The Hurricanes beat the Thrashers 5-3 last night in a fun game to watch that had almost non-stop action. The offense was fast, the defense was loose, and both teams let it all hang out. The game basically boiled down to goalkeeping, and fortunately for the Hurricanes their Conn Smythe award winner Cam Ward outplayed the Thrashers hot rookie from the Czech Republic, Ondrej Pavelec. Carolina deserves a lot of credit because they did exactly what they had to do to win this game. They generated more shots than the opposition, crashed the net, scored some goals on effort alone, and got some great goaltending from Ward when they needed it most. Let's face it, this team isn't going to win many 1-0 or 2-1 games this year, they need maximum effort by the offense night in and night out to win games. For the most part last night, that's exactly what they got.
Team leader Rod Brind'Amour had 2 goals, including a very important one with just a few clicks left in the 1st period to tie the score at 1-1. In a rather unusual powerplay in the 2nd, Marian Hossa scored a shortie which was followed up with a goal by Justin Williams during the same powerplay, making the score 2-2. Dennis Seidenberg and Eric Staal both made beautiful passes on that play. Yes, Herr Seidenberg was back in the country and back on the ice for the Canes! Brind'Amour scored his 2nd goal later in the same period, giving the Canes a 3-2 lead going into the 3rd. Cory Stillman scored next on a nice play from Erik Cole. The Thrashers didn't throw in the towel yet though and put some intense pressure on Ward. Hossa finally found a chink in Wardo's armor, tightening the score to 4-3 and making things interesting once again for Atlanta fans. Cam was equal to the task the rest of the game though. Eric Staal knocked in a loose puck near the end of the game to finish the scoring.
Unlike the previous game against Tampa, the Canes cranked up the effort and intensity for this one, and it showed. They play again on Monday night in southern Florida against the "puddie cats". I wonder if the term for "jumping head first into the water" will come up on Monday? Hopefully the Panthers, their goofy coach, and the "hockey savvy" sportswriters who cover the team have learned a lesson, that they shouldn't rile up the highest scoring team in the league. On second thought, hopefully they didn't learn. I look forward to seeing more articles soon!
I almost forgot to mention, the Canes made a trade on Friday with their minor league affiliate, the Albany River Rats. Keith Aucoin was sent back to them and he was replaced by Ryan Bayda who played last night. I can see why I forgot to mention it, does it really matter? I liked what I saw of Aucoin when he had the chance to play but with reports of Andrew Ladd getting better, it probably won't matter who will soon be sitting in the press box, Aucoin or Bayda.
In other prospect news, goalie Daniel Manzato, who was recently assigned on loan to the Charlotte Checkers was released by them and re-assigned to Las Vegas, the same team that Kevin Nastiuk played for on loan last year. Daniel has been bounced around a bit here and I'm very surprised that he didn't return to Europe when he found out that he didn't make the River Rats. Hopefully he enjoys his stay in "sin city".
Finally, ex-Hurricane alternate captain Kevyn Adams seriously injured his knee this week and is out indefinitely. It's reported as a torn left ACL, so he could be out the rest of the year. It's a shame because Kevyn seemed to find a place where he was wanted and needed in Chicago. He's a quality person, well-liked by fans, and appreciated by the media here, we wish him a quick recovery.