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Canes score two quick ones to take a 2-1 lead in second

05.06.09 at 8:35 pm ET
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RALEIGH — I have confirmation of an excellent aborted goal call by Jack Edwards during the NESN broadcast, followed by a weird shot of the B’s broadcaster from behind.  I’ll have to check the tape later on that one.

Anyway, back to the action.

18:23: Great diving scoop save by Thomas on a Sergei Samsonov shot that hit the side of the net and then bounced dangerously toward the crease area before the B’s goalie gloved it.

17:02: Quick glove save by Thomas on Tuomo Ruutu on a high slot shot with two Hurricanes skaters bearing down on the Boston crease.

15:20: Aaron Ward and Ray Whitney battling for a puck speeding toward the Boston net, and Whitney ended up crashing to the ice and hitting his neck against the left post. Whitney has walked back to the Canes dressing room to get looked at.

11:41: Things getting a little testy after Ryan Bayda crashed the Bruins net at the end of a whistle following a Thomas save on a Pat Eaves shot. A lot of jawing between Chuck Kobasew and Rod Brind’Amour.

10:36: Big missed opportunity as Chara fed Aaron Ward at the left post when Ward was down and out, and Ward slammed the puck right into Ward’s right pad. Tuomo Ruutu knocked Ward down after the save, though and was whistled for interference.

8:51: Much better puck movement by the B’s PP unit tonight, but still no goal.

Whitney back out on the ice for the Canes.

7:13: Staal got a great feed from Whitney after he found a seam behind the Bruins D and the skilled forward came in all alone. He missed wide right with his hot shot slapper bid on Thomas, though. Bullet dodged.

5:40: Staal to Cole in front and the big winger missed wide right. Big shift by Carolina’s top unit with a bevy of shots that ends up drawing an interference penalty on Michael Ryder after he belted Pitkanen in the middle of the ice without the puck. Great shift by the Canes, and you can really feel the energy shifting in this one.

3:58: Great diving play by Savard to break up the Canes PP and knock the puck out of the zone. Aaron Ward blocked a shot earlier in the kill that looked pretty painful.

3:01: And this place just went ballistic. Staal is a playmaker and that’s exactly what he did. Staal took the puck from Steve Montador behind the Boston net when he fanned on a clearing attempt, and then turned and whipped a top shelf blast by Thomas. All tied up.

2:02: The Canes strike again. Sergie Samsonov strikes on a wrister from just outside the right faceoff circle, and the momentum is squarely in Carolina’s corner.

00:38.3: Niclas Wallin just wall-papered Stephane Yelle into the boards from behind, and Yelle is shaken up. Wallin to the box, and Shawn Thornton was jawing with Scott Walker after the play.

00:3.5: Marc Savard drills Cam Ward from behind and goes directly to the box for goalie interference. That was a stupid penalty.

The Canes have taken a 2-1 lead at the end of two full periods of play during Game 3 at the RBC Center

Lucic gives Bruins a 1-0 lead by crashing the net

05.06.09 at 7:45 pm ET
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RALEIGH — 19:30: Right off the hop the Canes get a good chance with Eric Staal in tight off the opening faceoff that Tim Thomas immediately hopped on and deflected toward the back of the net. A quick icing for the B’s.

14:25: Good pad save by Thomas on a Joni Pitkanen blast from the high slot area. Then Tuomo Ruutu followed with a good bid from the middle slot area that Sergei Samsonov nearly got a stick on in front of Thomas. A good amount of traffic and chaos around Thomas early.

12:45: A big blast from Mark Stuart at the right point that appeared to hit some part of the net or post and then shoot right back out toward the blue line. Didn’t make any noise like it hit pipe, so wonder if they’ll take a look up in Toronto at that. Replays show that it hit Ward and then connected with the right post before bouncing back out.

11:17: The Bruins talked about being a bigger presence in front of the Carolina net, and there it was in living Black and Gold. Dennis Wideman shot the original bomb from the left point, which hit Lucic in front of the net and then dropped by his skates. Lucic corraled the puck and then hooked it around Cam Ward as he moved out from the net. First goal of this playoff run for Lucic.

9:50: Nice job by Shawn Thornton to turn a Carolina turnover into an odd man rush going the other way, but Ward blocked the Axelsson stuff attempt.

7:26: A great save by Thomas on Matt Cullen. First the Carolina winger barely missed on a redirect attempt from a Pitkanen shot, and then Thomas made an unbelievable stick save when Cullen attempted to sneak a puck past the diving goaltender. Steve Montador helped Thomas stop the puck and cover for the whistle.

3:32: Penalty for Andrew Ference on a hit from behind on Ryan Bayda, who was down on his knees on the ice for several minutes afterward. Two minutes for boarding.

They are, by the way, Wil Ferrel cowbell crazy down here apparently.

