The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins last night, 4-3 in front of a sold out crowd at the RBC. For the first time in 7 games, Carolina scored the first tally and they never were trailing in the contest. The Bruins made a game of it though, answering almost each Carolina goal with one of their own.
Rod Brind'Amour started the scoring off with a very tight angled shot from a rebound off of a Nic Wallin shot. Chuck Kobasew answered with a short-handed goal just 2 minutes later. Less then 3 minutes after that goal, Mike Commodore rifled a shot that clanked the post and went in, giving the Hurricanes a lead they never would relinquish. Eric Staal won the face-off cleanly on that play, sending the puck directly to Commodore for the open shot.
In the 2nd period, both teams played a bit more cautiously. Toward the end of the period, Chad LaRose was able to find an opening on a penalty kill and took the puck to the net at breakneck speed. Bruins defenseman, Dennis Wideman tripped LaRose while he was in the clear and Chad was awarded a penalty shot, the 2nd for him so far this season! LaRose made a beautiful move and backhanded the puck over goalie Tim Thomas, who played well, but was leaving a ton of juicy rebounds most of the night. Canes 3, Bruins 1.
The 3rd period's intensity picked up right from the get-go as PJ Axelsson rifled a shot in over Cam Ward's glove, making the score 3-2 less than a minute into the period. Eric Staal answered again for the Hurricanes though as he was able to use his quick hands to pull the puck out of clutter and into the net on yet another rebound, this time from an Andrew Ladd attempt. Canes 4, Bruins 2.
The Bruins wasted no time in answering the bell though as Phil Kessel slipped one past Ward to make it a tight contest once again, just 11 clicks of the clock after Staal's goal. That was the end of the scoring for the game, but not due to lack of effort by either team. The Bruins hit heavy metal a couple of times during the night and if those shots went in, it would have made things much more interesting. Of course, how many times have we said that about the Canes?
Some observations from the cheapseats...
I thought that Phil Kessel looked good and it's hard to believe that he was benched in Boston's previous game. Marc Savard also played well for the visitors and finished with 2 assists.
Mike Commodore completed the game an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat-trick. After a punishing hit to PJ Axelsson in the 3rd period, he was jumped by Boston's Mark Stuart and the two duked it out, both drawing 5 minute majors for fighting. Stuart also was called for instigating and was tossed from the contest. The hit was definitely a clean one, as Mike hit PJ from the side, almost leading with his hip. Axelsson was at an awkward position though, and left the game injured after the blow.
Cam Ward had 18 saves, but I thought that it wasn't his best night. He was helped by the post a few times, and mis-played the puck badly behind his net at one point in the 2nd period. Eric Staal actually dove in the open crease to save a goal from being scored. Staal played a superb game and was all over the rink. Andrew Ladd also looked good, even though he was playing inhibited with a cage over his helmet.
Bret Hedican left the game early as he crashed into the boards awkwardly with Chuck Kobasew. From my amateur viewpoint, it looked to me like Bret was attempting to pull up because he didn't want to crush Kobasew into the boards and got injured when his knee twisted as he pulled up. But maybe it just looked like he was pulling up because his knee buckled. In any event, Hedican is out for an undetermined period of time right now.
It was good times as the Canes got the win and much needed two points. The game was an exciting one for the home crowd. It was bad times as the team lost yet another regular player to injury, and play was very loose at times again in the team's own zone. The win, along with Florida's loss gave the Hurricanes a 4 point lead in their division. The schedule doesn't let up as they prepare to play Columbus tonight at the Nationwide Arena. More about that game in just a bit!
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