The 'Canes may be the highest-scoring team in the NHL, but they're also earning a bit of a reputation that they'd probably rather not have. As the Miami Herald's George Richards put it:
Personally, I don't know if the Hurricanes are a bunch of divers or not. Do they embellish hits to draw calls sometimes? I would say yes. If not, this is the softest bunch of pro athletes around.Ouch. Maybe they'll update their secondary "flag" logo accordingly.
Whatever Carolina is doing, though, it's working. They've scored six or more goals in three of their last five games (and have already scored five goals in a game five differnt times this season already), and they're an absolute terror five-on-five and on the power play. In other words, the only time they're not kicking ass is when the other team is allowed to play with more players to un-tilt the ice.
And while the 'Canes are scoring in bunches, Cam Ward has seemed to return to his Conn Smythe form in the early going, going 6-2-2, 2.55, .912 in ten games. Then again, in his last two outings, he has given up nine goals on 47 shots against in 80 minutes en route to picking up those two regulation losses, so perhaps he's on his way back to earth. Rod Brind'Amour, however, is very much still in orbit.
Last month the Caps shut out the 'Canes at Verizon Center. It's the only time all season Carolina has been held to fewer than two goals in a game, and the way the Caps offense is producing of late, a similar herculean defensive effort may be the visitor's best chance at victory. Let's see if the Caps can't steal a couple of points in Raleigh to start this road trip off on the right foot.
Why The Hurricanes Will Win:
"Carolina has more depth than Washington, and the coach has been getting really creative with his lines and specialty teams since the last time these two met - and it's working.Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
"Plus, our star center is better looking." - The Sliding Pokecheck
"The Caps are trying to figure out how to win while the 'Canes know how to win."
- Hurricane Season
"Look for the Canes to redeem themselves for their lackluster performance in Washington earlier this year. The 2-0 loss was the only time they have been shut out this year. Since then, the Canes have shown themselves to be the highest scoring team in the east and should light the lamp a few more times tonight. Cam Ward will be in net, Eric Staal will play in his 187th consecutive game, (edging ever closer to a Hurricanes record of 192 set by Ron Francis), and the league leader in assists, Rod Brind'Amour will continue to set up his mates. Canes 3 Caps 2." - Canes Country
"Carolina has been putting the POW! in 'power play'." - red and black hockey
"The Canes will win because Brind'Amour and his nose won't let the Caps take the W." - Carolina on Ice
The Fourth Period says the Caps are supposedly "intrigued" by the possibility of acquiring Montreal third-string goalie Jaroslav Halak. I don't buy it, but thought I'd throw it out there.... Remember all the Mainstream Media love the Caps were getting League-wide after a 3-0-0 start? Their recent slide isn't going unnoticed either.
- Hart: Alexander Radulov (G, A, +1, 3 SOG)
- Ross: Manny Malhotra, Adam Foote, Jason Arnott, Alexander Radulov (2 points each)
- Norris: Adam Foote (2A, +2, 3 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Tim Thomas (34 saves on 35 shots against in shootout loss)
- Richard: 12 players tied with 1G each
- Calder: Patrick Kane (A, +1, 3 SOG)
- Aiken: Nikolai Khabibulin (L, 3 goals allowed on 6 shots against in just one period of work)