That game last night seemed a bit crazy to me. It started out normal enough and pretty well for Carolina. The Canes came out with good jump and created quite a few scoring chances while limiting the Canucks to a few. Roberto Luongo made save after save, stoning the Canes like he has done so many times in the past when he was with Florida. The Canucks ended up scoring first on a power play created because of a Nic Wallin tripping penalty. At the end of the period it was 'Nucks 1, Canes 0. Just like I said, normal enough.
The 2nd period is when things got a bit weird. The Canes kept on taking penalty after penalty, and they were not smart or aggressive type penalties. First there was an interference call on Cole which was away from the puck during a line change. Next there was a delay of game call against Walker for lifting the puck out of play. Then Justin Williams got called for goalie interference. This is one call that might have been questionable, but Justin must know he is a marked man by now and most goalies are going to dive hard if he skates near their crease or touches them. Finally, there was another call on Bret Hedican for crosschecking. There was no question about that call except the reasoning why Bret felt the need to do it at that time. Of course if you give any team enough tries, they are bound to score on a power play, and that's what happened. In the meantime our offense never had a chance to get established because we were on the PK most of the time. At the end of the 2nd it was 2-0.
During the 3rd period, things got crazier still. Carolina was called for 3 more penalties, but Vancouver was called for 5 of their own. Erik Cole was called for 2 himself, giving him a total of 3 for the game. I love Erik, but sometimes he is not the smartest player on the ice. I do give him credit though because it seemed he was trying to pick up his game to compensate for Brindy being out. After the Canucks scored their 3rd power play goal making it 3-0, Eric Staal made a beautiful pass to Craig Adams who made a nifty move to get the puck through Luongo's 5 hole. The goal gave Craig the only two goals of this road trip so far. CRAZY! At the end of one of Vancouver's penalties, Cole made a nice move in on Luongo, faking him out but hitting the post with his shot. The rebound bounced off Luongo's back and into the net making the score 3-2. CRAZIER!! Finally, while the Canes were putting good pressure in the 'Nuck's zone, Mike Commodore sneaked behind the Canucks forwards and put a high shot on Luongo. The shot hit Roberto high in the chest area, somehow rolled over his shoulder, down his back, and into the net. CRAZIEST!! That tied the game and eventually put it into OT, at least giving the Canes the satisfaction of earning one point.
The over-time period continued to be crazy for the Canes. Scott Walker attempted to scoot the puck up the glass to feed Ray Whitney who was skating up near center ice. Scottie got under the puck too much though and ended up lifting it right into the crowd for his 2nd penalty of the game for the same thing! Again Crazy. Of course everyone knows what happened next, the Canucks scored on the 4-3 advantage and won the game. Poor Kevyn Adams was called upon to be the forward at that time after having only played about 5 minutes of the game up to that point. Maybe Lavi thought he was rested and could do it, but Kevyn had trouble recognizing that Daniel Sedin slipped behind him and was on the doorstep for the easy game winner. I'm not blaming Adams for this, it's impossible to cover 2 people simultaneously which is what he was trying to do, but I thought it was odd that Lavi called upon him to play at such a crucial time when he hadn't played much up to that point. Of course Brind'Amour would have been out there if he was healthy, end of discussion about that.
Overall I thought the effort was there but I don't believe I have ever seen so many stupid penalties. Obviously, we don't deserve to win a game if we can't stay out of the box. So, we will take the point and move on to Colorado for Monday night's game. The boys get a couple of nights off which they certainly need.
My friends and cohorts, d-lee over at Red and Black Hockey and Cason at Casonblog both give their respective views of the game and are worth a read. I disagree with Cason though about the delay of game penalty. I like the idea that intentionally lifting the puck out of play should be a penalty. Accidentally? Well, I kind of like that idea too. First of all I don't trust any ref to make a determination whether something is intentional or not. Secondly, I think it puts extra pressure, usually on the defense to keep the puck in play. If they see a forward like Andrew Ladd barreling down on them and rush the play to avoid being hit, accidentally sending the puck into the crowd, I think it should be a penalty. The way the rule is now avoids all the arguing and discussion about what a player's true "intent" was. I just wish the Canes would stop getting called for this, but it doesn't make me dislike the rule anymore than when we used it to help us beat Buffalo last year. Maybe Cason and I should debate this sometime!
Hope everyone is getting their shopping done. Go Canes!
Atlanta Rhythm Section