Ron Francis: Hurricanes' Quest for the Cup

Ron Francis, whose jersey was retired by the Hurricanes earlier this year after a 23-year hockey career, will blog exclusively for WRAL.com about the 'Canes bid for the Stanley Cup.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fast Enough?

Wow! Was that fast enough for you? What a fast paced game. It was kind of different games within the game. I thought the first period was pretty much dominated by the Canes. After the first goal by the Sabres, the Canes seemed to settle down and get into their game. As a result, they had the majority of scoring chances and really could have had a big lead after the first. I must admit I was a little concerned when the Canes played as well as they did in the first and the game was only tied 1-1. The second period was totally different from the first. It seemed like the Sabres gained some confidence in the first intermission, knowing they had not played their best in the first and were still in the hockey game. The second period was a totally different period. Buffalo was skating much better in this period and the Canes weren't. As a result the Sabres took over the game and if not for a skate save by Commodore it could have been 3-1 at the end of 2 instead of the 2-1 score. In the 3rd, things changed once again. The Canes dominated the period but in the end still lost the game. Overall this was a close game on most fronts. PK,PP,shots, scoring chances, etc. were fairly even. As we said before this series started, it will be a close one. The Canes don't have to change much other than finding a way to score on some of their chances and changing the end result of the game. They will have a chance to accomplish that on Mon. night.

20 Comments:

  • At 5/20/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger Bear said…

    It was a very fast paced as I expect it would be. I feel the Sabres made a better adjustment between the first and second periods. This series will be a big test for the Canes, but I really do think they can win. I am looking forward to Monday.

     
  • At 5/20/2006 8:26 PM, Blogger Louie Hannen said…

    I'm a Hurricanes fan, but I have got to admit that Miller did a heck of a job in-goal for Buffalo. We sat in section 125, which was behind and to the right of the away team's goal in the first and the third. With the shots that Carolina was dishing out, Buffalo should feel really good about getting away from this one with a win. Ward/Brodeur didn't seem to be the matchup that it could have been. This time things appear to be different.

    Overall I'm pleased with how Carolina played. Their A-game is still showing even though they seemed a little rusty after the stretch between series 2 and 3. First period seemed on and off (mostly on). Second period was rough. Third period was absolutely great. It's a good way to set up game two even though it's not the BEST way.

    Now all they need to do is keep playing that game and solve Miller. It wasn't as tough during the season against the Sabres, but he seems to be a different animal now. Not every goal should need to be as amazing as Brind'Amour's lift over him today to make it in. (That was beautiful to watch, by the way.)

     
  • At 5/20/2006 8:49 PM, Blogger iBm said…

    The game was fast paced - I agree on the first period that the Canes dominated. The second period we just couldn't keep it out of our zone. Buffalo seem to have better drive. With the Canes coming back in the third I was thrilled when Commodore took a shot and disappointed we didn't get on OT.

    Honestly - I've seen both teams play better. Come Monday I know the Canes will come out with a force and once they review today's game - they'll find the back of the net come game 2.

    We still believe it's going to be the Canes/Oilers.....

     
  • At 5/20/2006 9:13 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Fast paced indeed...I still can't get over how I was actually concerned about the game running over into the Preakness on TV. O_O

    As always, I totally agree with your analysis...especially in how the second period was totally off compared to the first. The Canes were definitely better in the third, but nowhere like the first.

    BUT overall, I did not think the Canes played all that rotten. Despite (thankfully) not getting blown out, this game reminds me an awful lot of the Montreal series...the Canes' main problem, IMHO, is figuring out Miller, just like they had to figure out Huet.

    Plenty will say that Buffalo's defense was good...and it has been in their past two series. BUT, the Canes got through the Swords' D enough today that I think there are no problems there.

