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.

Monday, May 08, 2006

JUST REWARD

What? You didn't think it was going to be as easy as Sunday did you? Other than the first period, where I thought the Devils played better than in game1, and the Canes didn't play as well as they played in game one, I thought the Canes showed once again why I like this match up. The Canes outshot the Devils in the last 2 periods and overtime 30-9. They owned the face off circle 40-23. Yes it was lucky to score a goal 17 seconds after NJ went up 2-1, but I felt they had really taken over the game in the 3rd priod and deserved to win the game. Defensively, the Canes did a good job of keeping the Devils smaller forwards on the perimeter, and not giving them a lot of real good quality chances. Offensively, they did a good job of causing confusion for the Devils buy using their speed to pressure and by using the area behind the NJ net to their advantage. Once again they won the special teams battle and have yet to allow a NJ PP goal in the series. Yes, this game was a lot closer on the scoreboard, but a lot of that was a result of Brodeur bouncing back with a tremendous game( like we all expected), and not because the game was played evenly. In the end, I'm sure NJ feels they let one get away, and I'm sure the Canes feel they got what they deserved. Both teams are right. The Canes were lucky to get a goal with 3 seconds left, but they also were the better team for most of the game. The Canes did what they had to do winning 2 games at home, now the focus turns to NJ and the goal becomes winning game 3. NJ on the other hand understands the situation they are in and have a lot of playoff experience to help dig themselves out of the hole they're in. Wednesday night should be another beauty.

41 Comments:

  • At 5/08/2006 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    2 games. 2 words. Rod Brind'Amour.

     
  • At 5/08/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    What an amazing game! Brodeur almost stole it from us, but it all came out in the wash. Two more to go! On to Jersey!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Too crazy!! That was some game. I'm glad it ended the right way :) Thanks go out to Justin Williams for getting the puck to Eric Staal. (I was just beginning to wonder when we'd see Eric's nightly point.) A game like this shows why you should never leave the arena early!!! Unfortunately, the story on nhl.com doesn't give the Canes much credit, and it goes on and on about how great Brodeur is (again). He made some great saves, it's true, but did he get a win? I don't think so!

    Ron, if you don't have XM radio, you need to get it and then you need to call into the shows they have and give them the real scoop on Carolina.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:06 AM, Blogger canesguy said…

    I totally agree with Ronnie that we deserved to win. Instead of being frustrated by Bodeur's outstanding play in the net, the Canes just kept fighting. Lucky bounce - yes - but that's what can happen when good, or let me change that to great, teams never say die. They make their own bounces. I am one very happy Caniac, home from the game, but I won't be going to sleep anytime soon. What a high! On to New Jersey. LETS GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Getting up very early in the morning paid off again. The Canes looked a little off the 1st period, with turnovers and not a lot of offense. But, like Mr. Francis said, they owned the last 2 periods and the OT.

    Now for the shocker, my wife and son left the game after the Devils scored in the 3rd with only 20 second left...WOW!!!!! On the way home they heard Erics goal on the radio and made to a local sports bar to see the Canes put it away in OT.

    How many other Caniacs left too early, I hope not many.

    SFC Ken

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:19 AM, Anonymous GraveyCane said…

    Amen on the Brind'Amour props! He made that nice steal to give the pass to Wallin...he never stops working. This is a freaking fun team to watch...NEVER OUT OF IT.

    Two more tough wins...at least we know they will not quit.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:46 AM, Blogger canesguy said…

    I agree that all the commentator boohooing about "poor Martin Brodeur" is getting very old. Oh well, who got the win - THE CANES!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 2:21 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Despite a couple of criticisms in my own blogs, I actually agree that the Canes played good for the most part. But, as I predicted, it was nothing like Game One because the Devils, especially Brodey and the defense, played good too.

    BUT, the one thing the Canes have that the Devils (and all the other teams for that matter) don't have after tonight: THE BEST game-tying goal in the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far. Three seconds left AND through Brodey's five-hole?! Wow. Staalsy deserves way more than just a pat on the shoulder for that beauty...

     
  • At 5/09/2006 3:47 AM, Anonymous Darren said…

    Can OLN and NBC get some non-biased announcers? It is getting old hearing about how great the Devils are and how lucky we are.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 6:01 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Now , this a match-up that could sell hockey to anyone ! It just seems that to a man ,every Cane wants this so bad ,they can taste it ! Another ssort overtime finishing the way I want -ooh ,life is good .Yes ,it was Brodeur back in better form -{must have caught his breath after blowing out those candles!) but the Canes were relentless -and that's a good thing !! A very good thing !This Canadian will catch up with you after the next game ! Wish I could be at that game too -but the commute is still too much !!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 6:31 AM, Blogger HurricanesAngel said…

    Drive and Determination will get you far... it will get you 2 games up going into the Devils' territory. The Hurricanes' have given us some thrilling games. I hope to see them finish it off in 2 more! Go Canes'!!!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 7:12 AM, Anonymous Puck Bard said…

    No poem this time...

