The Carolina Hurricanes have quietly been one of the best teams in the National Hockey League this year. Yes, I’m aware that I said that about a 23rd place team, but they’ve struggled with some cold struggled with some cold sticks and absolutely dreadful goaltending. Cam Ward hasn’t been good in half a decade, and Eddie Lack has been about as reliable a poorly assembled Ikea table that shares his name.
You wouldn’t know it based on tonight, though, as he shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 1-0 overtime snoozefest.
To be honest, there’s not a lot to talk about in this game. The Leafs controlled much of the play throughout the first two periods, but there weren’t any definitively threatening moments on either side. The Canes poured it on in the third, seemingly finding every hole possible to get the puck towards James Reimer while getting in front of nearly every Toronto opportunity, turning a (still mildly worrisome) 2:1 shot attempt ratio into a 5:1 on-net ratio for Carolina in the closing twenty.
The game headed to overtime, where the double-shutout was finally snapped by Jordan Staal with two minutes to go in the extra frame.
As much as I believe that Tyler Bozak has ben a much-improved player this year, he’s the most obviously “off’ player on this shift. He misses his attempted man three times in mere seconds; too late on his hit on Staal, too late to get into Faulk’s lane (inward or outward), and too late to stop Staal’s rebound. At the same time it’s not one man’s job to shut down three; Morgan Rielly was also slow to react on the last shot.
Since there’s less to talk about tonight, we’re not going to use the traditional headers. However, I don’t think there are any guesses needed as to who tonight’s Blue Warrior is. James Reimer had a fantastic night, even as the Canes turned it on in the third period. Stopping 40 of 41 is no small feat, and he’s the absolute last person you can point at for the loss.
The blame for this game goes solely to James Reimer. If he wanted the win, he would’ve scored a couple goals.
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 22, 2015
Toronto’s next game comes on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. To be honest, I’m not sure what the best case scenario for the Leafs is there. Nobody should want the Habs to tank hard enough to get a blue chip prospect in a few months, so it would be nice if they hurried up with the firing of Michel Therrien and began to rebound. At the same time, seeing the Habs win, keeping his job temporarily safe, followed by more losses, a fire sale, and Carey Price carrying a corpse of a team through March and April to avoid the bottom would be hilarious.
I don’t know. All I know is the last time that Therrien’s job was on the line and he lost to the Leafs, he was fired the next morning and his former Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup. Decisions, decisions.. puck drop for that game comes at 7 PM.