Drury's Fight Was The Only Thing Worth Cheering For Last Night Against The Bruins

In an other wise super soft, mistake filled game, Jack Drury stood up, then knocked down John Beecher in what might the most mismatched NHL fight of the year. Drury's spark was just not enough to overcome the dismal play by the Canes last night.
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Walking into PNC Arena last night, past all the Carolina Hurricanes fans costumed as Bruins fans (boy did I miss the memo), I couldn't help but be excited. The Canes have clinched their 6th straight playoff berth, and won two of their last three on shut-outs.

Grabbing some BBQ Nachos and a Storm Brew, I made it to my seat with plenty of time before warm ups. Then Freddie Andersen lead the team out. Immediately, I texted a fellow Cardiac Canes writer with "I'm afraid we are in for a super soft Freddie Andersen."

But I remain ever the optimist. I figured things couldn't be so bad. The BBQ Nachos were solid, the brew cold, no discuised Canes fans were seated near me. and I was about to watch hockey on a Thursday night. What could go so wrong?

Boy did I not have to wait long before I found out. Carolina came out really hot putting four shots on Jeremy Swayman before the first stoppage and several more before...wait for it....Freddie Andersen gave up a goal at the 17:50 mark.

It wasn't a Sharman Ultra Soft goal, and frankly had a bit of freaky nature to it (it came out from under his leg and the force of his movement actually could have caused it to go in) but Andersen's rebound control (or lack there of) on the shot before allowed Brad Marchand to rat one in.

It was like someone had pulled the plug on the punch bowl, but not before someone else let a Apex sized poot float to the top. Even from the nosebleeds you could tell Carolina was trying too hard to make something happen. It was as if they knew there was yet still worse to come. I texted another friend (who was with me at the game seven unraveling against the New Rangers two seasons ago) if she was there because the Canes were playing like she was. It was that bad.

Turnovers on passes, bad passes, passes behind players, breaks stalled for slow passes. The Canes put on a clinic, on what not to do when facing a team in the hunt for the President's Trophy.

Where the first goal took a freakish turn, David Pastrnak's second goal was as predictably soft. Dawny soft. Teddy bear to keep away the boogieman soft. Happy cloud soft. He slow footed it right through the defense and there, huddled next to the right goal post Freddie Andersen just waited. He didn't move, he might have blinked, but he didn't move any other muscles. Crouched he remained. It was like a computer just froze in the middle of a reboot.

A palpable shield of gloom took over and stayed despite attempts by everyone from the spirit team to Meghan Lamontagne. Even Walt Ruff's with his interview of Stormy barely moved the needle despite his comedic genius.

BUT....in the midst of troubling time, a hero worked to emerge. None other than Canes prettyboy Jack Drury himself dropped the gloves on John Beecher and gave him what for. Earlier in the season, I wrote a post expounding on the idea that if Captain Jack was the best the Canes had to offer in the way of grit (after adding Tony "Hold the D" DeAngelo) then Carolina was in trouble. After last night's fisticuffs, I will gladly eat that crow.

Drury's fight was the one thing that got both the crowd, and the players back on track. For the last five minutes of the first period, the Hurricanes looked like a team who could compete against anyone.

From the faceoff of the second onward, it was back to the mistakes. Andersen got beat yet again for what would have been the third goal had it not be from Brent Burns. Martin Necas was up to his typical ways of running the puck deep only to take a low percentage shot. Penalties crept into the game in spots that normally they don't Sebastian Aho go slapped with a couple that were cheese poofs, and Svechnikov's 4 minute high sticking was ill timed.

With a home back to back, against two good hockey teams, you want you goaltending to hold the line for the first and save legs for the second game. Especially in this case where Boston really does not matter much on the playoff radar until later, but Washington might. Going down three goals in the first 15 minutes of the game falls almost entirely on one Freddie Andersen.

And it can't be because he was tired, he last started March 28th. It can't be because he was rusty, he did have a shut out in his last game. It has to fall on the fact that this is the nature of Freddie Andersen. He'll make the 10 bell saves when its against the Canadians, but when it comes to the big time, when you need him the most, he's not around.

So I walked out of PNC last night, past all the Bruins fans on their way back to Apex, Morrisville, and Garner, pissed of that I didn't sell my ticket, and even madder that I made sure the two tickets I gave away didn't end up in the hands of a Bruins fan, but resolved to not to let that mistaken shadow fall on me again. The lone chuckle in my head was watching those Bruins fans try not to cheer too loudly during the recognition of NC State else they would completely blow their cover, and the thought that Jack Drury actually laid a full fledge smack down on the much bigger John Beecher. So to you Captain Jack, I salute!