Remember that Eric Staal fella I mentioned earlier? The mighty captain of the Hurricanes waited forty-six seconds before scoring an unassisted wrister in the first. Lighting the lamp lit the team and the crowd on fire and set the tone for the rest of the tilt. The first ended with the Canes up 1-0.
The next Cane to get on the board in the second was blueliner Joni Pitkanen who had missed forty-four games due to a concussion and knee surgery. He later revealed that he had been nervous about returning but it didn’t show on the ice. Tuomo Ruutu headed up the left side of the ice, left Joni a nice little drop pass and #25 fired a solid slap shot in the net past Jose Theodore. Thanks to the “Finns and Skinns” line the Canes were up 2-0 with Jeff Skinner picking up an assist on the goal as well. The Panthers did not take that sitting down though and Tomas Fleischmann got them on the board a little over two and a half minutes later as he poked in a rebound off a slapper by Ed Jovanovksi. Stephen Weiss also picked up a helper on the tally.
There would be chance after chance for the Canes to score again and there was even a call up to Toronto to the War Room to take a second look at a no-goal call on Brandon Sutter. Unfortunately for the Canes the call on the ice stood. The Canes led 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
Neither team rolled over in the third and the battles continued to be fierce. This would also be the period where each team collected four penalties apiece and Jeff Skinner took his third turn of the evening in the box. Luckily the penalties would be of little consequence as Eric Staal, off a pass from Joni Pitkanen, knocked in the final goal for the Canes, had a wicked celebration and brought the final score to 3-1, Canes over the Cats.
Cam Ward said “No” 30” times last night while Jose Theodore faced 39 shots. Captain Staal continued playing in “beast mode” with his 2 goals, 30 shifts, team-high ice time of 23:20 and he was 67% in the faceoff circle. Joni Pitkanen logged 18:49 TOI. I am glad he wasn’t overshifted and was able to ease back into the game. Justin Faulk led the defense in TOI with 22:04. Jussi Jokinen also came out on the positive end of faceoffs and won 55% of his draws.
Observations from the PNC:
- Eric Staal was the number one star and named to the Puck Daddy three stars of the night and NHL Overtime three stars and he is on the NHL.com three stars page. BEASTIN’!
- The matchup was very physical and both teams battled to the buzzer. I was a bit surprised at the snarl both teams brought to the ice. Even Drayson Bowman went to the box early for boarding which is not his style. I don’t think he had any intent to injure on that hit on Weiss.
- The game ended with a big celebration by all the players at center ice! Ok. That wasn’t a celebration. It was more like an animated discussion. Oh heck. It was a powder keg ready to explode with said powder keg’s name being Tim Gleason. I am not sure what started the kerfuffle but every member of both teams had a stand off. The referees corralled Mr. Gleason and Eric Staal reminded his teammates that we need EVERY player for the next game.
- Sean Bergenheim skated off the ice making a golf swinging motion at the Hurricanes players. Classy.
- Once again, someone decided it was a brilliant idea to start “The Wave.” One of my tweeps reported the Storm Squad initiated this. I know the wave is fun for children and some adults. But people, please do not engage in this while the puck is in play! People behind you can’t see and it’s bad hockey manners!
The Canes are headed to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Friday. Stop back by for a game day preview. Thanks for being loud, proud and keeping the faith Caniacs! As long as the team believes, I believe too!
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Topics: Brandon Sutter, Cam Ward, Eastern Conference Standings, Ed Jovanowkski, Eric Staal, Florida Panthers, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pitkanen, Jose Theodore, Sean Bergenheim, Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann, Tuomo Ruutu