Monday, December 20, 2010

Things are looking up... or at least above .500

The past two weeks were pretty kind to the Canes - in the six games since my last post, Carolina went 4-1-1. Yes, that means that finally the Canes have had a win streak and managed to get above .500 on the season.

Let's recap:

- Canes lost to the Stars 2-1 in a shootout. No one scored in the SO for the Canes.

- In their next game the Canes were finally victorious in the shootout, winning 2-1 over the Blues. Jussi Jokinen scored the only goal in the shootout.

- Canes won 4-3 over the Panthers in a come-from-behind victory. They had gone down three goals early in the game - Ward was pulled from goal after letting two goals in the first two minutes. But, for probably the first time this season, they didn't give up and they powered back for the victory in regulation.

- The Canes also came from behind the next night, winning 3-2 in a shootout over the Atlanta Thrashers. Cam Ward was a complete beast in this one, stopping 45 shots on the night.

I actually watched the game against the Ducks (finals are over, haha!), and I think that the 4-2 win was entertaining enough to earn its own bulleted section of the post. So, my observations:

- The end of the game was INSANE. Yeah, that's the only word that even begins to describe what happened. Three successive penalties called against the Canes resulting in a full two minute six-on-three that the Canes had to kill off. Yes, that's six-on-three due to the fact that Anaheim pulled their goalie. First time in a long time that I've been on the edge of my seat to watch any sort of hockey that the Canes have played. Cam Ward was absolutely stellar to keep the Ducks from scoring more than one.

- Speaking of Ward, he looked amazing. AMAZING. If he can keep up this kind of play, the Canes definitely have a chance for the playoffs. He is a top-notch goalie and he definitely showed all of his skill in this game.

- As for the penalties called to put Cam Ward in the position to have to make those saves... Joe Corvo pretty much lost his mind going after Corey Perry (although he deserved it, but let's just say that Corvo has to be a little less blatant in roughing next time if he doesn't want to get called). Brandon Sutter I guess closed his hand on the puck - debatable, but I'll give the ref credit. Eric Staal's crosscheck, however, was nonexistent. Definitely absurd that the refs should call something like that when a team is already down two men. Talk about trying to decide the game.

- I loved that Corvo went after Perry after he scored the empty netter. Not so happy that Perry started something because his team lost, but I'm glad that Corvo stuck up for himself and didn't just take the crap.

- Eric Staal had a natural hat trick. Yeah, kind of an afterthought after the excitement at the end. But his first goal particularly was a beauty - Staal just took the puck straight up the side during a powerplay - a very pretty goal, although I'm sure the nonexistent Anaheim defense would think otherwise.

So, with this win, the Canes had a four game win streak. That ended pretty ignominiously with a 5-1 loss to the Lightning tonight. Let's just say I'm not crying that this one wasn't televised.

So where does this leave the Canes? They currently have a 15-13-4 record and 34 points on the year, good enough for 9th in the East and 4th in the Southeast. So, if you're keeping track, same as it was last post. The good news, or at least, what could be good news in the future - the C[r]apitals no longer have a stranglehold on the division. Thanks to their recent struggles, they are actually third in the Southeast. In our position it probably doesn't mean much - we're eight points behind them - but hopefully the Canes will continue to win and take advantage of our rival's poor play.

Upcoming this week is Montreal, who is leading their division, and the aforementioned C[r]apitals. I'm hoping for a continuation of the good play of the past two weeks - hey, the Penguins recently went on a twelve game tear, why can't the Canes do the same?

Erik Cole Stats (Dec 15th): 1 goal
(Dec 18th): 1 assist
(Tonight): 1 assist
On the season: 6 goals, 8 assists

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