Brooks Orpik came to RBC last night. He was lustily booed each and every time he touched the puck, as it should be. It looks like Caniacs have a replacement for all the Keith Primeau "love" we used to share whenever the Flyers came to town after the famous trade was made that ended up changing franchise history. Orpik will be a name not easily forgotten at the RBC and I have a feeling he can expect the same welcome every time he steps foot on our ice.
Erik Cole and the Canes played their game and did not allow any Orpik payback thoughts to distract them from what they needed to do to win. After Mike Commodore and Chris Thorburn introduced themselves to each other early in the game, there were no other altercations to speak of. That's not to say there was no aggression or physicality as both teams went at each other almost all time. The refs were on top of everything though tonight calling a seemingly constant barrage of penalties which probably helped in keeping the chippiness down, but it killed the flow of the game.
The Canes jumped out to a 3-0 lead and looked like they might blow the Pens right off the ice. Justin Williams opened the scoring by tapping in a rebound off a Brind'Amour shot. Ray Whitney then scored on a perfect feed from Cole. Then Brind'Amour opened the 2nd period scoring off of a beautiful pass from Staal. Things got a little sloppy for the Canes though and they allowed John LeClair and Mark Recchi goals which certainly made things interesting. Things got more than interesting while the refs reviewed a close scoring chance by the Pens early in the 3rd period which would have made the game 3-3. After a rather long review it was determined there was no goal which set the stage for the Canes to put the game away, and that is exactly what they did! Belanger scored on a nifty move and then we scored 2 shorthanded goals on the same powerplay as Kevyn Adams scored on an empty netter and Chad LaRose was finally rewarded with a goal on a good looking slap shot with about a minute and a half left in the game. Final score 6-2, good job Canes! I'm sure it was nice to be on the opposite end of one of those dreaded back to back games for the first time this year!
Bubba's Star of the game will be Mike Commodore who led the team in plus/minus with a plus 3, had 2 assists, and also won his fight. Another great game Mike! Monday night the Buffalo Slugs come to town again with their perfect 9-0 road record so far this year. To their credit, you can never be up enough on this team as they have won time after time coming from behind in the 3rd period. If we can get a lead on them we simply can't afford to let up in any way and we certainly don't want to go to OT with them! I'll post some pregame information on Monday. Great homestand so far Canes!