Scary stat on Puck Daddy today: Carolina is 7-0 in games in which Eric Staal has scored a goal in the postseason. Which, of course, accounts for all of their wins to this point.
That, in turn, means that ol’ Staalsy ain’t doin’ dick in the six games they’ve lost so far. And you’ll never guess what: Staal didn’t score tonight. And the Hurricanes lost. Nice of the kid to show up in the big games, innit?
Meanwhile, the Bruins’ star forwards are actually going against the Staalian school here, and performing well. Marc Savard scored a goal on a beautiful setup by Milan Lucic. Patrice Bergeron engineered a pair of brilliant goals. And meanwhile Matt freakin’ Cullen and Sergei Samsonov have to do the heavy lifting for Paul Maurice and his crew, who have spectacularly bungled a series that looked to be very much in hand just five days ago.
Not only did they fail to show up in Boston for Game 5 — and I don’t think many experts were giving them a chance to win twice in a row at the TD Banknorth Garden — but the way in which they comported themselves in the game’s waning moments (i.e. the Scott Walker cheapshot on Aaron Ward) gave the Bruins an actual reason to do something they had not done in the prior four games of the series: play with emotion.
Now they had a beloved team leader who had been sucker punched and, it was feared, would be unavailable for tonight’s game (and all because he had the temerity to engage an opposing forward on the edge of the crease), they had some gasoline to throw on the competitive fire that had been slowly dying for the prior few games. The Ward Situation obviously wasn’t going to sit well. Was it any surprise that they jumped on the first two decent scoring chances they had just to really, as the kids say, shove it up Carolina’s asses?
So instead of going down to Raleigh with a world of pressure on their backs to keep the series alive, the Bruins went down with a purpose: beat the christ out of the team that had attempted to put one of the most veteran guys on the team out of commission. And they jumped out to a two-goal lead nice and early, and once again put four past Cam Ward, this time on just 19 shots. That makes eight goals against in the last two games for Killa Cam on a mere 59 shots. That’s a save percentage of .864. And that sucks very badly.
And now the series goes back to Boston for Game 7. All the pressure is now on Carolina to salvage something from the wreckage of their playoff hopes here, so that they can begin life anew against the winner of this wonderful Caps/Pens series. But they can’t have any belief in their ability to beat Boston any more (their fans sure don’t). And with good reason. The Hurricanes have already been downgraded to a tropical storm and by the time 10 p.m. rolls around on Thursday, it’s more likely to be little more than just a bit of bluster, the dying memory of what could once have been a fearsome storm.
Umbrella weather. At best.
Anaheim 2, Detroit 1
I seem to remember my saying that once Ryan Getzlaf fully recovered from the flu, Anaheim would turn it all around and force a Game 7. Hmm, let’s see what Getzlaf did tonight. Oh, it says here he scored a goal. That’s nice. Oh and he had an assist on the game-winner as well? Whaddaya know. The e-mail link to issue formal apologies and heap praise upon me is up and to this column’s immediate right.