The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the RBC yesterday by a score of 1-0. The victory was the first for the Canes this preseason and gave them an overall record of 1-3, with two more games to play.
Sergei Samsonov was the number one star of the game. Not only did he score the game winner with a nonchalant backhander, but he also dazzled the crowd throughout the game with his brilliant puckhandling and slick moves. Michael Leighton played the entire contest and picked up the shutout for the home team. He wasn't exactly over-worked as the Flyers could only muster 21 shots on goal, but he was solid and made a super glove save near the end of the game when it counted the most.
Matt Cullen was knocked down again while skating across the middle of the ice and left the game early as a "precautionary" measure. After the game, John Forslund did admit to Mike Maniscalco that Cullen had a "sore neck." That could be a very minor thing, or it could just be the beginning of other problems, who knows?
Scott Walker took exception to the hit on Cullen and immediately went over to challenge Nate Guenin, the perpetrator. The Flyers' defenseman got the point as Walker landed a couple of good shots, but he hurt his hand on the other combatant's visor. Coach Laviolette made a comment after the game about hoping that Walker leaves his gloves on for the rest of the preseason.
Joseph Melichar took a puck to the face which drew a lot of blood, but he was able to return to the ice after getting some treatment. Kudos to him for returning to a meaningless, exhibition game. That shows some toughness and some class.
The game was a pretty competitive contest even though several prospects played for both teams. Eric Staal played for the first time and had a good, physical showing. The lines started out as the following-
After Cullen left the game, they replaced him with O'Neill, who played the cycle game with Walker and Bayda.
The first line played very well and Patrick Eaves looked like he belonged. They created a ton of chances throughout the game. It also seemed like Sutter and LaRose had some good chemistry together. They both came very close to scoring, with each other's help.
Obviously, the defense was solid as they only allowed 21 shots.
After the game, the Hurricanes made another round of cuts. Drayson Bowman was returned to his juniors team, the Spokane Chiefs. Murley, Petruzalek, Samson, Babin, Bellemore, Carson, Flood, and Borer were each sent to Albany. It was a bit of a surprise that Borer left already. He was the first recall last season, and it seemed like he had a decent camp. Apparently, it wasn't as good as the camp that Bryan Rodney is having, who will stay with the club for now.
Players on the outs, still trying to work their way in include- Jeff O'Neill, Dan LaCouture, Trevor Gillies, Joe Jensen, Dwight Helminen, Zach Boychuk, and Brandon Sutter.
Boychuk has looked very good in practice, even as he has been fighting a wrist injury which has kept him out of game action. Jim Rutherford is in the process of attempting to sign the youngster.
Sutter has looked better in recent games and came very close to scoring his first yesterday afternoon.
According to John Forslund, Dan LaCouture has the inside track to make the team over Jeff O'Neill at this point in training camp. O'Neill has looked okay, but hasn't shown enough to make the team, at least according to Forslund.
I think that might make a great poll question. Who do you think deserves to make the team, LaCouture, O'Neill, or neither of them? Vote on the right sidebar, one vote allowed per IP address.
The injury problem seems to be getting a little better. Ruutu, Whitney, Brind'Amour, and Babchuk skated after practice yesterday. Obviously, Corvo and Samsonov both played, so their injuries must be very minor.
The Canes are off today and will be participating in a golf tournament. Let's just hope that there are not any accidents out there.