2:10: Near miss by the Canes PP when Erik Cole shoveled a puck toward the net by the left post, and the disc went airborne after striking bodies in front. Staal took a baseball hack at the puck in midair, but the hot shot missed wide of the net.

The Bruins are beating the Canes by a 1-0 score after one full period during Game 3 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC.

Some pregame hijinks from the Carolina Hurricanes

05.06.09 at 7:42 pm ET
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RALEIGH — Interesting pregame hijinks from the game production people here at the RBC Center home of the Carolina Hurricanes. First they announced “Bucky Dent” as one of the refs for tonight’s game, and then they showed the entire clip of Price is Right Host Bob Barker beating the tar out of Happy Gilmore wearing a Bruins jersey. Very creative and pretty funny.

This place, by the way, is just as loud as Aaron Ward and Mark Recchi promised it would be. Getting ready for the game to start.

The key to Game 3 is crashing Carolina’s net party

05.05.09 at 6:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — There has been enough idle chatter about neutral zone puck play, impressive fourth line performances and sloppy tendencies over the last few days to sink a hockey battleship, so let’s get to the crux of the matter against these playoff-worthy Hurricanes.

All of factors above were certainly present during Boston’s Game 2 loss at the hands of the mighty Tropical Storms, but there’s a limit to the sloppiness factor when a team is able to squeeze off 36 shots and limit the opposition to 25 shots on goal. The Bruins were able to retain possession of the puck and level an adequate numbers of outside attempts on the Carolina cage, but there was one vital playoff ingredient they were sorely lacking on Sunday night: a determined and consistent net front presence.

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Bruins power play needs more puck pizzazz

05.04.09 at 2:51 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — A lot of Bruins chatter on Monday morning concerning power play outages and sharpness issues in the wake of a somewhat listless loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday night. The team didn’t conduct any type of skating practice, but instead held a full team workout on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena. 

The power play is now 0-for-14 dating back to the middle of the Montreal series, and Boston’s special teams unit seemed overwhelmed by the pressure that the Canes exerted on both points and at Marc Savard conducting things on the right sidewall during each PP attempt.

The B’s coach felt that the haphazard-looking power play was part of a bigger malady that struck at the Black and Gold over the first two periods: lackadaisical, out-of-sync play that infected all facets of their game. 

“I thought our power play reflective of our whole game. We’re not as sharp as we can be and our whole decision-making was just iffy,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “That followed through on the power play with the same thing. The power play was reflective of our whole game: winning battles, decision-making, and moving the puck. We weren’t sharp. We didn’t play as hard as we could have.  We did in the third period when we started to play a little harder, but we need to play like that for 60 minutes rather than 20.”

With all that being said, there could be changes coming to the power play unit when it next makes an appearance at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Wednesday night for Game 3. Perhaps Milan Lucic will be inserted in place of Mark Recchi by the goal post, or Patrice Bergeron will be plunked down low as he was during PP moments in the last quarter of the season.

PP triggerman Marc Savard said the key to the man advantage is getting back the timing and puck movement that seemingly slackened during their long layoff prior to playing the Canes, and find alleys for more pucks through the forest of trees and in toward Cam Ward.

“We went in the third last night, and in our second to last power play we got back to basics and got pucks to the net and we were all around him. We couldn’t find a hole,” said Savard. “We just need to simplify things. We went through stretches during the year when things weren’t great, and we always seemed to stay in the top 10. We just need to get pucks to the net and get guys in front whacking away at it.

“We can’t be pretty. We need to get dirty in order to score goals,” added Savared. “It’s also about moving it quicker so a guy has a lane to shoot. In that last one we were getting (the puck) back, around and over and moving those lanes. I think when we’re not at our best we’re dusting (the puck) and holding it and looking. We need to be bang-bang and get more results.”

Or perhaps my own personal dream team power play will be constructed. What would it be, you ask? Putting David Krejci and Marc Savard both on the same five-man unit with perhaps Michael Ryder as a shooter/grinder in the corner collecting pucks and Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Wideman at the two point positions. The two centerman play together in 5-on-3 situations, and it would be interesting to see if they could work together on the same unit during 5-on-4 action. But, then again, there’s also a reason I’m blogging and Claude Julien is making space on his trophy shelf for a Jack Adams Award.

–Julien said that there is nothing bothering Zdeno Chara physically after suffering through a tough Game 2 that saw him finish with a bogus -3 for the night. Chara has appeared — at points during the season — to be slightly favoring his left knee, but Julien said he is “100 percent” healthy. Chara was not available to answer questions following the team workout on Monday.

“It was a tough night for the whole team. I guess because he gets a lot of credit for the way he plays, when he’s not on top of his game the first thing we do is notice it,” said Julien. “He’s going to be fine. He is 100 percent. No questions asked. Honestly, there are no issues there at all.”

