Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hurricanes 6, Devils 0
Carolina leads series 1-0

"Every time I've played against them, it's always the same thing. It's not a problem, though. I think the instance with Williams, he kind of elbowed me right in the head and my mask was twisting off and it hit my eye a little bit and I just kind of pushed him.

"But it's part of the game. They're going to get to me. Definitely we're going to need to do the same thing to Cam Ward if we're going to be successful. We've got to get to him and make it tough for him to play."
— Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur


If this game had a tag line, it might just be How Not to Extend a 15-game Winning Streak. The Devils had to have been in hibernation during their month-long layoff because Lou Lamoriello's troops sure weren't awake for this one.

Even though power-play chances were rougly even, New Jersey managed just 12 shots in the first two periods — including just four in the second period. They had some company in the snooze department as Hurricanes rookie goaltender Cam Ward was spotted fraternizing with the 'Storm Squad' more than once during play.

A lot of Hurricanes were good, but the star was, once again, Eric Staal. As the broadcast team noted during the game, the most amazing thing about Staal's transformation — aside from the fact he went from 31 to 100 points — is just how quick he is out there. I mean, I've never seen a guy at his height (6'4") with wheels like that. It's almost a surreal experience watching such a lanky skater bob and weave (and score) out there.

While he's no longer a rookie, Staal's one of the best 21-year-olds I've seen play in the NHL.

The Devils absolutely have to shutdown Staal if they want a chance in this series — although the Hurricanes have a lot of weapons, as we saw in Game 1. This is the best I've ever seen Rod Brind'Amour play, which is quite a statement considering this is the 35 year old's 17th NHL season.

Sigh... it's a shame we can't do this with more former players, but here's Ron Francis with a few thoughts:
Having said all that, I would expect a different NJ team on Monday. Today the bounces went the Canes way, and NJ looked like a team that had a week off. NJ did not have the usual loose puck battle mentality that you would expect at this time of year. I expect that to change next game.
First NHL great to 802 goals? Wayne Gretzky. First NHL great with his own blog? Francis. I believe we know who wins out there.

Now, I'd wager more than 80 per cent of prognosticators picked the Devils to win this series, and with good reason given their hot streak coming in. Tom Lycan from Devil's Due, however, has perhaps the best description of the how batty people are going over New Jersey, saying the team has gone from 'underappreciated' to 'overhyped' after demolishing a woeful New York Rangers team in Round 1. (Speaking of Lycan's site, it's really one of the more informative and unbiased team blogs out there. Sure, it's from the Devils' perspective, but there's none of the 'Best Team Evar!' propaganda that clutters a lot of otherwise great sites.)

Still, I'd be stunned if New Jersey — and Martin Brodeur, who wasn't good at all today — doesn't rally and win Game 2.

The more you know
Carolina: red and black hockey, Ronnie Francis
New Jersey: Devil's Due, The Star-Ledger



At 8:46 a.m., May 07, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

Happy Birthday, Martin Brodeur.

At 12:56 p.m., May 07, 2006, Blogger CasonBlog said...

Staal reminds me more and more every day of Joe Thornton. He makes you roll forward in your chair when he carries the puck. So Marty has put out a contract on lil' Cam. That's class. Game on.

At 9:24 a.m., May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see Brodeur take a thumping like that. I get tired listening to announcers go on and on about how godly he is. I get the point! Talk about something else for a few minutes!


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