Last night the Canes (9-17-4) took the ice in Edmonton’s Rexall Place and finally broke their seven game losing streak grabbing the first win for newly minted coach Kirk Muller. It was a physical game that took some unusual twists and turns with Canes’ goals scored by five different players.
The Canes came out skating hard, but fell behind about halfway through the first as Eric Belanger cleaned up behind a wraparound shot by Magnus Paajarvi as five Hurricanes were left standing in front the net. Cam Ward was visibly frustrated and if body language is any indication, a couple of swear words were uttered as the horn went off. Caniacs were looking for one of those quick whistles that have beleaguered them all season as it looked like Ward had stopped the puck. The goal was reviewed and the ruling on the ice stood. This was especially frustrating as the Canes had seemingly scored a goal three minutes earlier but it was waved off as the officials reviewed and determined that Chad LaRose had made a distinct kicking motion to knock in the rebound.
At the 19:22 mark, sophomore Jeff Skinner retaliated with a slapshot from a bounce, off the boards or an Oiler, that set him up perfectly in front of the net. I am happy to say the goal was scored on a power play. The boys would head to the room with the score tied at 1-1.
But things were about to get a little crazy in second period. Andy Sutton delivered a nasty hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky which has earned him an indefinite suspension from Brendan Shanahan. It was a truly bad instance of boarding and Sutton left his feet to deliver the blow. Jamie McBain came through on the power play off a pass by Tomas Kaberle and netted another one for the Canes. Justin Faulk also picked up a helper on the goal. Unfortunately Sutton wasn’t done with his bad behavior and threw a dangerous knee on Eric Staal during the period. No penalty was called and Staal reacted with some choice words for the officials earning him a turn in the box with two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct at 8:41.
The Canes kept their heads up and on a swivel and continued to battle. Staal proved he can pass the puck and got it to Patrick Dwyer who made a nice little move to knock the puck past Devan Dubnyk. Tomas Kaberle, yes really, picked up another helper on the play. Chad LaRose received absolution in the period and scored a shorthanded goal knocking in a slapshot after heading down the ice with a Bryan Allen pass. That was the last goal scored by the Hurricanes in the period, but they were answered eleven seconds later as Ben Eager potted one for the Oilers. In case you have lost track, the game went to the second break with the Hurricanes up 4-2.
The third period would bring a goal for the fifth individual scorer on the sheet last night for Carolina, Tuomo Ruutu . After his goal the Edmonton fans enthusiastically “Ruu-ed!” Ok they were booing, but I am going to go with “Ruu-ing.” The assist went to his countryman, Jussi Jokinen, and the entire “Finns and Skinns” (15, 36 & 53) line was on the ice for the goal. Score: 5-2 Canes. As if this game didn’t have enough drama, Skinner took off on a breakaway and received a nasty hack by Theo Peckham on the way to the goal earning him a penalty shot that was blocked by Dubnyk.
Rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finally made an appearance at 13:21 for Edmonton. Nugent-Hopkins took a shot on Cam Ward, got his own rebound and passed it to Sam Gagne behind the net. Gagne dished it immediately back to Nugent-Hopkins who was waiting on the left side to pop it in.
The Oilers would not go on to score another goal but they would see Tom Gilbert off to the penalty box for a slash and Andy Sutton would deliver a legal but nasty hit on Jeff Skinner. The 6’6” 245 pounder’s repeated acts of aggression finally caused Tim Gleason to snap and he picked up five for fighting and a ten-minute game misconduct. Sutton earned a fighting major as well. It remains to be seen if Gleason will receive any disciplinary action for the altercation. Instigation in the last five minutes of regulation carries a one-game suspension and a fine, but all of these incidents receive automatic reviews. For more on the official NHL rule, go here.
Things ended on a positive note though as the Canes took the 5-3 win. Kirk Muller flashed a smile at getting his first NHL coaching victory and the puck from Cam Ward. (Oh, and that nasty seven-game losing streak was broken as well.)
Observations from the couch:
- We need to work on giving up a goal immediately after scoring. This time the opponents answered in eleven seconds. It’s something that has plagued us all season.
- Brent and Mrs. Sutter were in the house last night to watch Brandon. Tripp Tracy, our local color man, basically called Mrs. Sutter a babe. She was a lovely lady.
- Tripp, John Forslund and Caniac Nation giggled all night at learning Andreas Nodl wanted his name to be pronounced like “Noodle.”
- There was a vocal crowd in Rexall Place last night. Sometimes it was hard to tell if they were “booing” or “Nuge-ing.” I just pretended they were huge Tuomo Ruutu fans.
- I cannot believe Andy Sutton was one of TSN’s three stars of the night. You read that correctly. While he came away with an assist and was +2 for the night, he was also guilty of some really nasty play; the suspension-drawing boarding call against Poni, the knee hit on Eric Staal and a legal but totally unnecessarily hard hit on Jeff Skinner. I take exception with anyone that believes it is appropriate to label this as star behavior.
- The captain was full of fire last night voicing his displeasure at the referee not calling anything on the hit on the knee. Staal yelled a phrase at the referee that appeared to rhyme with “truck foo.” The twitterverse, while previously riding the captain for not showing enough emotion, immediately jumped on him for taking such a stupid penalty. While I don’t think it was smart to yell at the official, I say give the man a break! How long do you think that frustration had been building up? I would say a lot longer than seven games. Eric Staal doesn’t blow his top very often. I was almost relieved to see it last night.
Thoughts on the captain losing his cool? The dirty play of Andy Sutton? Ted Nugent? Leave us a comment! Head over to our Facebook page at CardiacCane and give us a like! Also, be sure to follow the Cardiac Cane writers on the Twitter: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @peacelovepuck and @caniac176
Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky Andreas Nodl Andy Sutton Brandon Sutter Brendan Shanahan Brent Sutter Bryan Allen Chad LaRose Edmonton Oilers Eric Berlanger Finns And Skinns Jamie McBain Jeff Skinner John Forslund Jussi Jokinen Justin Faulk Kirk Muller Magnus Paajarvi Patrick Dwyer Repeat Offender Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Sam Gagne Suspensions Theo Peckham Three Stars Tim Gleason Tom Gilbert Tomas Kaberle Tripp Tracy Tuomo Ruutu Twitterverse