The Hurricanes battled the Ducks mightily in Anaheim for over 60 minutes Wednesday night only to get tripped up by a Peel and a Corey Perry one timer at 2:14 in overtime. Did the Canes slip on a banana peel? No. The peel I am referring to is Tim Peel, the NHL referee whose blatant swallowing of the whistle in the extra clicks decided the outcome of the contest. We will relieve that nightmare soon, but first let’s look back on the opening 60 minutes when things were going right.
The game got off to a late start for most East Coast Caniacs with the puck dropping at 10pm EST. Both squads came out ready to play, but the Canes seemed to be playing an awful lot of defense in their own end with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan getting some good looks early on. Cam Ward was steady and made stops on them, Rod Pelley and Cam Fowler. The ice was finally broken for scoring at 17:57 by our Finnish gladiator, Tuomo Ruutu. Eric Staal won a faceoff in the defensive end. Ruutu carried the puck through the neutral zone passing it to Jiri Tlusty who swiftly evaded a defender and put up a shot which was deflected to Ruutu. Ruutu took a shot of his own and got his own rebound batting an airborne puck past Jonas Hiller from his knees. Yes it was as amazing as it sounds and made the highlight reels of the night. The first period expired with the Canes up 1-0.
The clubs returned for more of the same in the second as battles went back and forth up and down the ice. The Staal line continued to impress as did the Skinner and Sutter lines. The Ducks finally answered the call at the 12:48 mark. Andrew Cogliano dished the puck from the right corner to Lubomir Visnovsky waiting at the point. Visnovsky fired with Nick Bonino tipping it in for a Ducks goal. The score was evened up 1-1 as the teams headed off for the second intermission.
Battle continued on in the third for the win in regulation. Things continued to go both ways until captain Eric Staal decided to break the tie stealing the puck from behind the net and sneaking it in past Hiller at 3:47. I don’t think anyone saw that one coming including the Canes. The captain had a nice little emphatic celly after that one which was well deserved! Unfortunately the Canes were caught off guard on their end as Luca Sbisa, managed to get the puck to Saku Koivu who was positioned perfectly in front of the net to punch in a shot from the right side. Cam Ward was out of the crease and the defenders were all out of position as a shot from the other side of the net was anticipated. Jeff Skinner managed to draw a hooking penalty from a stick-less Ryan Getzlaf but the power play was negated by a tripping call on Chad LaRose. The game was back to a tie and the score stood at 2-2 as the regulation horn sounded.
Did you think I forgot about explaining the “Tim Peel Factor?” Well you’re in luck. I am going to cover it now! The teams got off to a quick jump in overtime and a little over two minutes remained on the clock. The puck was in the Canes’ defensive zone. But all was going to be okay. Jussi Jokinen, with his amazing stick-handling abilities, was there to round up the puck and get it back up to the point. Only that is not what happened. The Juice went around the back side of the net only to be blatantly tripped by Corey Perry. Perry was able to circle back around and set up a shot before the Canes even knew what hit them. Perry was well aware of what he had done as he turned around after the trip to see if the referee had put his arm up. Everyone expected him to head to the box, even the Ducks announcers. But Tim Peel took swallowing the whistle a little too literally and stood by and watched it happened. No call was made. Perry scored and celebrated while looking up to the sky, probably thanking the hockey gods for letting him get away with one of the most obvious penalties I have ever seen. The Ducks picked up the extra point and the Canes skated off with a point but a loss they did not deserve.
Observations from the couch:
- It was fun reading tweets and seeing pictures from a few Caniacs that were actually at the game! Some of them were on camera during the broadcast. Fans were also checking in online from Denver and even Alaska!
- It’s really a shame to see a game come down to a bad call when it was played well by both sides and was a most evenly matched affair. How even? The Hurricanes’ Cam Ward faced 33 shots and Jonas Hiller faced 34. The teams were each 50% each in the faceoff circle and each team blocked 17 shots.
- Anthony Stewart seemed to have more jump in his game and Mike Maniscalco and John Forslund hypothesized that maybe he had been placed on waivers to send a message.
- I am not one to blame a loss on a referee, but in this case I have no other choice. Who knows how the contest would have been decided. The game was actually pretty well called up to that point. I don’t blame Corey Perry for taking the shot. No whistle blows, you keep playing. The referee didn’t do his job. Headlines like “Worst blown call of season? Corey Perry scores OT goal after tripping Jokinen” graced the internet and Twitter was abuzz with Caniacs and hockey analysts alike stating that we got robbed. Tripp Tracy got kudos from the Canadian media for handling the incident with class and professionalism. Coach Muller was told by the refs that Jokinen hit the net and that is why he went down. In other news, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona you might be interested in.
The Canes dusted themselves off and boarded a plane bound for Denver where they will face the Avalanche on Friday. Hopefully Tim Peel will not be on the ice.
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