    Again, my largest concern thus far is, thanks to the ridiculous ticket price increase, the Buffalo fans outnumbering the Canes fans at the RBC Center, especially after what I've read at a couple of message boards earlier this evening. I cannot help but wonder if there had been more Caniacs in the building, if the tide would have been more in the Canes' favor. Probably wouldn't have made a whole lot of difference...but then again, it might have. Afterall, the Canes players have constantly said that they feed off of the energy from the crowds. AND if the crowds are composed primarily of Sabre fans, how can the Canes feed off of that? Can't be easy for 'em...

    But anyway, as I said in my blogs: Don't get too down Caniacs AND don't get too high Sabre afficionados, it *is* just the first game. Still a lot of series to be played.

     
  • At 5/20/2006 9:15 PM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    If they figured out Marty (and they did ) surely they can figure out this young whipper snipper !! It sure wasn't from lack of trying -they came on fast and furious !! The CB connection is hangin' in -waitin' for Monday when the tide will turn !I can feel it in my bones (unless that's arthritis setting in -nah ,I ain't that old !)Til then !!

     
  • At 5/20/2006 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are so right. Though I think the canes need to work on their passing and I would sure like to see them doing a little more hitting. They seemed to do more chasing then I liked to see. And let's teach some hockey etiquette to the fans.

     
  • At 5/20/2006 9:56 PM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    What an entertaining game!! Despite loosing, I thought the Canes looked very strong. Miller was hot and that made a difference! What the Canes showed me is that was only one game and they are in the series to win. Can't wait until Monday.

     
  • At 5/20/2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    I was at the game and watched a recorded replay afterwards. I totally agree - the main problem the Canes had today was not finishing. The chances were there - they just need to capitalize.

    I think this series will be incredibly tight. It'll all come out in the wash and the best team will win.

     
  • At 5/21/2006 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The puck really seemed to be bouncing on the ice today, and cost the Canes a few good shot/passes and possible goals.

    I hope Monday is a little colder and the ice a little smoother.

     
  • At 5/21/2006 3:36 AM, Blogger linda schlachter said…

    HEY RONNIE ,FIRST OF ALL GLAD YOU DECIDE TO STAY IN NC. WE LOVE HAVING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HERE. THEN THE GAME TODAY. I THINK THE CANES DID A REAL GOOD JOB THE FIRST PERIOD, BUT IT'S LIKE THE SECOND ONE THEY COULDN'T GET THEIR MOMENTUM GOING. THE CANES ARE A REALLY GOOD TEAM AND I THINK THEY CAN GO ALL THE WAY IF THEY STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT,(THAT BRASS RING,THE STANLEY CUP) SO YOU GO CANES AND I EXPECT TO SEE A DIFFERENT GAME ON MON. NIGHT. YOUR FANS BELIEVE AND WE WON'T LET YOU DOWN. YOU ARE THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO NC. WE LOVE YOU!!!

     
  • At 5/21/2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron,

    Great analysis as usual. Thanks for all the great seasons that you provided to all of us Caniacs! I was fortunate enough to be at the game yesterday; it was an excellent contest. My daughter and I tailgated with some Sabres' fans and we gave them some of our 'Hot Wings' and they gave us some shrimp. Outside of some fun ribbing, we all got along fine; they were great people. Also, maybe some people went to a different game, but to my eyes (and ears!) there were far more Canes fans than Sabres fans.

    I feel like the Canes picked up some momemtum from the 3rd Period that will carry over into Monday's game. That Miller really saved the Sabres' bacon, boy. In my humble opinion, the Canes would be more successful getting goals by creating more traffic in front of Miller. The Sabres seemed to do a good job of that on Cam Ward and the Mckee goal was a result of that.

    This series will go seven, no doubt. I believe the Canes will prevail in the end; they've more than proven their mettle thus far.

    GO CANES!!!!!

     
  • At 5/21/2006 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm an huge Canes fan but the guys need to tighten up their second period play. I can't even count the number of games I have been to where they are come out a bit slow in the middle period.
    To Stormbringer---totally agree with your comments regarding the fans' behavior. I have been to all of the playoff home games this year but I have never seen the behavior so obnoxious by some of the so-called fans. The game should be played on the ice not in the parking lot or in the stands.

