Last night Chad LaRose earned first star honors as he helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the previously unbeaten Ottawa Senators, 5-3. LaRose had 3 assists, his first ever 3 point game in the NHL. Although scoring is no stranger to the player who is affectionately called the "Chuck Norris of hockey" by some of his fans. Chad had one season while playing for Plymouth in the OHL when he scored 61 goals and had 117 points in 67 games. Those are exceptional numbers no matter what league you're in! I don't want to toot the horn too loudly for Chad though, because this was another total team effort and victory. A couple of guys who were left off the goal scoring sheet in Toronto notched their first goals of the season, Erik Cole and Rod Brind'Amour. Cole also scored his 2nd, Matt Cullen added his 2nd, and Eric Staal scored his 5th in 5 games. (an empty netter). Each of the top three lines contributed to the scoring for a perfectly balanced attack!
The Canes had a few moments in the first period when they were back on their heels and started off a bit slowly, but after they found their legs they were soon creating scoring chance after scoring chance. I think that the boys felt like they had the game pretty much sewn up at 4-1 late in the 3rd period until Ottawa scored 2 quick goals in the last 4 minutes of the game to make things interesting. But Cory Stillman made a picture perfect pass to Eric Staal for the clinching empty netter to wrap things up.
It was a game of firsts last night, as Cam Ward allwed his first even-strength goal, Martin Gerber and Ottawa allowed their first power play goal, and of course the Sens lost their first game, keeping them from setting a new franchise record for best start to a season ever! Ward was excellent in goal again, especially in the first period when Ottawa came at him in waves. The defense played pretty well, considering they were facing one of the best teams in the NHL. All in all, it was a very entertaining game to watch and certainly brought back memories of 2005-06. The team looks very good right now and it will be interesting to see if they can get on a roll, something that alluded them in the inconsistent debacle of last year. The next game is Saturday night in Montreal, which should be another good one!