Monday, January 17, 2011

Canes are looking good

Last Sunday the Canes defeated the Thrashers 4-3 in overtime, Erik Cole scoring the most excellent game winner. The above picture is from his second game star nomination - needless to say, this Caniac was rather excited to see her favorite player play an excellent game.

Honestly, though, the Canes should never have allowed Atlanta to get back into the game - up two goals at 3-1 and they just seemed to let off the gas pedal in the second and third periods. And then the game goes into overtime, which gives a division rival a point... but Erik Cole scored, so I guess that makes it all better.

Then on Tuesday the Hurricanes beat the Flames 6-5 in a shootout. The good news is, again, that the Canes got two points, but the bad news is that they allowed the Flames to score three straight goals to tie up the game.

The Canes then lost to the Sabres 3-2 on Thursday, breaking their eight game point streak. Yeah, that stretched back to December.

To finish up the week, the Canes won against the Southeast-leading Lightning 6-4. This was a really fun game to watch - definitely a lot of offense. There were memorable goals on both sides - Chad LaRose coming out of the box to score a power play breakaway goal stands out for the Canes. For the Lightning, well, that Stamkos kid made the Canes look silly, skating straight up the ice and scoring an easy goal.

So this leaves the Canes at 22-16-6, decidedly over .500 with 50 points, good enough for fourth in the Southeast and ninth in the Conference. So, yeah, still no playoff spot, but we have three games in hand on Atlanta and we're only one point behind them in the eighth spot - so the gap has closed and I would say that the Canes are firmly in the playoff race. Providing, of course, that they continue to play as well as they have.

So now that I'm back at school and my period of being able to view games is over, I think I'll give a list of my collected observations over the winter break.

- Jeff Skinner is amazing. Period. End of story.
- Erik Cole also looks really good. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a fangirl. He looks almost back to his 05-06 form - he's driving the net, creating chances and scoring.
- The Canes have serious issues with momentum. They seem to decide to play one and a half periods during a game. This means they start out great and allow the other team to get back in the game after being dominated, or the Canes play like crap in the first two periods and then storm back to victory in the third. Granted, I've become used to this after watching this team for so many years, but it does become frustrating to watch this team go into a defensive shell after they get a two goal lead.
- The call-ups from Charlotte (Dalpe, Boychuk) looked really good. Finally, we have a farm system with useful players!
- The NHL really should consult with me before scheduling games during football season. Missed my half of my team's bowl game and half of the NFL games this past week.

Overall, I'm feeling optimistic for the second half of the season. It seems like things are beginning to click for this team and they're beating teams they need to. This next week will be a test for the Canes, as they play Boston, the Rangers, and Pittsburgh - all teams currently above them in the playoff standings. The points streak has gotten them in the position to compete, now they need to continue their success.

Also, expect an All-Star Game related post sometime soon. In other words, no, I didn't gloss over the fact that Staal and Ward were named our All-Stars this week.

Erik Cole stats (Sunday): 1 goal
(Tuesday): 1 goal
(Saturday): 3 assists
On the season: 12 goals, 13 assists

Chad LaRose stats (Tuesday): 1 assist
(Saturday): 1 goal
On the season: 8 goals, 9 assists

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