The Carolina Hurricanes 2006-07 merry-go-round tour took another stop at the RBC last night. It's hard to know what to expect from the boys this year. One game they look like gang busters, the next game they look busted. Last night was another they looked pretty flat. Maybe it was my fault. Did my post yesterday criticizing Martin Gerber's performance so far this year upset the hockey Gods? Somehow I doubt that. Besides, Gerber really didn't play outstanding hockey in my opinion. He was barely tested with high quality chances. To give you an example, the Canes had 30 shots on goal, but Babchuk had 6 alone while the rest of our defense contributed 6 more for a total of 12. The Senators got 25 shots by their big gun forwards of Heatley, Spezza, Eaves, Fisher, and Neil, alone. Let's face it, shots by the defense from the blueline aren't the same as open shots by the forwards from the slot area and closer. The Sens were able to generate chance after chance because of our turnovers and poor passing and had many odd man rushes. Anyway, Gerber played well enough for the win and deserves a pat on the back for last night. (He's still overpaid though).
Give the Senators credit, they looked good! It was fun watching them play and they looked like a team that might be capable of beating the Sabres over the long haul. The Canes on the otherhand had another display of poor passing, bad stickwork, and eventual apparent lack of intensity by some of the players. The difference between this year's team and last year's is night and day right now even though many of the same names are on the back of the jerseys. When the Canes start the 3rd period behind on the scoreboard, their record is 1-7-1. Last year we owned the 3rd period, this year the 3rd period usually seems to own us. Our home record is 6-4-1.
Bubba's Star of the game goes to Scott Walker. Again, he seemed to be the most consistent and hard working Cane in a losing cause. Thank you Scottie!
The good news is that the season is still young, we still have a winning record, and things can change in a hurry in the NHL. The Canes have shown that they can play excellent hockey, it's within their power. The bad news is they are falling behind the Thrashers again (5 points now), and can't seem to find any positive consistency at all. The next game is in Raleigh tomorrow night against the Canadiens who have been playing excellent hockey. They have won 4 out of their past 5 with impressive wins over the Thrashers and Sabres. It should be an excellent game. More about that tomorrow. Go Canes!