When Andrew Ladd was informed about the big trade the other day involving Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman, he replied, "Cory who?" and promptly took Stillman's spot in Carolina's top 6 and helped himself to some of the veteran's previous ice time as well. Young Ladd made the most of his extra opportunities last night as he scored 2 goals in the first period to help the Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Ladd's first goal was on a quick shot from the slot area which surprised goalie Alex Auld. Rod Brind'Amour and Bret Hedican got the assists. Just 3 minutes later, Ladd scored again as he redirected a puck with his skate into the net to make it 2-0, Hurricanes. Brind'Amour had rifled the puck in the goal-mouth area and picked up another assist on the play. The puck was very close to being kicked in, but it was ruled a goal on the ice and the play held up under review. Sergei Samsonov picked up the secondary assist.
Speaking of Samsonov, I thought he played a very good overall game again tonight. He was forechecking, cycling, stick-handling, passing, and putting on a show out there. Eventually he got his just rewards. Late in the 2nd period he skated the puck almost completely up the ice, then made a circle around the net. As he came up from behind the goal, he sent a pass over to Frank Kaberle at the point who wisely put the puck on net. Sergei had cut back toward the goal and slipped the rebound past Auld making the score 3-0. Joe Corvo picked up his first assist as a Hurricane on that play.
The Bruins made things interesting with 5 minutes left in the game as Cam Ward allowed a softie by Shawn Thornton to bounce in off of him. Just 27 seconds later, Thornton scored again as he slapped in a puck that laid uncovered in the crease. Ward thought that he had it covered, but the puck slipped behind him and Thornton beat Eric Staal in a race to the net to tap in the loose change.
Ward and the rest of the Hurricanes were equal to the task the rest of the way though and held on to the narrow victory. All in all, the goalie had another very good game and made a couple of tremendous point-blank glove saves. He looked in control and it seemed like he would get a shut-out up until his miscue late in the contest.
I thought that the 3rd line of Ryan Bayda, Keith Aucoin, and Scott Walker looked very good. They controlled the puck for long periods of time and generated a few chances. Bayda looked like he had some more jump in his step than he has had in the past. The first line of Staal, Cole and Whitney had a tough night but they were skating, back-checking, and playing hard. Erik Cole had one beautiful defensive play late in the game when he caught up to Marc Savard, lifted his stick, and stripped him of the puck. Savard looked like he had a wide open track to the front of the net.
The victory gave the Hurricanes it's 2nd win on this 5 game road trip and puts them back into 1st place in the division for now. The team headed back home after the game and will prepare for the Penguins at the RBC on Thursday night. Newcomer Joe Corvo played okay, but wasn't the immediate cure for the powerplay like I boldly predicted. It looks like it might take some time for him to fit in, but he did show off his amazing shot and played fairly solid defense. Andrew Ladd currently leads the team with a 3 game point streak. It would be great to see him continue to pick up his game and be the player many of us predicted that he could be.
I see that the Sens lost to the Sabres 5-1 during the debut of Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. Stillman picked up the secondary assist on the lone Ottawa goal while Commie was a -2. Maybe the hockey gods didn't like all of the Canadian bragging about how the Hurricanes got "fleeced" on that trade? As I said earlier, time will tell. Happy Hump Day!