Cary, NC – 2019 could not have started better for the Canes with two wins – Thursday night’s 5-3 win in Philly followed by a complete team win against a strong Columbus Blue Jacket team 4-2 Friday night at the PNC Arena in front of another good crowd. Call up Greg McKegg playing his first game for the Canes led the way with a goal and an assist making the most of the game low 10:17 of ice time.
Ferland, Hamilton Open The Scoring
Rod Brind’Amour had the team ready after a physical game in Philly the night before as the Canes came out on fire. They were winning a majority of pucks, skated well off the puck, picked up men or positions when rushes on either end were happening and the Caniacs showed their appreciation early when the Canes stopped the Jackets from clearing their own zone on three attempts.
Early in the game Brock McGinn, who must be a league leader if the stat was kept of hitting posts, as he had an Ovechkin-like power shot that once again rang off the crossbar that was heard by everyone in the arena including cashier in The Eye. A quick look at the Canes bench saw more than one player break out with a wide grin and moan. Ginner deserves a break as he has been playing very well all season and the PA announcer does a great job calling his name on a goal or assist.
Warren Foegele drew the first penalty on an aggressive attempt to get the puck but it was the Jackets that had the best chance early in their penalty kill. After a weak shot on All Star goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, the Jackets had a 3-on-1 breakaway. David Savard was carrying the puck down the right side with Justin Faulk as the lone defender and 2 teammates on the left. Faulker’s positioning was perfect as he only left a shot that resulted in a hard slap shot which Curtis McElhinney snagged with a quick glove save. The Canes finally got their powerplay working with about 20 seconds remaining.
With just seconds left, Justin Williams passed the puck behind the net to Sebastian Aho. Seabass saw Michael Ferland just outside the slot making a pass along the ice for Ferland to do a one timer that beat Bobrovsky. I saw one second left on the power play but Bojangles must have been the official scorer as somehow, time advanced two seconds for an even-strength goal, meaning no free biscuits for CaryCitizen.com readers.
Just a minute and a half later, McKegg crossed the Jackets blue line made a soft drop pass to Hamilton who sent a wrister in from 55 feet in the upper right corner that Bob had a clear view but simply fanned in the glove save attempt, giving Hamilton his second goal in consecutive games with the hope 2019 will be the year he gets back his scoring touch. Saku Maenalanen playing in just his third NHL game got his first assist on Hamilton’s goal.
McKegg Nets First Goal As A Cane
Just under the seven-minute mark, the Canes had the puck in the Jackets end for a lengthy time. Ginner had the puck along the half boards on the far side and made an attempt to center Teuvo Teravainen. The Canes were in a line change with Seabass going off and McKegg coming on. Ginner pass hit a skate and nearly went over the blue line but Brett Pesce nonchalantly made a one handed snare of the puck on his left, saw McKegg rushing to the net, gave a lead pass through traffic that McKegg tipped in on a beautiful shot beating Bob and for the first time in Canes history, forced Bob from the goal. Jacket coach John Tortorella demands the best from his players in only a Torts way.
The Jackets were resting in Raleigh while the Canes were playing in Philly the night before and being a stronger team, you knew Torts would be demanding the team to dig deep. Late in the period, the Jackets took advantage of some weak and possibly tired moments for the Canes, or even puck-luck, as they popped in two goals within 25 seconds putting the Caniacs on the edge of their seats hoping they can retain the lead.
Aho Seals Win
Both teams dug deep in the third with tight forechecking and more physical hitting along the boards. Both team had game low shots on goal with the Canes getting off eight to the Jackets seven. CMac was solid in net and his glove was outstanding this game. In the beginning of the season, I saw more stick saves from CMac with redirection to the boards but now his glove has been his biggest asset. Both CMac and Petr Mrazek have been playing excellent in the last month and if the Canes can get some consistent goal scoring, there’s a chance they could vie for a playoff spot.
The Jackets’ first line is very strong and Torts must have had them on the ice for 10 minutes in the third as every attack seemed to have Cam Atkinson involved. Atkinson scored a hat trick during the Jackets first appearance in Raleigh earlier this season. Brind’Amour had the shutdown duo of Skavs and Pesce on the ice every time the Jackets top line was out there.
Late in the game, Slavin carried the puck from deep in his end, through the neutral zone, then turned in his jets going to the net on an impressive play. The Jackets pulled their goalie with around three minutes to go keeping most of their top line out their the entire time. The Canes cleared the puck a couple of time just missing the empty net but the result was icing for the faceoff back in the Canes’ end. With just seconds left in the game, Slavs blocked the puck in the middle of the ice sending it to Seabass right at the Canes’ blue line.
Seabass uses an extra long stick and used every inch as he out reached a Jacket, skootching the puck towards the far goal. The puck had enough momentum to make the goal but beat Zach Werenski by inches to the puck to tap it in with just two seconds remaining giving the Canes the win and extending the win streak to three games.
Next game is Friday, Jan 11, 2019 against Jeff Skinner and the Buffalo Sabres. There are tickets still available Canes 10 games for $199 is an unbelievable deal with is selling like hot hockey pucks. Be there!