Cam Ward broke a franchise record for most wins and Ray Whitney showcased his many talents as the Carolina Hurricanes took advantage of a reeling Boston Bruins team, beating them, 5-1 Sunday night at the RBC.
Ward won his 131st game as a Hurricane, breaking Arturs Irbe's franchise record, and did it in 48 fewer games than the Latvian native. After the game, Ward gave credit to his teammates like he always does. "I've been fortunate to be a part of this great organization and play with some quality players here," said the goalie.
While Ward was holding the fort at his end, Ray Whitney was showcasing his talents for the rest of the league at the other end. He scored a goal in the first period on a turnover in the Boston zone, then skated from end to end in the second period, almost undressing the entire Boston team as he skated around them like pylons before shoveling a pass to Brandon Sutter for the easy score.
Immediately afterward all Sutter could say was, "wow!" In the locker room he said a bit more. "I almost feel guilty taking credit for that goal, he did all the work," said the young center.
The Canes took a 1-0 lead into the second period on the Whitney goal, then poured it on.
Jussi Jokinen continued to shine with his play on the top line. He fed Eric Staal a perfect pass for yet another score for the Captain. Staal now has five goals in the last three games since sewing the "C" on his jersey.
Then two minutes later, childhood friend Joni Pitkanen passed across the ice to him for a beautiful opportunity. Jokinen buried it, making the score 3-0. The goal was just another in a long list of scores where the Finnish countrymen combined to make it happen. (Can we state enough how much Team Finland is clueless for not selecting Jokinen?)
I asked the versatile player after the game if he was still hoping to make the Olympic team, taking into consideration the variety of injuries some previous selectees have recently suffered. "Oh yes, I have worked very hard to make the team for the past four years," he said. "I am still hoping to have a chance."
Sutter made the score 4-0 on Whitney's highlight reel move to end the period's scoring for the Canes, but the home team was not finished yet.
Just 15 seconds into the third, the Canes broke into the Bruins' zone with a three on two break. Sutter would make a nice pass himself to Chad LaRose, and "Rosie" made a perfect shot to beat Tuukka Rask, who had replaced Tim Thomas after the Sutter goal.
David Krecji ruined Ward's shutout bid when he put back a rebound during a Bruins powerplay at 8:56 in the third, but the goal would not dampen the mood at the RBC. The fans cheered loudly at the end, having just witnessed one of the best efforts of the team all season long.
The Canes will take the day off tomorrow, then will prepare for their next game in New York as they take on the Rangers on Wednesday night.
- Whitney, rumored to be at the top of several teams' trade deadline wish lists, didn't do anything hurt his trade value. He finished with one goal, one assist, and was (+3).
- Eric Staal now has 19 points in the last 12 games and has points in the last five straight.
- Joni Pitkanen had his minutes trimmed, (23:52), but had another overall solid game. He contributed two assists, three blocked shots, and a goal saving play made on the goal line in the second period.
- The Canes had 25 blocked shots led by Andrew Alberts with five and Aaron Ward and Tim Gleason with four each.
- The Hurricanes only had 20 shots on goal for the game, but scored on five of them. Obviously, they had high quality chances in this game.