Joe Corvo, who was once dubbed "Uh Oh" Corvo by the Ottawa press, enjoyed a bit of retribution last night as he scored his first career hat-trick against his former team and helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Ottawa Senators, 5-1.
The game was the first one between the teams since the huge trade in which Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman were sent to the Sens while Corvo and Patrick Eaves were dealt to the Hurricanes. While technically it is still too early to determine who got the best of the deal, Corvo and Eaves certainly made a strong case for Carolina last night.
After Dany Heatley got the Senators on the scoreboard first while taking advantage of a 5 on 3 situation, the Hurricanes came back with a vengeance, starting off with a goal by Patrick Eaves as he tipped in a Frank Kaberle blast from the point. Mike Commodore was in the penalty box at the time serving 2 minutes for boarding.
Joe Corvo got the next goal, also on a powerplay and also because of another Mike Commodore penalty. This time the big redhead was holding. The 1st period ended with the score, Canes 2 Sens 1.
The 2nd period was all Carolina as they dominated from start to finish. Even though they outshot the Ottawa team 13-3, they could only light the lamp one time as Scott Walker took a beautiful pass from Tim Gleason to make it 3-1, Canes.
The 3rd period belonged to Corvo as he scored on another of his patented 100 MPH blasts from the point on a powerplay just 2 minutes into the period. Finally with just a couple of minutes left in the game, newcomer Tuomo Ruutu found Corvo streaking toward the Ottawa zone at the blueline and hit him with a perfect pass in stride. The defenseman looked more like a scoring forward on the play as he faked out Martin Gerber and flicked the puck over him for the final tally of the game.
Eric Staal had another monster game with 3 assists and an overall outstanding performance. He led the team with over 25 minutes of ice time, was a force on the powerplay, killed penalties, and usually dictated the flow of the game while he was out there. On one penalty kill, he single-handedly outworked 3 or 4 Senators while somehow keeping the puck in their zone for a prolonged period of time.
Eaves, Staal and Corvo were the 3 stars of the game.
Cam Ward certainly wasn't over-worked, but was rock solid when called upon. The win gives the Hurricanes a remarkable 12-1-1 record in their last 14 games at home. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games overall.
Both Washington and Florida won their respective games, so Carolina still holds a 5 point lead in the division race.
Some thoughts from the peanut gallery.....
Before the game, I thought that the Hurricanes would be hard-pressed to even compete in this contest. After getting blown out in Buffalo and losing Matt Cullen again to injury, I felt like perhaps there was just too much adversity for them to overcome. Was I ever wrong.
The Sens looked flat. I'm not sure if it was because the Hurricanes played so well, or maybe because they felt like I did before the game, that this would be an easy one for them. Either way, they can't be very happy with that poor performance at this stage in the season.
Tim Conboy dropped the gloves once again and held his own in a skirmish with Martin LaPointe. He certainly understands his role on this team and has embraced it wholeheartedly.
Trevor Letowski, Erik Cole, Sergei Samsonov, and Scott Walker each had great games as well. Obviously, the whole team played very well.
Peter Laviolette decided to dress 7 defensemen again and sat Pat Dwyer in the pressbox. Newcomer Joe Jensen had a tough time of it as he seemed to be fighting injuries, or some kind of pain on and off during the game. He did manage 7 minutes of playing time though and finished with a +1.
The rest of the Albany boys picked right up where they left off in previous games with their gritty hustle and hard work. Keith Aucoin and Ryan Bayda didn't make a presence on the scoresheet, but they had major contributions.
One just can't say enough about this team and how they have refused to give up, even with all the adversity they have faced and continue to face. Many fans felt like they would fold the tent and call it a season after Rod Brind'Amour went down with a season ending knee injury. But the Canes did the exact opposite, they played harder and with more determination than ever.
With the recent bad news about Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, again they could have easily told themselves that the bad luck was finally too much to overcome. Well they didn't do that, and a sell out crowd of 18,000 plus at the RBC Center on Sunday evening, was sure glad they didn't.