Everyone was talking about the private, closed door meetings that coach Peter Laviolette was having with players after practice on Wednesday because they lost 3 out of the past 4 games by wide margins. Was he yelling and screaming? Did he throw stuff? Did he question their manhood or sense of pride? It turns out that he did send them a message all right, but it wasn't what most of us thought it would be. The message? Get back to having fun! Play hard and enjoy yourselves. Forget about losing streaks and all the questions about inconsistency. Forget about the pressure of being Stanley Cup Champions. Just have fun baby, and wow did they have fun last night!
Montreal is a fine hockey club and has the 3rd best record in the East. They are very well coached and have excellent goaltending. Regardless of these facts, the Canes played even with them for a couple of periods and then took the game completely over in the 3rd. Cam Ward didn't even have to make a save during a 14 minute stretch of that period. The final score was 4-2, but Huet did an excellent job of keeping it that close. Carolina finished with 48 shots on goal, 20 in the 3rd period alone. Erik Cole continued his dominance over the Canadiens with 2 goals and tied a franchise record with 11 shots of his own. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, Erik usually plays his best against the Habs. When asked about it after the game last night he said there was "no particular reason", but there has to be something. Two of his three career hat-tricks are against Montreal and he almost always brings his A game against them. Ask any Hab fan, they either hate him or want to trade for him. Justin Williams and Eric Belanger scored the other 2 goals on a sweet backhand by JW and a nasty slapper by Belanger. Everyone had a solid game and contributed to the win whether it was by creating traffic in front of the net or by hustling back to play defense. All 4 lines had their moments and all created decent scoring chances. Erik Cole was a monster though and deserves the cherished Bubba's Star of the Game!
Also on yesterday's blog I mentioned that 8 year old Katherine Fritsch would be singing both anthems. She did a fine job and since we won again I am officially dubbing her our new good luck charm. You can scroll down to see what I posted yesterday,
" Make sure you are not late getting to the rink tonight, Katherine Fritsch will be singing both National Anthems and that is sure to be a treat! The 8 year old knocked our socks off with her powerful voice earlier this year before a game against Tampa Bay. It has been reported she has learned the verses to â€œOh Canada!â€, so she is ready to go international! If we win this game she will be considered a new good luck charm because the Canes beat the Lightning and scored 3 goals in 43 seconds which set a new franchise record the last time she sang.
Interestingly enough, Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette posted this last night"
Little Girl with big voice helps Canes beat Habs
It seems that Katherine Fritsch is becoming to the Carolina Hurricanes what Kate Smith was to the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers â€" if roughly one-tenth the size. The big pipes of 8-year-old Katherine, who sang both national anthems tonight, is becoming a bit of a good-luck charm for the 'Canes, who beat the Canadiens 4-2.
Earlier this season, Katherine sang the anthem for the 'Canes against Tampa Bay, and the home team beat the Lightning by scoring a franchise-record three goals in 43 seconds. Tonight: two second-period goals in 46 seconds to beat the Habs... Didn't this kid have homework to do?
Good for Katherine that she is getting the notice she deserves! I'll say one more thing about the cutie. If her voice doesn't get to you, her smile definitely will! I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping to see her perform at the RBC again real soon. Here is a pic of her last night and a video of a prior performance:
Tomorrow night the homestand continues with a Saturday night game against the Bruins who will be looking for some payback for our last drubbing of them. The past couple of nights our attendance has been a disappointment. Come on Caniacs, it's Saturday night and it's a perfect time to show up and support our Stanley Cup Champions. Go Canes!