track, yep, these two losses do mean that the Canes are back at .500 on the season, 10th in the East and 4th in the Southeast with 34 points. This three game losing streak essentially negates whatever had been gained by the four game winning streak, and the Canes are back where they started.

For me this is frustrating, because the past few games are the first good look I've had at the Canes this season - actually viewing them in action - and I have to say that they're not that bad of a team. They do have the talent to score, but apparently just can't get it done. They're light years ahead of how they looked last season... but if that only means a .500 record, how much better is that? It certainly isn't enough to gain them a playoffs spot, and if they can't make the playoffs, how different is that from last season?

Upcoming this week are back-to-back games in Toronto and Ottawa, then home against the Devils New Year's Day. Hopefully these are all easily beatable teams - if they're not, I will be doubting how serious a playoffs berth can be. However, beating the other bottom dwellers could signify the beginnings of a nice win streak - but hopefully my optimistic side isn't betraying me too much.

Erik Cole stats (23rd): 1 goal
On the season: 7 goals, 8 assists

Chad LaRose stats (23rd): 1 goal
On the season: 7 goals, 6 assists

No comments: