Boston Bruins (1-2-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (0-2-1)
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT | RBC Center | Raleigh, NC
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3:55 1st: The Canes would rather be both lucky and good, but they'll gladly take either one. Cam Ward saved their bacon on a flailing save off a broken play in front of the net; the puck bounced around and Nathan Horton shoveled it across the crease to Milan Lucic at the far post, who had a wide open net but was somehow stoned by the shaft of Ward's stick which he threw down on the ice in desperation. If that's a harbinger of things to come, we're in for a show tonight.
8:30 1st: Say this for the Canes' special teams: the power play might be a problem, but the penalty kill looks worlds better than it did even last week. They're getting sticks in passing lanes all over the ice, and they've have two good bouts of shorthanded pressure during their two penalty kills so fartonight. It helps that the Bruins look a little rusty on the power play - something we know rather well around here - but the Canes don't mind that a bit.
12:40 1st: If there was any doubt about what the Canes were up against, it's gone now. First Brad Marchand and Jeff Skinner got into a minor altercation in front of the Canes' bench, leaving Skinner steaming on the bench, then a few minutes later Johnny Boychuk laid a clean hipcheck on Eric Staal right in front of the Canes' penalty box, with little response from the home crew. Says here the Canes are going to need to get in some faces to push back.
18:45 1st: Skinner and McQuaid get into it again at the near post after Skinner drew a penalty on Chris Kelly late in the period, and Skinner bodyslammed McQuaid down to the ice. Can't imagine Paul Maurice is thrilled about this, although the emotion is sure a nice problem to have.
End 1st: The Canes lead 13-10 in shots and have 48 seconds remaining on the Kelly hooking penalty that they'll start the second period with.
:42 2nd: Canes lead 1-0; Pitkanen 1 (Kaberle, Jokinen) (pp) Yes, it's a power play goal. Joni Pitkanen had the puck at a shallow angle in the near faceoff circle with only a few seconds left in the penalty, and he waited all day to shoot the puck. When he finally did, Eric Staal had set up a perfect screen in front of Thomas, who had no clue the puck was coming toward him until it had gone into (and back out of) the net.
5:42 2nd: At the risk of jinxing the Canes, Tim Thomas is having a poor night handling the puck and the Canes are forcing turnovers almost every time they get even a little bit of a forecheck in the Boston zone. Looks like the Canes' coaches are noticing the same thing and are encouraging the team to shoot the puck early and often; they already have eighteen shots and we aren't even halfway home.
11:05 2nd: If the Canes haven't read Bob's story about the Canes' penalty woes (/shameless plug), it might not be a bad idea for them to do so.. Yes, the Canes' penalty kill has been stellar tonight, but the fact they've taken five penalties in the first half of the game isn't exactly inspiring confidence in their ability to stay out of the box.
15:20 2nd: The message got through to the Canes: put men in front of Thomas. It's rare to see the Canes put anyone of note in front of the net on a power play, but it's even more rare to see two guys in front of the net. Staal and Tuomo Ruutu did the dirty work, completely isolating Thomas from the play. Tomas Kaberle wasn't able to get his shot through, but if he did Thomas would have had no way to track it.
End 2nd: Seven shots apiece in the second period, and the Canes' penalty kill is the story of the night. And that's saying something considering a power play goal at this point qualifies for a breaking news alert. Can't ask for any more than what we've seen from the Canes' penalty kill squads tonight.
3:42 3rd: Canes make it 2-0; Stewart 1 (Brent, Gleason) All that angst about the fourth line's ice time? They made it pay tonight with a gorgeous forechecking shift ending in Anthony Stewart's first goal as a Hurricane. A rebound bounced to Tim Brent, who fed it back to Stewart in the near circle. Stewart fired, and the puck bounced off Dennis Seidenberg's stick in front of the net and past Thomas, who was visibly disgusted that he let it get by.
4:07 3rd: Bruins on the board, down 2-1; Seguin 1 (Horton, McQuaid) Twenty-five seconds later, Tyler Seguin put the Bruins back to within one on a laser shot that no goalie in the history of hockey had any chance of stopping: quick wrist shot from the bottom of the near circle, earmarked for the top corner of the net over Ward's left shoulder. Can't say enough about how nice that shot looked, though. Wow.
8:16 3rd: Loud applause for a Canes power play that didn't score. (Wait, what?!) The Canes are 1-for-3 with the man advantage tonight, but every time they've been on the power play they've been a threat to score. See, all that hand-wringing over the power play in the preseason may have been for nothing after all.
11:30 3rd: Jiri Tlusty beaten with a quick acceleration by Benoit Pouliot? No big deal, Tim Gleason's there to clean up the mess. Ward has been good tonight - that Lucic save in the first period a perfect example - but the Canes have played some great hockey in their own zone tonight. Good to see, especially with the way they've run out of gas in the third period most of the season.
13:32 3rd: Canes back up by two; Tlusty 1 (Sutter, Dwyer) Tlusty atones for his earlier mistake by wiring a wrister home from the slot fifteen feet out to beat Thomas high to the glove side. Nice job by Brandon Sutter to set the table for him then immediately go to the front of the net to rattle Thomas, even though it wasn't a screen. The Canes started the night crowding Thomas and they haven't let up yet. Perhaps the message finally got through?
16:35 3rd: Bruins back to within 1; Marchand 2 (Bergeron, Corvo) With the sixth man on the ice thanks to what would have been a slashing penalty to Chad LaRose, the Canes were unable to clear and Patrice Bergeron passed the puck to Brad Marchand, who fired a knuckler that fooled Ward and deflected into the net off his glove.
End 3rd: That'll do it. Shots end 34-23, and the Canes probably should have had a goal as Staal was hauled down on a breakaway with 2.3 seconds to go and skating towards an empty net. Oh well; the Canes will gladly take two points against the defending champs.