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Hockey players are a pretty superstitious lot and so are many hockey fans. We all have our little quirks, like special places to eat before games, lucky things that we wear on game day, or other little rituals that we do to help our team win. So why would anything be different when it comes to our anthem singer? Little Katherine Fritsch sang the national anthem again last night, and the Hurricanes won another game. That makes the Canes record 4-0 when she sings. What do you say we keep her warmed up and ready to sing before other important games including the playoffs? Canes Country has been talking about Katherine and her winning streak since her debut, so we are not jinxing her by bringing this up now. You can check out her archives, where there are links to her photos and a video of her singing as well as information about a write up in the Montreal Gazette after she sang before the game against the Habs. By the way not only is she good luck, she's also a marvelous singer. You've got to hear her to believe her! There's big news about Katherine being in a nationwide competition this week, but stayed tuned for more about that tomorrow.

The Canes played a very good hockey game last night. I thought they came out of the gate with jump and maintained their intensity almost all game long. Rod Brind'Amour opened the scoring just four minutes into the game by faking out a Caps defenseman, making a patient move in front of goalie Brent Johnson, and then backhanding the puck perfectly over Johnson's shoulder. Just five minutes later, Justin Williams made a nice fake then rifled his shot past Johnson making the score 2-0. While it was a nice shot by Justin, it's a goal I'm sure Johnson would love to have back. Speaking of Willie, I saw a new sign last night at the RBC, "Lustin for Justin". I'm sure Mrs. Williams loved to see that! Later in the period, the Canes started to take penalties which killed their momentum. At one point they had a 10-3 shot advantage, but by time the period was over the Caps had tied them up in shots, 10-10. Chris Clark got a goal for the Caps which was borderline kicked in, but after a review the goal counted. The period ended Canes 2, Caps 1.

While the Canes were still killing a penalty to open the 2nd, the "Alexanders" teamed up to tie the score. Semin put a shot on net and Ovechkin cleaned up Ward's rebound netting his 30th of the season. What is it about players getting their 30th goals against us this year? Last week Lacavalier and St Louis both got number 30 against us. The rest of this game was pretty much all Canes. Justin Williams netted number 25, Cory Stillman put in a beautiful one timer after coming right off the bench, and Ray Whitney took a great feed from Scott Walker and buried it virtually putting the game out of reach in the 2nd period, 5-2. This team really looks explosive when they are on! They even had a goal taken away after a lengthy review because it was ruled that Walker gloved the puck over the line. There were a few extra curricular activities as well in the 2nd. Scott Walker took exception to a Chris Clark crosscheck in front of the Washington net and made Clark an offer he couldn't refuse, a knuckle sandwich! Clark did his best to use his longer reach to hold off Walker but certainly took the worst of that altercation.

In the 3rd period the line of Walker, Ladd, and Staal finally got rewarded for their hard work. All three were approaching the net with Ladd in the middle when Staal made a nice fake and feed to an open Walker who put the puck on net but hit the post. Most everyone thought that would be a goal including the horn operator who inadvertently blew the goal horn before the puck went into the net! Fortunately, Staal kept his concentration and stuffed the rebound into the net for his 23rd of the season. That made it 6-2 Canes and that's the way it ended up. There was a bit more drama going on though between Brian Sutherby and Erik Cole. Erik got in Sutherby's kitchen earlier in the game and Brian didn't like it. He kept yapping at Cole the whole game trying to goad him into a fight. Finally after the was score 6-2 in the 3rd, they both dropped their gloves but the refs stepped in before a single punch was thrown. They were both called for delay of game and Sutherby's mouth was still running all the way to the penalty box! Sure enough when they got back out on the ice, Sutherby immediately got into Cole's face again! The refs finally had enough and called a 10 minute misconduct on Sutherby and he finally shut up. Good old Donald Brashear also tried to mix things up at the end of the game. He got called for elbowing Cole, then got a 4 minute minor for roughing Walker. Think they might have forgotten all about this before the game tonight? I think not!

As expected, Gleason did return from injury and played well. Wallin did not return though and is listed as day to day. Letowski was scratched and really wasn't missed. Ray Whitney had a 4 point game with a goal and three assists. He now leads the team with 57 points. Ray, if you keep playing like this the Canes won't be able to afford you next year! Willie had 3 points and Brind'Amour was an amazing plus 5! That had to make several fantasy team managers happy.

The same two teams play again tonight in Washington. I expect that we will see Kolzig in net instead of Johnson, so this game will automatically be tougher. I would also expect to see John Grahame tonight for the Canes. Will Sutherby still be looking for Cole? Will Brashear look some more to take out his frustration? There's some extra drama tonight besides just the importance of picking up two points, two points both teams really need. Hopefully the Canes can make it back home with those two points and without any injuries! Go Canes!

Stevie Wonder