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 22, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Although the Canes didn't start the way I expected, they started to take over the game about half way through the 1st period and didn't look back. The 2nd period was complete domination as noted by the 16-4 shots on net edge by the Canes and the 28-10 edge over the first 2 periods. The final 4-3 score was in no way indicative of the way the game was played. I really expected the Canes to win this one, since they found out in the 1st round just how tough it is to come back from a 2-0 games hole. Now that the Canes have climbed back into this series, the must gear themselves up for a very critical game 3 in Buffalo Wed. The Canes PP was good again, but their PK needs to be better, especially now that they are going on the road where special teams can make a huge difference in determining wins and losses. The Canes for most of the first 2 games were the better team, but the series is tied with the next 2 games in Buffalo. The Canes obviously need to win at least 1 of the next 2 games but the pressure would be greater on them to win game 4 if they were down 2-1 after game three, and conversely, the pressure would be greater on Buffalo if they were down 2-1 with game five looming in Raleigh, so game 3 is a huge game for both teams. The Canes need to play the same way they did for most of the first 2 games and also must realize that the Sabre team that will they see in Buffalo will be different from the one they saw in Raleigh. Tonight the Canes did exactly what they needed to do; mission accomplished. However, there is not much time to enjoy it since the next mission is only 2 nights away. It should be another beauty!

27 Comments:

  • At 5/22/2006 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How about Glen Wesley tonight...what a team player. He sure did take several for the team. This Hurricanes team is just amazing! I don't think they will even have a tough time taking the Oilers...

     
  • At 5/23/2006 12:04 AM, Blogger canesguy said…

    Hurricanes hockey is back! As Ron said, total domination by the Canes for the last half of the 1st period and all of the 2nd. The game was no where near as close as the final score which was only made possible by the two incredibly cheap penalty calls to create Buffalo's 5 on 3.
    The most important thing (well, 2nd most important - lst obviosly being that we won) is that the Canes were clearly the superior team tonight. As Kevyn Adams put it perfectly in his postgame quote, "We've got to build on it and keep going."
    On to Buffalo - GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 12:29 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    All very well said Mr. Francis!

    In addition to the Canes' good power play AND ESPECIALLY GREAT defense (some insane moves by A. Ward and Wes...*very glad* that they were both able to weather the game AND are hopefully not too beaten up), I thought Cam Ward had an outstanding game...easily much better than the last.

    All of that AND the crowd (also MUCH BETTER than the previous game) made a great difference this game. Here's to everything, but the crowd unfortunately*, being duplicated Wednesday! :D

    * - It *would* be nice to see the HSBC Arena dominated by Canes fans, AND quite appropro too after Game One. But somehow, I just wouldn't bet that way...then again, who knows? Afterall, Erik Cole and Kevyn Adams grew up in/around the Buffalo area and certainly have their fans up there. ;)

     
  • At 5/23/2006 4:23 AM, Blogger joshanderson76 said…

    What a great game. The speed! The finesse! The physicalness of the game! Why anyone would not want to watch this? What a spectacular show of athleticism. Hopefully, the 'Canes can prevail on Wednesday.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 4:36 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…

    I don't know what lit the fire under the Canes feet, but it was an awesome game to watch.

    The 1st period was strange, the Canes came out to play and were very aggresive the 1st 5 minutes or so, then for another 5 minutes or so, the Sabres kept the puck in our end, then suddenly....BAM!!!! The Canes were everywhere, blocking shots, checking, shooting, keeping the pressure on Sabres.

    I was very glad the Canes scored first too, to take that away form the Sabres, their record after scoring 1st is up there.

    Glen Wesly, can you believe that save he made????? Diving over Cam. So many things could have gone wrong, but, that puck was gonna go in regardless if he didn't something. I'm glad he got the second star tonight, he had a tremendous night.

    I can't wait til Thurday mornings game (I'm 8 hours ahead you all). I know it's not going to be easy, but the Canes proved that when they work hard 60 minutes on both ends of the ice, they'll usually come away the winners.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 5:57 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Buffalo really seemed to turn it up in the last few minutes . I was glad when the final buzzer went !Wesley makes a mean back up goalie ,eh ? What a move !! The Canes played their game -and frustrated the Sabres everytime they thought they'd like to play near Ward ! It was a great game !Let's do it again Wed. ! I truly believe this team has what it takes to go the distance !!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 7:20 AM, Blogger Bobbert said…