    Because, I was at that game and it WAS poetry. Amazing.

    And not to take anything away from Brind'Amour, but that was Staal's game last night.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:09 AM, Blogger rmmeli said…

    There is no doubt the better team won on the night. For some reason the Canes let the Devils take over the game in the first period. When they have the confidence to believe they are the better team, play the game the way they are built to play, they can take the Devils. That belief seemed to come back for periods 2, 3 and OT. Brodeur to me still does not look the great goalie he should be. Some of his plays around the net seemed a bit strange to me. Compare his performance to the calm, reassured performance of the rookie at the other end. To me that puts Brodeur's performance into perspective. The Canes have the beating of the Devils - they just need to believe it themselves. Still as we saw against Montreal, a lot can (and will) happen yet in his series.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:09 AM, Anonymous Puma said…

    I can't stand the OLN announcers... I turned the game on the TV, but turned the sound down and listened Chuck Kaiton and John Forslund call the game.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    2 games. 2 words. NOT OVER...
    Go Devils!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:19 AM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    Great game! Wish I could have been there, but I will agree with Darren. Where are the non-biased commentators, not at OLN or NBC, give us John and Tripp back!

    I will admit I turned the channel with 20 seconds left, but then turned back to catch Staal's beauty of a goal! I am so happy that we won last night!!! Great game!!! Now it's up to NJ! My brother is even pulling for us since he's team has already been eliminated. Twins think alike!!!! =)

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:44 AM, Blogger Robin said…

    That game was the epitome of perseverance! I am totally proud of what our guys accomplished Monday against New Jersey.... I don't think I have ever been in such a state of euphoria before. GO CANES!!! Thank you for creating our new HOCKEY TOWN!!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger iBm said…

    An exciting game with our row left saying to the crowd "Why are you leaving? " If you spport them while they are up then you should support them while they are down. YOU have to believe and know they will give it their all until the end. Game tie at 3.7 seconds - should I say anymore.

    Softer start for the Canes but a good turn around in the 2nd and 3rd periods. You knew it wasn't going to be easy (AMD) in regards to your coment of "Just Reward" - I did feel that the Canes deserved to win this round.

    Way to go Canes! We'll be pulling for you while you are in NJ territory.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Moose said…

    What a game. The roar from the crowd when the puck found the net with 3 seconds to go was unbelievable. It was funny that a lot of the folks around us had already left and headed for the doors only to rush back. When is the national sports guys going to see that the Canes are a legit team? They did the same thing in 02 and ate a lot of crow they better get ready cause we are gathering steam.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To all the fans that left right after the Devils goal in the 3rd....

    I hope you left the building and weren't able to get back in when you heard it was in overtime.

    Never bail on the Canes like that.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:51 PM, Blogger E said…

    To the anonymous Devils fan and all Devils fans,

    Three words, you'll appreciate this Ron, "No Scott Stevens"

     
  • At 5/09/2006 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    3 words...."Thats Hockey Baby"

     
  • At 5/09/2006 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To "e" and all who jumped on an early Hurricanes wagon only to jump off during the seasons they weren't playing well, and then to jump back on again now that they're in the playoffs... You're right "e", Ron Francis is no Scott Stevens...and shame on you Hurricanes fans who left before your lucky 3 seconds goal...a fan is a fan thru thick AND thin!
    GO DEVILS!! NJ Devils hockey IS hockey baby!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 2:19 PM, Anonymous Kim said…

    As Mr. Francis said, this series really is a great matchup for the Canes. The Devils absolutely cannot skate with us when we play our game. We let up just a bit at the very end of regulation, looking like we were going to coast into OT, something you can never do in hockey. But I've never seen six guys skate as hard as our guys did for the final 20 seconds leading to Staal's tying goal. That determination is why I think this team has a chance to go the distance...

    If we can get our legs going from the start and keep them going for three periods, we will continue to draw penalties and control play. This is what ultimately limits NJ's chances and gives us the advantage.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't help but think that Brindy lost the center ice face off, with 20 seconds left, on purpose. That was the quickest way to get the puck in the Jersey zone. If Brindy wins the draw back to our defense, I don't think we have enough time to score. Just a great game by the boys who don't quit! Let's not forget the play A. Ward made in OT. His diving stop on the 3 on one break for NJ not only set up a great scoring chance for Cullen, but probably also saved the game for the Canes. Great team effort!!!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Three words, you'll appreciate this Ron, "No Scott Stevens".

