Going into this week’s challenging back-to-back reminded me of a father’s lecture, “I used to walk to school barefoot, uphill, both ways.” The exaggerated claim accurately described how caniacs felt going into Tuesday’s game with the Caps and Wednesday’s showdown with the Habs. Hurricanes had been unable to defeat either team this season, and with so much on the line, the task seemed quite daunting.
The Carolina Hurricanes brewed a storm that ripped a line of destruction through both teams. The line I’m referring to is the one Tuomu Ruutu centers alongside Jeff Skinner. In the past two games, they have a combined three goals (plus one each in Tuesday’s SO), and four assists.
Their unit has more chemistry right now than Baby and Swayze. Dare I say even more than the cast of Stars Wars (the originals, of course). Heck, it trumps the electric buzz amongst the Godfather characters.
Like Sonny picking on a young Michael, Skinner’s Bieber-skaterboy treatment has to feel equally annoying. It is to me at least!
Ruutu clearly plays the role of broad-shouldered Sonny barreling players through glass…through glass! His fight till the death attitude on the ice allowed the up-and-coming Godfather, Jeff Skinner, to take control of the pucks and send them home. The Habs awoke to a bloody horse head under their sheets, figuratively speaking.
J.Skinny is a Calder Trophy candidate because he a consistent forward who picks up his game in crucial situations. He has the patience of a seasoned player with moves the older guys cannot copy. Even toward the end of the season, the rookie is improving aspects of his skill instead of sputtering out.
Skinner had an unassisted goal eleven minutes into the first. Ruutu was the helper of Skinny’s second scoring backhander just four minutes later. The duo combined forces again in the second to assist Joni Pitkanen’s fourth goal of the season.
Although #53 was not the only rookie making a splash in last night’s domination over Montreal. Defenseman Jamie McBain, who recently returned from a shoulder injury, had his first two-goal game last night. McBain earned his sixth of the season on a slap shot from Cole and Stillman. His seventh, a wrist shot in the third, was assisted by Drayson Bowman.
Cory Stillman had the final goal of the night on a power play. It was his eleventh of the season.
The current Godfather, captain Eric Staal, had an assist and ten faceoff victories last night.
The three stars of the game are quite possible the best looking I’ve seen this year:
3. Cam Ward with 38 saves.
2. Jamie McBain with two points.
1. Jeff Skinner with three points.
The Carolina Hurricanes are no longer treading rough waters in the playoff race. They are kicking their way against the tide. The Canes travel north on Saturday to face the Islanders before returning home on Sunday in this week’s finale against the Buffalo Sabres.