Sunday, January 02, 2011

Canes are looking great against bad teams

It looks like the Canes are looking a little streaky at this point in the season. A four game win streak, followed by a three game losing streak, and now we're in the midst of stringing three wins together.

Win #1 came Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. The Canes really didn't look that spectacular in this one, trading goals with the Leafs in the first period. Which wouldn't be too bad except, come on, it's the Leafs. The News and Observer had an interesting article about Rutherford actually going down to talk to the team during the second intermission - somehow I suspect that "come on, it's the Leafs" was an extremely tame version of what was being said.

Perhaps the talk from the GM will have lasting impressions on the season - a convincing win came in the next game, 4-0 over the Ottawa Senators. This is the second blowout this season against the Sens, however, this time the opposing team was not coming off of an emotional day. No, I'm not entirely sure why Ottawa was so lame this time around - although Brian Elliott in goal looked absolutely horrendous. Or perhaps the Canes just looked really good? Either way, Cam Ward earned his second shutout of the season.

Win #3 came as a 6-3 win against the lowly New Jersey Devils. The Canes came out on fire in the first period, opening up with a quick 4-0 lead. Zac Dalpe earned his first NHL goal in the period, although Martin Brodeur had already been pulled by that point. Let's just say that Brodeur looked nothing like he used to in net.

After the marvelous first period, the Canes came out slow and sloppy in the second, only notching five shots on net. Their play probably would have been an issue in any other game - but it's pretty hard to play worse than the Devils this year, and the Canes recovered well in the third period.

So the Canes have fixed themselves a nice three game win streak... against teams that are 10th, 13th, and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Which is good, as it signals that the Canes are beating the teams that they should - and besides the Toronto game, they're beating the teams quite handily. Their upcoming schedule for this week isn't quite as easy - two games against the Panthers, who aren't that great but seem to give the Canes trouble, and one against the Rangers who are currently 6th in the East. Hopefully the Canes can continue their win streak and gain the four points that would put them tentatively in the playoffs.

Erik Cole stats (29th): 1 goal
On the season: 8 goals, 8 assists

Chad LaRose stats (1st): 2 assists
On the season: 6 goals, 8 assists

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