It took Ray "The Wizard" Whitney all of 1 minute and 40 seconds to beat the Bruins last night! He scored the fastest natural hat trick in the NHL so far this season. It was also the fastest hat trick in franchise history, crushing the previous record of 8 minutes and change set by Ron Francis.
The game didn't start out all that well for the Canes. The first period seemed to be dominated by the Bruins. Statistically, it didn't look that way but watching the game it sure did. Thank goodness Cam Ward was up to the task again as he was able to stop 16 of the 17 shots sent his way. The period ended 1-0 Bruins. The 2nd period started out slowly again for the Canes. Rod Brind'Amour took a 4 minute high sticking call, and killing that penalty was huge for the team. Then Erik Cole slipped as he tried to lay out Glen Murray, and reportedly hit his hip against Murray's knee. He had to be helped off the ice and never returned to the game. Afterwards, it was reported that he had a hip pointer. When the teams got back to even strength, Andrew Alberts made the mistake of the night. While skating on defense, he lifted his leg as if to attempt to knee Scott Walker. He soon learned that Walker was the wrong Hurricane player to mess with in that way. Scottie went right at him, said "let's go", threw his gloves down, and started pummeling him. Alberts tried to fight back in vain, but this fight was all Walker. The sad part about all of this was that Scottie probably hurt his hand and had to leave the game. The good part about it was that it fired up the Canes and they dominated play immediately afterwards. Ray Whitney took over at this point and scored his three consecutive goals, the final one a wrap around back-hander that seemed to go right through goalie Tim Thomas. Before the end of the period, The Wizard fired another shot on goal that Justin Williams was able to tip in. 4-1, Canes!
Boston was able to find the back of the net again in the 3rd, but at this point the outcome was really never in doubt. Justin Willams made a nice diving play to assist Brindy on the empty netter at the end of the game. The final score was Canes 5, Bruins 2. For those of you who missed the Walker fight, here is a link Walker-Alberts. Walker has been a delight to watch this year, in more ways than one. According to the News and Observer, Cole and Walker both had x-rays taken after the game but they turned out negative. Both players will travel with the team to Minnesota, but it's questionable if they will play. Keith Aucoin, we need you! After a slow start, the team as a whole played better in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Trevor Letowski played the best game that I have seen him play as a Hurricane! I've been critical of Trevor in the past, but let's give credit where credit is due. Good job Trevor, keep it up!
There is nothing new on the Anton Babchuk front. Rutherford was quoted in the paper saying that they still expect him to show up in Albany. Meanwhile, Anton is apparently still thinking. The timing would be perfect to add a forward right now. Too bad it would look like JR is caving to the 22 year old's demands if they trade him. Maybe it would be better for the team just to move him and forget about it now. Of course everything depends upon what the return would be. I would assume most GM's don't place high value on a spoiled 22 year old who refuses a reassignment if one is needed. Fans can only hope Babchuk hasn't ruined his own value too much. Nothing would surprise me at this point, trade or no trade but Babchuk for Bill Guerin doesn't sound too bad to me right about now.