The Carolina Hurricanes rewarded their faithful fans with a hard fought 6-4 win over the San Jose Sharks before a loud, sell out crowd at the RBC Center on Saturday night. It was a playoff atmosphere all night long, starting with the smell of the cooking from the tailgating in the parking lots, to the sound of the cheers and woooooo's each time the Canes scored which was early and often. The game's first star, Andrew Ladd scored 2 goals including his second game-winner in a row and the Canes cooled down the previously red hot Sharks who lost in regulation for the first time in 10 games! The Hurricanes are now 5-1-1 in their past 7 games and are becoming one of the league's hottest teams themselves.
Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, and Ladd started off the scoring, making it 3-0 in the 1st period for the Canes. As Bill Guerin kept his team within reach and notched the Shark's first goal, Eric Staal was able to answer and scored on a nifty move making the score 4-1 after 2 periods. Then the wild and crazy 3rd period began. San Jose was able to generate almost constant pressure in the Carolina zone and put in 2 consecutive goals making it 4-3. But the line of Walker, Vasicek, and Ladd went back to work. Big Joe won a battle along the boards and got the puck to Walker who found Ladd and fed him a perfect pass which Andrew buried, making the score 5-3 and that would be the eventual game-winner. Joe Thornton added a goal late and Cory Stillman finished the scoring on an empty netter. It was a very exciting game and another crucial win for the Canes as they try to make headway in their division as well as attempt to keep that precious 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
The win puts them 2 points behind Tampa Bay and 4 behind division leading Atlanta. Anything can still happen, from winning the division and earning the 3rd seed to barely missing the playoffs entirely. All Caniacs can do is keep the faith and hope the Hurricanes can continue their winning ways. The team has been playing very well recently and the current lines are looking good. Their next game is another vital one and is against the Maple Leafs up in the unfriendly confines of the ACC. The Leafs are one of three teams on the outside of the playoff bubble, trying to force their way in. They will be just as desperate for a win as the Canes are, if not more so, but we'll talk more about that game tomorrow.
In some other news, local fire fighters were able to beat area police departments in a hockey game played for charity at the RBC Center yesterday afternoon. It was an exciting game which both teams took very seriously and had a little bit of everything, including a disallowed goal which was later allowed after review, a penalty shot, and even some tempers flared up a couple of times during the contest. Erik Cole and Chad LaRose coached the police while Craig Adams and Justin Williams were behind the bench for the firemen. John Forsland and Tripp Tracey handled the MC duties and the Canesvision people did a nice job on the jumbotron which helped the game to be even more entertaining than it already was. I thought that the final score was 7-6 after the previously disallowed goal was added back on near the end of the game, although it's reported as being 7-5. Anyways, congratulations to the firemen!! Here is a link to more information. Charity game That's it for today, happy Monday!