Hope you were not late for the Carolina Hurricanes game on Tuesday night because if you blinked your eyes, you might have missed something. The Canes not only scored early - it was 2-0 just 75 seconds into the game - but they also scored often as they dominated the Edmonton Oilers, 7-1.
Just 7:19 into the first period, the score was 4-0, Nikolai Khabibulin was yanked, and the rout was officially on.
Regardless of the score, the Hurricanes did not let up in this one and ended up out-shooting, the perhaps road weary visitors, by a 42-22 margin. For the first time this season, the Canes also won 50% of their faceoffs, to complete the victory.
Oilers fans probably had a feeling this was not going to be their night early on. Brandon Sutter sent a puck to the crease and it bounced in the net off of Patrick Dwyer's skate at the 26 second mark. After a proper review, it was determined that there was no kicking motion and it was 1-0, Canes.
Shortly after, Joni Pitkanen inadvertently high-sticked Andrew Cogliano while covering him on defense, but the call was missed. The Edmonton center left the game for awhile to be stitched up. A few seconds later, the Canes went on the powerplay and they almost scored immediately as Jeff Skinner found Erik Cole with a perfect pass and Cole tipped the puck past the "Bulin Wall".
A couple of minutes later, the Canes were on another powerplay and this time Skinner found Joe Corvo sneaking behind the defense in an open seam and the hot defenseman made no mistake. 3-0, Canes.
The fourth goal of the game came on a rush. Eric Staal had the puck and delivered it perfectly to an open Chad LaRose, who roofed it over the beleaguered goalie. With the score 4-0, coach Tom Renney had seen enough and Devan Dubnyk came in to relieve Khabibulin.
Four minutes and change into the second period, Corvo scored another powerplay goal, this time on a cross ice feed from Jussi Jokinen.
The score stayed 5-0 until one minute into the third period when Sergei Samsonov scored against his former team when he flicked a backhander past Dubnyk.
Dustin Penner ruined the shutout bid, but Cam Ward ended up with 21 saves on 22 shots.
Jeff Skinner closed out the scoring on another rush as Tuomo Ruutu fed him nicely. The rookie just got his stick on the puck and tipped it over the goalie. That gave Skinner three points on the night and 15 points in 15 games so far this season. He continues to lead all NHL rookies in scoring.
Eric Staal finished with four assists, also giving him 15 points for a point a game average.
The Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner matchup many were anticipating never materialized as Hall was silent in this game and was benched midway through the second period. The draft's number one pick finished with 8:47 of playing time and only 13 shifts for the game. At one point, he slammed his stick against the glass in frustration as he was called for offsides.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- The Canes had 12 different players with points and five players with multiple points. Brandon Sutter and Joni Pitkanen each had two assists. Pitkanen was a team high (+3) against his former team.
- Carolina finished 3 of 7 with the man advantage, and the fourth liners were getting powerplay time in the third period. The club scored on three of the first four powerplay chances they had.
Tim Gleason and Anton Babchuk shared team high honors with 3 blocked shots each.
- Brandon Sutter was called for his first penalty of the season. That might be it for the rest of the year.
- Tom Kostopoulos earned a penalty shot during a second period breakaway while shorthanded. He missed his chance, but had another good chance in the third period while on the powerplay. It was just not meant to be though as he couldn't connect. After the game I asked him if he had made up his mind what he was going to do before he started off on his shot, or was he going to wait to see what the goalie was going to give him. He responded that he skated to the bench and asked if anyone had the book on this goalie. No one initially responded, then Justin Peters told him to shoot it high, blocker side. With a chuckle, TK said, "I should have listened to him."
- Faceoffs were the best they were all season, (50%). Staal was at 53%, Ruutu 40%, Sutter 58%, and Matsumoto was 38%. Of course, the Oilers are the second worst team in the league while in the circle.
- The team lit up the Oilers for 42 shots, led by Eric Staal with eight. After his four assists tonight, the center now has eight points in his last four games.
- Tuomo Ruutu and Jay Harrison tied with five hits each, another team high.
- Joni Pitkanen led both teams with 23:43 of ice time.
- The red hot Joe Corvo now has four goals in his last five games.
- After two shutouts at home, the Canes have now scored 17 goals in their last three games at the RBC.
Here are a couple of post game interviews: