Last night at the RBC, the Montreal Canadiens handed the Carolina Hurricanes their worse loss so far this season, 7-4. Most of the Canes were sleepwalking throughout the 1st period, not really waking up until they were down 5-1. (maybe they skipped their afternoon naps because their dads were in town?) The entire 1st period was just an undisciplined, penalty filled nightmare. The Habs showed off their impressive powerplay, scoring 4 powerplay goals in that period alone and making it look easy in the process. The 4 powerplay goals allowed in one period is a new franchise record for Carolina.
To the boys credit, at least they didn't give up and tried to make a game of it. In the first period Eric Staal made a beautiful pass to Jeff Hamilton, and "the Hammer" easily re-directed the puck into the net for the Canes first goal. Hamilton had a good game I thought, as did Staal. Eric was hauled down from behind in the 2nd period while breaking away and was awarded a penalty shot. He confidently buried the shot, making the score 5-2 at the time. (again, shades of Staal in 2005-06). Just before that shot though, Caniacs were forced to take a stroll through the land of "referee bizarro world". While the 4rth line was out there, at one point they created a lot of activity in front of Huet. Bayda was mixing it up with Bouillon. The puck was bouncing around and came out to Craig Adams who put it in the net for an apparent goal. Both referees pointed to the net, signifying goal, but mysteriously it was waived off after the play because one of them blew their whistle or maybe wanted to blow their whistle because Bayda and Bouillon were fighting? The reason the goal doesn't count still confuses me. It was one of those strange plays that didn't make any sense because if one of the refs wanted to stop play, why did they both point to the net? At least the play woke up the crowd and gave them reason to cheer, or in this case, boo loudly. There was another unusual incident where Justin Williams seemed to be in an altercation with 2 Habs. Gloves were off and fists were flying, on both sides. When the linesmen finally got everything under control, Williams got a roughing call and there was nothing given to either of the Habs. Huh? I guess Williams was the only player doing anything there? 99% of the time, matching minors are given in those cases. The Habs had a 3rd person enter the fray and could have easily drawn an extra penalty for that. Very strange. It's almost like the refs were using a new rulebook. While the Canes made their own beds with their lackluster performance in the 1st period, the bad calls were momentum killers and hurt any realistic chance of a comeback. I could blame this all on Tim Peel, but in my opinion refereeing this year has been an adventure no matter who is wearing the striped shirt. I'm not sure why they seem to see things differently than the majority of us see them, but for some reason they do.
Carolina scored twice in the 3rd period, once by Ray Whitney from a beautiful feed by Keith Aucoin and the final by Rod Brind'Amour, after his line dominated play in the Habs zone for over 2 continuous minutes before finally getting the puck in the net. The tally kept Brind'Amour's 8 game point streak alive. Cam Ward started the game but was relieved of his duties after allowing 5 goals on 15 shots in the 1st period. "Wardo" certainly wasn't on his game, but of course 4 of the goals were PP goals and one was put in by his own defenseman, Mike Commodore. John Grahame came in to start the 2nd period and played well enough except for one whacky play. For some reason it looked like he just flipped the puck over his shoulder behind the net and the puck went right out of play, necessitating another delay of game penalty. Why he did that, I have no idea but that was another momentum killer.
The Canes can put this game behind them quickly since they take on the NY Islanders tonight at 7. Their dads are along for the ride and are scheduled to visit Manhattan during the day. Hopefully, the boys get a chance to rest before the game so that they won't need another 5 goal wake up call in the first before they find their legs!Â Erik Cole and Andrew Ladd are both doubtful, but possible for the game.
Stone Temple Pilots