–Recchi is obviously very familiar with the loud NASCAR-loving, Waffle House-eating Hurricanes home crowd and expects the B’s to be walking into something of a hockey hornet’s nest for Game 3 and 4 at the RBC Centre in Raleigh.

“It’ll be loud. It’s an energetic building, it’s loud and they get into it,” said Recchi. “They’ll be tail-gating all afternoon on Wednesday and they just feed off the energy. It’s going to be loud, so we’re going to have to prepare for it. It’s one of the loudest buildings I’ve ever been in, period. It’s the same as Montreal. You have to be ready to counter their start, push back and challenge them as well.”

–Patrice Bergeron mulled a little bit over the open net he missed in the first period of Game 2 and what might have been had he connected early in the game and given his team the quick lead, but the center was focused on Game 3 once the team worked out on Monday morning.

“You always think about it, but the puck was rolling and I caught it flat,” said Bergeron. “Yes, I should have put it in, but there are so many plays in any game that happen. You think about (a little), but you can’t think about it anymore.”

Pending further review: no goal for LaRose at end of second

05.04.09 at 2:34 am ET
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It isn’t going to be the most controversial replay in the world because the Hurricanes were already leading 2-0 in Sunday night’s Game 2 — and they ended up taking a 3-0 victory anyway — but a good number of hockey lovers and puck followers believe that Bruins caught a lucky break with the “no goal” call at the end of the second period.

Let’s set the scene: Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg hammered a puck in from outside the blueline that Tim Thomas was able to get a pad on and deflect, but he directed the rebound right to a hustling Chad LaRose. LaRose fired a shot right back at Thomas, and the puck hit the crossbar and right post and then bounced up on edge before tumbling around the goal line.

David Krejci eventually swept the puck out of the danger area, and the refs made the on-ice call that it wasn’t a goal. So, the NHL offices in Toronto would have needed a “beyond a reasonable doubt” piece of evidence to overturn the call and obviously didn’t find what they were looking. The NHL ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to call it a goal, and the Bruins caught something of a break headed into the third period.

The B’s couldn’t get anything going, however, and Cam Ward was there to stop any signs of life for the Bruins in the third period. It’s obvious from the video that the TSN telecast analysts thought that LaRose’s bid should have been favorably reviewed as a goal with 0:00.2 seconds left on the clock.

Either way, it took seven minutes for the NHL officials to finally uphold the on-ice ruling of “no goal” and the debate is still raging. Here’s a look at the video that is causing a little bit of a stir with people that feel like the puck definitely snuck behind the line.

My own take? It definitely snuck inside the goal line after hitting the crossbar and the right post, and it should have counted as Carolina’s third score of the day headed into the second period intermission. But alas it didn’t, and the Hurricanes waited to add that additional score with an empty-net goal from Eric Staal that clinched the game for Carolina. What do you think?

Hurricanes take a 3-0 decision over B’s in Game 2

05.03.09 at 9:36 pm ET
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19:30: Big miss by Savard off a nifty pass from the side of the net by Kessel. That’s two Grade A bids that the B’s haven’t cashed in on tonight.

18:31: Slashing on Andrew Ference. First PP of the night for Carolina.

15:19: Good little backhand bid by Wheeler with Krejci jamming in front of the Carolina net. Ward made the quick glove save on the shot, though, and then Krejci and Ryan Bayda engaged in a little pushing and shoving in front of the Canes net.

12:17: What a quick stick move by P.J. Axelsson to fake Corvo off his skates. He fired a shot from the slot directly afterward, but Ward closed the pads before the puck could trickle through.

11:30: Good pressure by Bruins with a bid in close by Chuck Kobasew at the left goal post, and a one-man rush by Bergeron up the right side. But Ward was able to stop both of them.

10:21: Good blocker-side save by Ward on a Savard shot from the high slot. Ward is much better than he was in Game 1, but the Bruins have also helped him at times.

7:45: Bonehead play by Tim Gleason. Flipped the puck right over the boards with hardly any pressure from the B’s in his own zone. Delay of game penalty for Canes. B’s PP is 0-for-2.

6:07: Ward saved his best of the night for this PP. Great toe saves on Michael Ryder when he tried to wait out the goalie following a scramble in front and then another pad-extended beauty on Dennis Wideman from the high point.

3:07: Penalty on Pitkanen for cross-checking Dennis Wideman. Another PP for the Bruins to close things out in the third period.

1:51: Tim Thomas pulled during PP, but a bad Kessel pass out of the offensive zone gets an off-sides whistle and a faceoff.

1:28: Thomas pulled again. 6-on-4 for 22 seconds and then a 6-on-5.

00:27.1: Eric Staal empty-netter when the Bruins couldn’t keep it in the zone. Good effort by Ward tonight and the B’s missed a few golden chances early, but the Canes really seemed to want it more. Plain and simple.

The Hurricanes beat the Bruins by a 3-0 score in Game 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

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