The Hurricanes lost a tough game Saturday night, 1-0 to the St. Louis Blues. The Blues goalie, Manny Legace was rock solid in net, plus the St. Louis defenders played a very tight game, hardly allowing any uncontested shots at their netminder. The Canes came out full of jump and played one of the most energetic 60 minutes of hockey that they have played all season. They just couldn't get anything into the net.
Michael Leighton got the start again in goal, and played very well. The single goal that he allowed was on a close in shot by Lee Stepniak. He made several excellent saves and also got solid support from the defense. It looks as though Leighton usually uses his size, (6'3), to his benefit and doesn't flop around when things get hectic in the crease. One thing that I have noticed though is that he seems to have a tendency to slide out of position on occasion while protecting against shots coming from angles.
I think that Casey Borer continuted to impress for the 3rd consecutive game. Is it possible that the rookie has been one of Carolina's best defensemen lately? I remember one outstanding play when Leighton left an open net and Borer laid a body on Paul Kariya, keeping him away from the puck. Then he swept the puck out of harm's way, after he had sealed off Kariya. It's nice to see that kind of strength and decision-making from a youngster.
The defense as a whole played better Saturday night. Players seemed to be blocking more shots and staying with their assignments. The offense generated more chances than the Blues could muster, but still to no avail. The boys from Albany continued to play pretty well. I think they have provided a necessary spark and energy to the team, even if that hasn't yet translated to a lot of points. All in all though, it was a loss I think that fans can live with.
I'll try to share my opinions about some current trade rumors a bit later. Happy Monday!