In a moment of misplaced Southern hospitality, the Hurricanes welcomed Ray Whitney back to the RBC Center as a Phoenix Coyote and allowed him to score the first goal of the game last night as they went on to beat the Canes 4-3. Whitney, or as he is sometimes known, “The Wizard,” didn’t take too long to make his presence known as he scored at the 2:18 mark of the first on a power play. I only saw a few peopled decked out in Coyotes gear in the arena but there sure was a lot of noise from some of the crowd when he potted the goal.
Thankfully for the Canes, Tuomo Ruutu showed up and tied the game at the 9:21 mark popping in a little wrister on the left side of keeper Jason LaBarbera. Assists went to Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jussi Jokinen who set him up for the opportunity. The period ended tied at 1-1.
The Canes came out in the second looking much better than they did in the first, and both teams finally had some jump on them. Andreas Nodl got the chance to become an official member of the Canes when he got a pass from Jaro Spacek and scored on a snapshot from the middle of the lane. This was his first goal and point as a Hurricane. This would not be the last goal of the period. Next up was Jiri Tlusty who got the puck from Justin Faulk and took it down the left side of the ice wristing it in on LaBarbera. Things were looking up! The Canes were up 3-1! And then things went south.
As they have done so many times this year, the Canes scored a goal and gave up one quickly after. Tlusty’s goal came at 12:15 and Cal O’Reilly was there at 13:34 to answer for the Yotes. David Rundblad, newly acquired from the Senators in the trade for Kyle Turris picked up a helper on the goal.
Caniacs were hoping that the intermission would give the players a few minutes to regroup and come out strong in the third but it didn’t happen. Rostislav Klesla netted another one at 4:20 for the Yotes with Lauri Korpikoski and Daymond Langkow getting assists. The game was tied at 3-3, but the Canes could not break the tie. That was left to Korpikoski who scored what ended up being the game winner at 10:48. The Wizard put another assist on his scoresheet.
The Canes were 0-3 on the power play for the night and the Coyotes were 1-2. Cam Ward only faced nineteen shots while the Canes put up thirty-seven against LaBarbera. While Cam was the losing tendy, the defensive lapses did not help his chances to stop those four goals. By the shot totals it sounds like the defense was amazing, but it seemed to me more like the Coyotes just did not take a lot of shots. Obviously we didn’t do so well in the accuracy department on ours.
Observations from the RBC Center:
- When the game started the pace was so slow. I was convinced at one point that the players for both clubs had all ingested Nyquil or Benadryl before taking the ice.
- There may not have been a large number of Coyotes fans in the arena, but there were plenty of Ray Whitney fans, including a group of kids in some REALLY bright shirts with “The Wizard’s” number on them. Does anyone know the story of who these kids were?
- How many goal horns do we have? I heard at least three distinct ones tonight. No one ever believes me that they are different!
- The game is not the same without Jeff Skinner. I am not just talking about his tangible contributions in points and assists. I am talking about immeasurable items like his energy, heart and the excitement that he generates. His energy is infectious. When he is absent it is very noticeable.
The Canes next face the Ottawa Senators on Friday. Yes. I am still going to say it. Let’s Go Canes!
Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky Andreas Nodl Cal O'Reilly Cam Ward David Rundblad Daymond Langkow Former Hurricanes Jaro Spacek Jason LaBarbera Jiri Tlusty Jussi Jokinen Justin Faulk Kyle Turris Lauri Korpikoski Phoenix Coyotes Ray Whitney Rostislav Klesla The Wizard Tuomo Ruutu