Sooner or later, the home ice winning streak had to come to an end, and it came to a resounding thud last night as the Carolina Hurricanes lost to the NY Rangers by a score of 4-2. The home team came out of the dressing room flat in the first period and several players didn't have their "A" games, even when the intensity did pick up later in the contest. Still, if you were going to choose a game to lose, this would probably be the one since it is out of division.
The Rangers completely dominated the 1st period, at one time leading the all important "shots on goal" category by a 15-2 margin. A couple of costly turnovers in the Hurricanes zone led to New York goals with Brandon Dubinsky potting one and Sean Avery getting the other. The period ended 2-0, New York.
The Blueshirts upped their lead to 3-0 early in the 2nd period as Chris Drury outworked Frank Kaberle in front of the Carolina net and poked in a rebound. Cam Ward slammed his stick in disgust after the play, but Drury earns a healthy living because of consistently making plays like that one. Erik Cole finally got one for the good guys, making the score 3-1 and giving fans some hope for a comeback.
The 3rd period was a better one for Carolina, but they had a rough time getting anything past Henrik Lundqvist. Erik Cole found a way though on a fluke play. While Cole was skating toward the net, it appeared that the puck bounced off of a New York defenseman and into the goal.
Brendan Shanahan closed out the scoring as he fired in a wide open shot, beating Cam Ward high and knocking his water bottle off of the top of net in the process. That made the final score 4-2 in a rather uneventful contest that had very little of the drama from the Jersey game on Tuesday night.
Some amateur observations from the peanut gallery.....
I thought that the defense had a horrible game. They were beaten to the puck time after time, had numerous turnovers, and allowed too many open chances. It was just one of those nights. You could tell that they missed injured Tim Gleason.
Several of the forwards were off of their games. The passing was not smooth and the powerplay seemed out of synch. Matt Cullen didn't seem like the same player as Tuesday night. Hopefully, he didn't take a turn for the worse with his earlier vision problems.
Ray Whitney played somewhat sparingly in the game, leaving the bench to go to the dressingroom at times, but then returning to the ice. It's been reported that he is either suffering from a groin problem or an infected foot, or both. If it's not one thing, (flu), it's another thing, (injury), with this team.
Sean Avery is still a piece of "work". Scott Walker was trying to get him to dance all night long, to no avail. Obviously, Avery had no intentions of throwing down with anyone. Colton Orr wasn't in the lineup to fight the battles for him that he starts. One of these days, I hope Avery gets the beat down that he deserves.
Tim Conboy had a nice throwdown with Ryan Callahan. Conboy played pretty well and I think that he didn't have as bad of a game as some of the other, more experienced defensemen had.
I have to give the Canes credit for trying to make a game of it, even after it was 3-0 and it was obvious that they were not on their "A" games. They can not be expected to play with the same high level of intensity every single night, and I think fans understand that there would be a drop-off at some point.
The loss gives Carolina a record of 7-1-1 in their last 9 home games, still very respectable. The Rangers are also a very hot team, and losing to them is no disgrace. But losing to Tampa Bay on Saturday night, would be.
The boys need to put this loss behind them and take it out on what should be, a tired Tampa team who has to play tonight against Toronto before they fly into Raleigh for the match with Carolina on Saturday night.