Following an upbeat, shot-heavy, goal-heavy and Brooklyn-accent-heavy loss in Barclays on Thursday, the Hurricanes bounced back to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 in what could likely be described as what a Penguins or Capitals fan probably thinks of a Carolina - Buffalo game: not a ton of scoring, fairly sloppy and probably boring.
But for Carolina fans, a win is a win right now, especially in a season where the Hurricanes have fixed some issues from last year but failed to show it on the scoreboard.
That’s exciting to me!
Wait...what’s this? I’m hearing that people weren’t exactly thrilled by the first period. I can’t say I was necessarily captivated, but then again half of the time I was still blowing my mind to pieces remembering that Justin Faulk is playing against Justin Falk.
A great thing about the “boring” play in the first part of the game was that most of it fell on the shoulders of Buffalo, as they couldn’t even rattle off a shot on goal for more than 17 minutes of game time. I mean, it was just a simple straight-on shot with no traffic — more of a warmup for Darling than an actual scoring chance — but Buffalo fans cheered it heartily. That’s how long it took for Buffalo to do, um, ANYTHING!
You’ve probably already seen Justin Williams’ goal to open up the Carolina scoring, but it’s worth one more watch. It speaks for itself.
I call it the Stop, Drop and Score.
After getting mercilessly robbed by Scott Darling on a few good chances earlier in the game, Evander Kane finally beat Darling, this time with a low wrist shot to the five hole to tie the game.
Quick article break for the Funny Thing of the Night:
Our Funny Thing of the Night tonight is a hysterical quote, and we want you to guess who asked it. Ready? Here we go!
I…was pretty self-conscious of not making a kicking motion and kicking the puck in the net.
Who said it?
- Bill Peters
- Justin Falk
- Justin Faulk (I mean seriously this is just so cool)
- Evander Kane
- Go back to D
I mean...really? My advice for people who are trying to be “self-conscious of not making a kicking motion”: don’t swing your feet when you’re standing beside a puck at the net. If you’re stationary, keep your feet stationary and do something else.
Use your stick.
Fall down in a forward-moving fashion.
Put your face to the ice and blow it in.
Don’t be surprised when the refs call it a kick if your foot moves independently towards the net with no one else around to force it forward.
But you can’t say your heart didn’t sink for a second. Two goals in a 10-second span wouldn’t have just given Buffalo the lead, it would have given them a ridiculous amount of momentum, especially when you compare it to their first half performance.
As for the guy whose goal actually counted and, you know, won the game, it seems that seeing that first goal go in two games ago was really the pill Sebastian Aho needed.
First 15 games: zero goals.
Last three games: three goals.
Sure, his opportunity only arose because of a serious misplay by...Justin Falk (still blowing my mind), but he had plenty of breakaway and giveaway opportunities in the goal-less drought.
If he scores in his next two games or so, I’ll have no choice but to affirm that “seeing is believing” when it comes to Aho and goals.
A lowlight (definition: opposite of a highlight) of the match was definitely the continued struggles of the Hurricanes power play, even failing to convert on a minute-plus 5-on-3 opportunity. I’m curious to hear what you Caniacs think about the power play: Are we using faulty units? Are the shots bad, the passes bad, the zone entries bad, or is all of it just plain bad? Leave your thoughts in the comments and maybe Bill Peters will read it.
But we can’t end this ALN on a low note, so I want to give you two names in parting to cheer you up beyond the box score:
- Scott Darling: After the whole glove-doubting debacle in the first period of the Islanders game on Thursday, a game in which he allowed five goals, Darling looked spectacular. The only blemish was Kane being quicker to the five hole from a few feet out, a sin of the flesh, not of the spirit. Darling dazzled last night.
- Marcus Kruger: Talk about getting back to business! Kruger had to call into work sick on Thursday, but earned two assists on the night. Sure, whatever, one was for an empty netter, but his pass to Williams was gorgeous. Oh, and Kruger only had one point in 16 games before last night. Maybe Aho’s newly-found confidence will inspire Kruger.
Celebrate, ye Caniacs, but quickly temper thy spirits. For this afternoon, we seek vengence on the Island of Long! Dilly dilly!