Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Follow the bouncing puck

After a sixty minute performance worthy of the legend of Martin Brodeur, it took a freakish bouncing puck to propel the Carolina Hurricanes into a 2-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils.

Brodeur played with the zeal expected after last Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Canes, the Jersey goaltender sprawled and stabbed, slid and stopped as he denied the Carolina attack. Facing 38 shots on his net, Brodeur kept his team alive through three periods of play, in fact they were three seconds away from tying the series, but an Eric Staal goal in the dying seconds of the third changed the entire complexion of the game.

The Devils who had been celebrating a go ahead goal with 21 seconds remaining, suddenly found themselves tied and heading for an overtime period. When the extra frame began, the nightmares continued for the Devils as the Canes put away the winning goal at the three minute mark, as Niclas Wallin skated in on the Devils goaltender, the puck knocked off his stick deflecting off his skate and in behind Brodeur. After the obligatory video review the Hurricanes celebration of a 3-2 victory was on and the Devils were suddenly trailing the best of seven 2 games to none.

Carolina showed no quit in game two, they kept coming back on the attack in the Devils end of the rink and by the time that OT arrived they took advantage of the old adage head for the net and good things can happen.

New Jersey now hopes to recapture some bounces of their own in Game Three at the Meadowlands. Finding themselves on the wrong end of two consecutive games is rather foreign territory for the Devils who were riding high on a winning track heading into this series. They need to return to the style of play that found them winning fifteen in a row since mid march and moved them along nicely in the first round of the playoffs.

Carolina continues to build on their momentum, having topped the Devils twice now they can grab a complete hold on the series with a win in Jersey on Wednesday night. They continue to ride that horse named Cam Ward, the young Carolina goaltender now sitting on six straight victories since he replaced Martin Gerber in game two of the Montreal series.

They’ve gained two wins at home, now they must take at least one in the unfriendly confines of the Meadowlands. Expect the Devils to make their visit as uncomfortable as possible!

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