    This is what makes it so much fun to watch the Canes play. When they're clicking on all cylinders, it's a beauty to behold. Major kudos to Glen Wesley on his fantastic save(s). Game 3 could be anybody's, but it looks like the Canes came away from Game 1 with a lesson learned. Tremendous offense combined with tremendous defense. What a combination! GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 7:54 AM, Blogger Rick said…

    AMEN! Ron is exactly right: Mission Accomplished for the first part of this awesome adventure we call the Playoffs! As I have commented before, the physicality of the Canes hockey has a direct impact on their effectiveness on the ice. As they finish their checks and pound bodies, they are in their form and skating with a purpose. I thought the Canes played "their game" for 50 of the 60 minutes. Unfortunately, they had to "play" the Sabres and a few times the "Stripes" (officials) as well. It would surely be nice to see a game called the same at both ends, just for a change! Though it has not been mentioned much, even by our awesome Blogger Ron, I think Peter Laviolette has done an awesome job of coaching! He's developed a master of the line change with subtle minipulations of the personnel. The Canes will need all this and some tough, hard-nose hockey to be successful in Buffalo! But I have faith! God bless the Canes!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The boys picked up where they left off from the 3rd of Saturday's game. Once they got the edge on the Sabres, they did not let up (except for the end of the 3rd). I have seen many of the 'Canes games over the years, but I don't recall any with a more lopsided SOG stat than what was there after the 2nd. Wesley saved the bacon tonight, and his play on the shot was one of many defensive plays that the 'Canes delivered tonight.
    I was really impressed with how they clogged up the slots and kept the Sabres out of there. I recall one check on Briere in the 2nd that left him wondering if he knew what day it was. After that, the Sabres did not demonstrate much will to get in the slot.

    Ronnie, excellent comments! You are right to remind us that Game 3 in Buffalo will be critical, and Buffalo will have to answer. I feel that the 'Canes will be ready, and will build on the play of Game 2 and take over the series in Game 3!
    Go 'Canes!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, great W for our team last night. That goal saving play by Wesley is one we'll be talking about for a while. Maybe has the Sabre fan shaking his head.

    Thanks again for the great game analysis, Capt. Ronnie. We appreciate having a legend lead this blog; it is a privilege for all of us to read what you offer.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Ron you are right on. I have been telling my wife and freinds right from the start the they need to shoot hi on miller and that is what they did. miller is quick closing the 5 hole and his down game is very strong. so keep the shot hight and we will come out on top all night long. GO!!!! Canes

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger linda schlachter said…

    hey ronnie, what an awesome game last night. i think the canes played some of their best hockey, and that save by glen wesley was awesome!!! they dominated the boards and the puck much better than on sats. game. I still believe my canes can go all the way if they keep their momentum going.also the fans showed last night that they believe in their canes and shut down the sabre fans all the way. it was good to see after the way they acted on sat. and the ugly comments that were made. you go canes, you have it in you to go all the way!! a true canaic!!!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Everyone!

    Anyone with a weak heart isn't going to survive this series. It's been terrific hockey and just think it's the two under-dog teams (predicted in the beginning of the season) that are giving it to us!

    Wesley was simply awesome! He has been our backup goalie on ice for sometime and last night he showed us what a truly valuable player he is.

    Unfortunately we were not at the game but watching from home so maybe we missed a lot of calls but Lav looked really "unhappy" at press. I honestly thought he was angry at the guys for almost losing it because of penalties in the 3rd but he eluded to the fact that he was unhappy with the officiating. From TV land it looked like the calls were pretty consistent except they didn't repeat the Hedigan hook after face-off and there seemed to be a lot of offside calls.

    Anyway, I can't be any prouder of our team and I believe the team that wins this series will be the Stanley Cup winners. Let's hope it's our beloved Canes :)

    Have a great day! GO CANES

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Justin K said…

    Glen's save was something else! Glad to see that he was able to shake it off and come back in to save what turned out to be the shot that would have tied the game. One thing that concerns me is that, even with our wonderful effort last night, we worked twice as hard and walked away from a one point game. With a 35-19 shot advantage, we should either be finding the back of their net more or keeping them from finding ours. I also agree with Lavi's "no comment" when asked about the calls that were made last night. 8 trips to the box really stretched our PK and the 5 on 3 was asking for trouble. Overall, I was thrilled with our performance, but I would love to see Buffalo receive fewer rewards for skating half as hard. I am also very glad to see that we played an aggressive game: 25 hits vs. their 14. Looking forward to tomorrow!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger 26rocks said…

    How about taking Miller high? He seems to be the opposite of Brodeur in his strengths. We are sitting in the south corner and get a great look at the goalies during the game, and I am totally impressed with both. I think you can see Miller's experience (playing all season) being an advantage.