    AMEN!

    On NBC this past Saturday, they showed "The Hit" from 2001. It was my first time seeing that thing, and it practically gave me a heart-attack, despite its having happened five years ago. Simply appalling, at least to me, how someone could do that to Mr. Francis AND how it was deemed a "legal" hit! O_O

    That said, it is rather ironic that the Canes and Devils retired the jersey numbers of Ronnie AND Stevens this season. Therefore making the Canes winning over the Devils in this series *that much more* appropro, in my "humble" opinion. ;)

     
  • At 5/09/2006 3:49 PM, Anonymous Puck Bard said…

    Ode to 9 goals against Brodeur

    Tick-tick-ticking, ticking clock,
    Counting down, Carolina tick-toc.
    Brodeur focused, set for the bout
    Brodeur say, "Me shut 'em out".

    At 6:20 he may be right,
    Devils put the puck in flight.
    Lang'brunner say, "first goal is mine",
    Tick-tick-ticking, ticking time.

    Brodeur fall, he hit the decky,
    18:18, here come Recci,
    Puck deflects, puck is in,
    Canes have tied, but have no win

    Sand is running, seconds ticking,
    Here comes Gomez cherry picking,
    Gomez shifting, use his sticky
    Boy these Jersey devils are tricky!

    20 seconds still remaining,
    Hopes are dashed, crowd is leaving,
    Williams weaving, Staal he spies,
    3 seconds left, Canes have tied!

    Overtime, Canes fans roar,
    Marty Brodeur back for more,
    Marty grumpy... huffy-puffy,
    This time Marty show his stuffy:
    "Me no get beat by no rookie,
    This time Marty close the booky."

    Brind'Amour, big and bruising,
    Open ice, sees Wallin cruising,
    Takes the pass from Rod the beast,
    Marty ready at the crease,

    Wallin deaking, Wallin rushing,
    Marty's legs they turn to mushy,
    Wallin pushes, crash the net,
    Did his skate the puck deflect?

    Goal contested, in review,
    Up to T'ronto, Raleigh boos.
    Ref now says it's understood
    time defeated, goal is good!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 4:16 PM, Anonymous Another Devils Fan said…

    ---Three words, you'll appreciate this Ron, "No Scott Stevens"---

    No kidding you guys are saying that! If the Hurricanes actually had to play Stevens again, it would be another few years before we’d ever hear the end of the whining - again! This is hockey and as good as it gets. Lucky shots don’t win cups (time and time again). Let’s not forget the depth the NJ Devils have, have always had, and will always have. Carolina is a team that has been riding an up and down wave since their resurrection from the Whalers – the broadcasters are going to remind the viewers of that until the Hurricanes can prove themselves a mighty hockey club by showing consistency through the years. Prove that time after time like the NJ Devils and the other great legends, and maybe some respect will be shown. If the ‘Canes can manage to beat the Devils (somehow by the grace of God) then all the power to them on the quest for the cup. But let’s not have you guys get ahead of yourself. It seems to me the players have more composure and acceptance of reality than the fans. The fans have to remember that your beloved ‘Canes were down 0-2 in round one, only to pull that series off with a key injury to the Canadiens among other things. As for too much talk about how great Brodeur is - What do you expect to hear about the BEST?

     
  • At 5/09/2006 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In all the commotion of the last 20 seconds, I didn't notice we had six forwards on the ice. What a great move by the coach! Not original, necessarily, but great! I do believe that Eric Staal's favorite place to score from is up close. (Of course he can rip it from outside also :) So many of his goals this year are from close range.

    If you want to see something fun, go to nhl.com and click on "players." There's a little video icon that shows all their goals this year, right in a row. That's how you learn where a player's best spot to shoot from is.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger E said…

    Early Bandwagon, That's funny. Hey I have been a loyal Philadelphia Flyers fan since 1981. I support the Hurricanes and follow them with the Flyers. I am especially glad that 2/3's of the Wrecking crew are back together. Devils quit being the haters that you are and come to grips that thug hockey is no longer welcome in the NHL. This year proved it. Hey, Ron you think you can talk to PK to get Leclair.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger WhalersFan said…

    Wow, people get nasty when they are losing. Bottom line...All the canes have to do is keep on doing exactly what they have been doing. Who cares whether the commentators give them credit, who cares whether the NJ fans say it was just luck, we can't stop them from their opinion. We know how good our Canes are... those people will keep talking right though this series and they will continue as they watch us go on to the next series. But that is OKAY... does it really matter in the end?
    LETS GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 6:48 PM, Blogger Mikeyusmc said…

