Canes Best the B’s 4-1 in Beantown


* Although it’s hard to believe, the following recap is true. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Dave Barry, I am “not making this up.”

It’s rare that I am at a loss for words, but this 4-1 win by the Canes over the Bruins in Boston has me bewildered about where to start. The best description of the second meeting of these Eastern Conference rivals I can come up with is a “hot mess.”

Things started off normally in the first with both teams ready for a physical rematch in TD Garden. With less than three minutes ticked off the clock, Anthony Stewart scored a quick goal with a handy assist by Brett Sutter, the young forward called up to fill the spot of injured Zac Dalpe. This would not be the last we would we hear of the “other Sutter” during this game.

Brett was called at the ten minute mark for interference on a clean but punishing hit on former Canes defenseman Joe Corvo. This was exactly the type of physical play that I believe got him the call up. Corvo was injured on the hit and went to the locker room. Caniac Nation held its collective breath that Joe was ok. Once a Cane, always a Cane. Corvo returned in the second.

Halfway through the second we got a look at the little-used but powerful shot of Joni Pitkanen. Off a pass from Tuomo Ruutu, he slapped in a textbook example of a laser that went flying by keeper Tuukka Rask. It was, as they say, a beauty. This put the Canes ahead 2-0.

The second would also be the period when things got chippy. Oh who am I kidding? Things went to hell in a hand basket. With a little over five minutes left in the period, a skirmish ensued near the Canes net. Jay Harrison was fighting off a Boston player when B’s captain Zdeno Chara sucker punched the d-man. Harrison held his own against the Big Z and ended up with five for fighting and two for roughing. But that was not to be the end of the story. Chara, did not stop with Harrison and he ended up in the face of Cam Ward! Yes. I said Cam Ward! Ward did not flinch and stood his ground. This only prepared him for the arrival of Tuukka Rask who skated out of his crease to go helmet to helmet with the Conn Smythe winning keeper. Ward said what we can only imagine to be “You just go on back to your side of the ice now, ya hear?” When interviewed after the game the rarely-ruffled Ward admitted he was pretty fired up but summed it up by saying “I am not going to waste my time with Tuukka Rask.” Rask got two minutes for leaving the crease and Nathan Horton also picked up two minutes for roughing during the chaos. In the final minutes of the period former Cane Dennis Seidenberg, clearly frustrated, picked up an interference call and Tuomo Ruutu went to the box for slashing. At one point during the contest the Bruins penalty box was so crowded it was standing room only.

Things didn’t get any prettier in the third when Milan Lucic shoved a Cane and got tangled up with Tim Gleason in front of the Carolina bench. Once again it was time for fisticuffs and the return of Brett Sutter who went toe to toe with Chris Kelly with his sweater over his head the majority of the fight. Sutter picked up a fighting major and had Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason to keep him company in the box. Lucic and Kelly warmed the seats on the Boston side of the glass.

The Bruins capitalized on the power play and got on the board with a nice wrister by Rich Peverly. Seidenberg and Corvo picked up helpers on the goal which would be the last goal scored by the Bruins for the night.

I wish I could say that was end of the mess that was supposed to be a hockey game, but it wasn’t. Nathan Horton, nowhere near the puck and seemingly unprovoked lost his cool and decided that Tim Gleason was to be his dancing partner for the evening. He dropped the gloves ready to go. Over what? We have no idea. Even his teammates and coach had no explanation in post-game interviews. Gleason did what an alternate captain should do in this situation. He used his hockey sense to realize that it was better to let the B’s continue to self-destruct than to engage with Horton. It was the smartest play of the night.

Horton originally collected four minutes for a roughing double-minor but was sent to the locker room after a ten minute misconduct was issued. Chara knocked down Jeff Skinner like a rag doll and got a call for high sticking. There was a run on the showers after a chirp fest as Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic collected their own game misconducts. At this point bench boss Claude Julien turned a shade of purple. Not to be outdone by his team, Claude got himself ejected from the game for abuse of officials. (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried people.)

The Canes would finish the game in a 5 on 3 as the Bruins paid their penance. Somewhere in the middle of this mess Eric Staal was on the receiving end of a pass by Jussi Jokinen and put the Canes ahead 3-1. The Canes had one last hurrah as Tomas Kaberle made a solid pass to Chad LaRose who dished to the left and found Ruutu who potted his first goal for the season. As the horn sounded the Canes abandoned the traditional goalie head taps and smartly headed directly to the locker room. The Canes are now 3-2-1.

Observations from the couch:

  • The Bruins earned 17 penalties totaling 72 minutes! The game summary vacillated between 17 and 18 and no longer contains the penalty levied for the fans throwing trash on the ice.
  • Earlier in the broadcast John Forslund said, “We have a slight disturbance. That’s no place for Cam Ward. His place is between the pipes.” If he only knew how prophetic those words would be.
  • After watching the replay and the Corvo hit again, it did appear that he was knocked out for a second.
  • Apparently there was some hockey that went on during the evening. Brett Sutter did a great job on the call up and Jussi Jokinen was 80% in the face-off circle.
  • Joni appears to be getting more confident in his shooting.
  • The camera shots of the bench at the close of the game showed guys that looked like they had been through a battle together.

I have read so many articles and comments on this game that have made my jaw drop. Some Boston fans have decided that this debacle was our fault. I am completely flummoxed. I can say without doubt that if our players participated in that kind of circus in front of the home crowd it would NOT have been well received. I also believe that if those shenanigans went on Paul Maurice would be yelling, not at the officials but at the players for their out of control play. When your goalkeeper comes out of the crease to get involved in the melee things have gone horribly out of control. Caniac Nation is immensely proud of our club’s showing in this contest.

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