At this point, the Carolina Hurricanes are playing for respect. They're not expected to make a playoff run, and a lot of fans are ready for this season to be over. They have already begun the dreaded "there's always next year" thinking.
However, last night's game was a different kind of game for the 'Canes: It was one of their better games all season.
I'm sure that most of you saw it, but in case you didn't, they defeated the Boston Bruins, 5-1, on home ice. Cam Ward deserves a ton of credit for playing an outstanding game between the pipes.
The really impressive thing, though, was the Carolina offense. They moved quickly, their power play was outstanding, and their ability to capitalize on Boston's defensive mistakes was a big difference-maker.
Really, that's the biggest reason that this game was so one-sided. The Boston Bruins were making a ton of mistakes in their defensive zone. The first goal the 'Canes scored was a bad pass in the slot, followed by Thomas making an overly aggressive move to poke-check the puck away. It left the net wide open for the 'Canes.
The rest of the goals followed a different pattern. The 'Canes did a great job moving the puck in the attacking zone and were able to catch Thomas out of position a few times.
However, there were a couple of goals that deserve some credit. Staal's goal was off a behind the back pass from Jokinen. I can't really explain it here; you'll have to see the highlights, but it was impressive.
The fourth goal was a great deke by Whitney that created a two-on-one. That two-on-one created a mismatch in front of the net on which Thomas didn't have a chance. Again, you'll have to look at the highlights to get a full appreciation for the play (see highlights).
It's been tough to watch the 'Canes play for most of the season. However, this game was one of their better ones. At this point, they're playing for respect. Last night, their offense deserved a ton of it.