    Canes in 5 (or 6 or 7-Whatever it Takes!)

     
  • At 5/21/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Bobbert said…

    Hate to just add a "me too", but I will anyways. The Canes have nothing to be ashamed of. They played a great game and it just didn't work out this time. I wouldn't change a thing for Game 2. We will get the good bounces and capitalize on them. GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/21/2006 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ronnie, great blog you have had here and the on air with Gravely has been entertaining also.

    Nobody wants to point out what happened here in Game 1 - Cam got beat bad on goals 1 and 2. I hope Martin G worked hard in practice today so he's ready if the same thing happens in Game 2 here Monday.

     
  • At 5/22/2006 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I say yall are right in the fact that they were strong. Now to miller it is an easy solve, being a goalie my self what I saw was that he got lucky and pucks hit him in the most unusual places.... middle of the arms, shoulders, that were on the ouside of his body frame work. He never saw them coming. The need for more active bodies in front of net and more shots from pts. Now go Canes

     
  • At 5/22/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Game 1 was a good indication of the style of hockey we can expect to see this series. While the result was not what we wanted, the pace of the game was fantastic. Miller gets the nod in game one, Cam looked like he might be fighting it a bit. Needs to adjust for the Sabres speed and he will be OK. Our defensemen will have to play really smart on the pinch and not get caught out of position because their forwards are quick! Our forwards must win the battles to the loose pucks, especially in front of their goal. This will be a battle....tonight is a big game!!!! Go Canes!!!

    JE

     
  • At 5/22/2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Monday morning - and a good morning to y'all!

    The game was exciting and it can go either way, that's why the Canes need to play with the energy they do in the 3rd period when they are behind.

    Miller is an athletic goalie and seems to maintain his balance whatever he does. Cam has been excellent for us but when he does those body twisting saves our team needs to back him up in that net in case of a rebound. We also have a lot of traffic in the front of our net and if that puck gets loose deep and on the outside, its a good chance the Sabres will get it, off they'll go with a potential one on one or one on two. We have to be aggressive and take them off the puck. Just an observation :)

    Overall, I'm proud of our guys and each period needs to be played consistently or we'll be playing that "catch-up" game. We're good at that however you don't want to be playing that theme throughout the series.

    Everyone have a great day. Get those flags out, honk those horns and show our boys that we're behind them and HOCKEY IS HERE TO STAY, WHATEVER IT TAKES!!

     
  • At 5/22/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was a fast game.. and tonight's should be just a good. To the person who commented that Sabre Fans outnumbered Caniacs.. since when do 2000 (maybe) fans outnumber 16,000...

    GO CANES.. and keep up the good work Ronnie.

    LAL

     
  • At 5/22/2006 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe that an anonymous "goalie" said that Miller was "lucky" - what game were you watching? I'd say the "luck" in this game was goal 2 for the 'Canes. Miller was outstanding, as was the entire Sabre team. It makes me laugh to see the Hurricanes fans saying how obnoxious the Sabres fans are (repeat of complaints about NJ fans) - Funny, the 'Canes fans (new ones and all) seem to be the most obnoxious of all the teams played in the play-offs. I've never heard so much whining about being under-rated and so much crap-talk when you're winning. I'm not even a Buffalo fan, but sure hope they dish it again tonight. All is quiet today in my world surrounded by Hurricanes fans and let's keep it that way. Go Sabres!!
    --- a NJ Devils fan

     
  • At 5/22/2006 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To the NJ Devil fan, come on! Overall, there really hasn't been any negative statements except from you. I don't know what other people are posting in other forums but this one has been one of encouragement and game review. Yes, the Sabres are going to be tough opponents and I can understand you being a Buffalo fan since your NJ team didn't make it any further however ALL teams have their whiners and those that hop on the band wagon when the team is doing well. I will say that overall, the Hurricanes are under-rated in the NHL even after their exceptional season this year. So let's keep it light and just enjoy the hockey that both teams are giving us right now. I will agree with one thing, Miller is NOT lucky.

     

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