"Such is life", the Canes beat the Habs again! Ever since the Miracle at Molson back in 2002, the Montreal Canadiens seem to have been the cure for what ails the Carolina Hurricanes. It happened again last night as the Canes put an end to their 4 game losing streak and actually scored twice while on their beleaguered power play. Frantisek Kaberle picked up where he left off in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and scored the game winner. So much for needing a few games to work the kinks out, eh Frank?
I watched the game on Center Ice and listened to the French announcers even though I could barely understand a word. Caniacs had to watch a game broadcast in French one time last year as well, I believe. It's certainly a unique experience. In my opinion the Canes looked very good right from the start of the game and continued skating hard throughout. They outshot the Habs in each and every period! It was a faced paced, back and forth quick moving game that was highly entertaining. Justin Williams opened the scoring on a power play chance 2 minutes into the 2nd period. Eric Staal earned the primary assist by making a very strong move to get the puck to Williams while driving his way along the boards through a Canadien. Willie then cut to the center of the ice directly in front of Aebischer and wristed the shot by him. 1-0 good guys! It was a short lived lead though as two minutes later Alexei Kovalev made a beautiful one timer right off of a face-off that surprised Ward. The rest of the period was pretty even as neither team could gain an upper hand. Both goalies were making good saves although it seemed like Cam was making tougher ones than Abby. Speaking of Cam, he was sporting a new mask last night, but more about that later.
Half way through the 3rd period, Saku Koivu took an ill advised holding penalty which put the Hurricanes a man up again. After the Canes were able to work the puck around for almost a minute, Kaberle found an opening just inside the blue line and rifled a shot on net with Justin Williams right in front of Aebischer. Abby never saw the shot, so Frank got credit for the game winner while Willie ended up earning 1st star of the game honors. (much to the dismay of the locals who well remember Justin's inadvertent high stick which injured their Captain in last year's playoffs). Of course the Habs made things interesting before the final siren went off. Staal was fishing for a rebound in Abby's house which a couple of Canadiens took exception to and they let him know it by roughing him up a little. Well, Andrew Ladd jumped into the fray and the next thing you know, he and Rivet had dropped the gloves and were swinging away. Craig Rivet is no lightweight and has a reputation as being a pretty tough cookie, even though he is not necessarily an enforcer type. Andrew held his own very well and I would have called the matchup even as neither player left their feet. As that kid gets older, stronger, and more experienced, he's going to be one tough hombre'. Hopefully he can keep the soft hands around the net and tip in a few more goals as well!
To wrap this story up, the Canes were able to hold off the Habs last minute barrage and win the game 2-1. Cam Ward had an excellent game and it seemed to me that the rest of the team played a much more consistent, over all game than they have played at most times this season. The only bad news was that Cory Stillman left the game early with a lower body injury. Hopefully it was nothing serious although the News and Observer is reporting that it's possibly a knee injury.
Next up are the Bruins, this time in Boston. Didn't we just play these guys? I guess it's "deja vu" all over again, except this time the Canes will win!
Emerson Lake and Palmer