    To follow a couple of lines of thought. I as was every was dismayed at the Devils scoring with 20 seconds left. I had a strong feeling though when I saw that Cam had been lifted before the faceoff that we would score. No doubt in my mind. Laviolette has done this several times this season and we have a good record with pulling the goalie. As far as the commentators I myself am disappointed that anytime the canes do well it is "luck" or " a bad break" for the other team. Had we not played this same game all season there would be basis for that train of thought, but we did. Other than the Canes having a slide at the end of the year and the Wings surging we were the most dominant team all year. Not gonna say we should have won the President's Cup because we didn't. All the credit in the world to the Detroit Red Wings, but where are they now? I have been a loyal han of the Canes since the first year in Greensboro and will continue to be. My hope is that the rest of the "fans" will do the same. Go Canes!!!!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 6:58 PM, Blogger Rick said…

    Thanks, Ron, for this awesome Blog! Your multitude of NHL experience, indeed a Cane for many years, gives you a unique insight that blesses us all! As I watch the Canes this season, what impresses me the most and is, I think, singularly the most important factor in their continuing success, their desire. Just plain ol' raw and claw desire! The never-say-die desire! Indeed what many have called "lucky" referring to the last second goal, I call desire. I continue to pray that this desire for victory remains fervent till the Fat Lady sings and Lord Stanley's Cup is arest in Raleigh!

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The only thing better than beating the Devils is listening to Devil's fans. "Well if we had Scott Stevens..." blah, blah blah. I'm acutally a Canes fan who liked Scott Stevens a lot. Great player, great attitude. Loved his style and hope Jack Johnson will have some of that. But the hit on Willis while "legal" certainly took no courage or guts. More of a Domi kind of play.

    Yes I left with 20 sec. to go. But I got my kids home to bed 1 hr sooner that way. I still got my $ 300. worth.
    Go Canes.

     
  • At 5/09/2006 8:50 PM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    What a ending!!! I couldn't make the game so was forced to watch on TV. I think the entire neighborhood heard me when Staals scored with 3 seconds to go. As far as the TV goes..I miss John & Tripp. These OLN guys stink!!

     
  • At 5/10/2006 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good Morning Ronnie and fellow bloggers....

    Mondays game WAS hockey! I've never had such an array of emotions. I will never understand why the Whalers/Hurricanes have never gotten any kind of recognition in the hockey world. I firmly believe if you were on another team you would have gotten the recognition that you so deserved. Maybe you can enlighten us on our lack of respect. Tampa Bay gets more recognition than we do and yes they won a Stanley Cup however we have history in the NHL along with more consistency in reaching the playoffs. I wonder if it has to do with management moving the Whalers down to the south? Whatever the reason, we have a terrific sport right here in Raleigh and I will continue to be a fan no matter what kind of record we have. GO CANES - WHATEVER IT TAKES!

     
  • At 5/10/2006 10:30 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    My boys are not happy! Colorado on the verge of Sha Na Na 'ing out the door and the D's -oh,well -someone has to lose -and they're doing it so well !!
    Having never played (except on the street ),I often physically cringe at some hits. I know the guys are well padded -but ...just out of curiosity ,how long do the aches of a 2,3 or 4 round playoff year last into the summer ? Not from a particular injury ,just the expected wear and tear from a well fought series !
    Looking forward to tonight !! Go,Canes ! Catch you later !

     
  • At 5/10/2006 12:33 PM, Blogger Sherrie said…

    The Canes R.O.C.K.!!!!!!

    Staal was THE MAN

    SCORE!!!!!!!!!!

    3 seconds...

    count'em..1..2..3...

    I only wish I had been at the game.

     
  • At 5/10/2006 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Another devil's fan" says that they have depth. Are you kidding? You have a great goalie, good offensive players, a good coach, but not depth.

    You are thin at defense. Otherwise, why is Rafalski playing all those minutes.

    Scott Stevens was a great player. I have all the respect in the world for him. But he is history and so are the New Jersey Devils you remember. Get used to it - the Canes are here to stay.

     
  • At 5/10/2006 3:56 PM, Blogger sluihn said…

    Wow! Thanks for blogging Ron! I am so excited about the Canes this year! This is my daughter's first hockey season (she's 2 now) and she is already in love with the game! I can't wait for tonight's game! My family will be watching and sending major mojo their way!

     
  • At 5/10/2006 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    can we trade tripp tracy for a bucket of used pucks and some dirty jock-straps? carolina would definitely come out better

     

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