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Staal gets boarded and aftermath
Things got a bit out of hand last night at the RBC Center as the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. The Canes came out of the dressingroom and took it to the surprised team from Minnesota right from the get-go. They looked like they were going to run the Wild right out of the rink, but to Minnesota's credit, they held in there and made a game out of it.
About 6 minutes into the 3rd period, the Wild's Aaron Voros started a near riot on the ice as he boarded Eric Staal, right in front of the Wild bench. While I wouldn't call the hit a vicious one, it was certainly stupid and dangerous. As you can see from the video, Staal had his back to the play and was in a vulnerable position. Voros had plenty of opportunity to back off, but didn't.
Pardon my rant, but I just don't understand the lack of respect by some players in this league. It seems like if they have a chance to hurt someone, they will take it. Hitting people from behind is a cowardly way to play hockey. If Voros wants to lay a tough hit on Staal, then fine, do it face to face. Why take the cowardly way? Where's the honor?
The questionable hit sparked immediate retaliation from the other Hurricanes on the ice. Of course Erik Cole had his neck broken 2 years ago on a similar play and he went right after Voros. Obviously, the whole team is going to be ultra sensitive about those types of hits. Unfortunately for the Canes, they had 2 players ejected after the incident (Walker and Cole), while the Wild only lost one, (Carney). After serving his penalties, Voros was allowed to stay in the game, and he was the one who caused the whole mess.
If any fans are wondering how the Hurricanes have been able to put together this remarkable streak that they have going, (9-1-1 in their last 11 games at home, 7-2-1 in their last 10 overall), look no further than what happened on that play. In my opinion, this group of individuals is more like a real TEAM right now, than they have been at any time since the Cup win. They are playing together, playing for each other, and playing with passion. Each of them have embraced their own particular roles, and they are playing with everything that they have. They should all be commended.
Back to the game....
Matt Cullen opened the scoring on a deflection of a Joe Corvo shot. Corvo has been nothing short of spectacular since he's been acquired from the Senators. Now everyone knows why Jim Rutherford has been clamoring for a puck-moving defenseman. Not only has Corvo revitalized the powerplay, he's also been a positive force during 5 on 5 play and has scored 4 goals and has 5 assists so far in his 11 games with Carolina.
Scott Walker scored the next goal on a pass from Eric Staal and staked the Canes to a 2-0 lead. At the time, the Canes were out-shooting the Wild by a large margin. The Wild scored the next 2 goals though, tying the game early in the 2nd period on a nice move by Mikko Koivu. Later in the period, Erik Cole scored the eventual game winner as he deflected a Matt Cullen blast into the net.
Wade Brookbank was injured earlier in the contest, so the Hurricanes finished the last 14 minutes of the game down 3 forwards. Somehow, they found a way to hold on as Cam Ward made a multitude of tough saves down the stretch. This was a game which really showed the fortitude of the team right now, as they gutted out the victory.
Post game notes.....
Bret Hedican took a personal day because of the death of a friend back home, not because of an injury as we previously assumed.
Eric Staal and Wade Brookbank are both okay after being on the wrong side of some questionable hits. They will play against Buffalo tomorrow.
The Canes are taking a day off today to rest up after the back to back victories.
The win puts the team 5 points in front of Washington, but the Caps have 2 games in hand.