    The 'Canes do have a better team.. if we can just keep up the intensity.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So as I entered the RBC center last night I'm thinking...Pom-Poms - what a stupid give away...then just a few minutes into the game - what a GREAT give away. Got us fans really into the game, much more so than Saturday.

    This is Hockey !!!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The 'Canes are incredible in their ability to adapt to the opposition in the playoffs. Their opponents are not the same as they were during the regular season evidenced by the play of Montreal and New Jersey as well as Buffalo. But once the 'Canes have oppenents figured out then they have them in their sights. After Monday nights' game I am confident this is the case with the Sabres. The Canes continue to be adaptable and resilient. Let's go Canes! One step at a time. Finish off the Sabres! The Stanley Cup is in your sights!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 12:01 PM, Anonymous Don Hanan said…

    While in Alaska last week, it was exciting to see, in the newspaper in Juneau, a large photograph of the last game with the Devils and a headline about the 'Canes crushing the Devils. The article made me want to get back,quickly, to the Triangle so that I could get back into the personal excitment we 'Canes fans share. Last night's game was a great welcome home present for me and my wife. Go 'Canes!!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 2:14 PM, Anonymous James said…

    From where I was sitting I noticed two things that I thought were critical to the Canes' success in Game 2. First, they were able to use the middle of the ice well. Witness the headman pass to Stillman that -- but for the grace of Miller -- would've made it a 4-goal lead. That's the example that stands out in my mind. Second, they denied Buffalo that region of the rink, forcing them to play the puck up the boards and effectively neutralizing their transition game. When you can consistently turn a team like the Sabres to the outside, you can stand them up at the blue line and take away -- or at least minimize -- the chances they get off the rush. Of course getting the early lead helped a lot with that. Once Carolina established that lead, Buffalo started taking more chances trying to force the action. And despite being spectacular when he had to be, last night didn't improve The Caminator's save percentage any. If anything it may have brought it down. But I imagine he cares much less about save percentage than he does about winning percentage.

    I read somewhere recently that the fans in Edmonton broke the decible level record during their series with Detroit. Does anybody know what they registered? Because the meter got as high as 125.9 dBA at RBC last night. I'm wondering if we reclaimed the record.

    Finally, I've gotten several rave reviews on the poster I did prior to this series. (Even got one from a Sabres fan on Saturday.) No, I'm not selling it but I've uploaded the graphics file for it to my website (brandenburg3.com) along with three others. They're full-size images that you can download and take to a print shop or print out yourself (if you happen to have a large-format printer that will handle an 18x24 inch print). The downloads are free -- I don't do this for the money. Printing costs? Well that depends on who you use and what you get. Mine was $22 mounted and laminated on foamcore, but you might find a shop willing to do it for less. Just click the Stanley Cup logo on my front page and it'll take you to the gallery.

     
  • At 5/23/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger BryanNC said…

    WOW my ears are still hurting from last night! 125.9 Db yikes!! what a playoff season the canes are having as if scoring with 3 seconds to go isnt enough drama we have a 38 year old doing a head long dive into the crease to save a huge goal.

    They called Staal's goal "The RBC Rebirth" Well Wesley's should be called "The Dive" and for once the dive is a good thing in hockey. Cant wait til Sunday for game 5 hopefully the canes can take two up in NY and we can have a broom in the stands for Sunday!

     
  • At 5/23/2006 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel truely priveleged to read Mr. Francis's coments and be able to contribute to this Stanley Cup Blog.
    Last Summer, about this time in May, I imagine there were fans like me who had to struggle to concoct a day dream that could have compared with this Run for the Cup.
    The Day they Confirmed the start of the 05 - 06 NHL Season I donned my #55 Markov Home Jersey. It was a hot day, but I did not care, It felt so good and I could not wait to see the team take the ice again. Sure Danny Markov had been traded away one month after I had been given the Jersey for a gift but as a player, he embodied the Hurricane spirit for me. He took a stray puck in the mouth and had to leave streaming blood only to return the folowing period. That is the spirit that the Hurricanes will need to draw on to make it all the way to the Cup. Nothing can diminsh their focus, their unrelenting desire to give all that they have.

    The win last night was thrilling and I can't wait for game 3.
    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhoooooooooooo!
    Sammy Markov 55

     
  • At 5/24/2006 8:05 AM, Anonymous James said…

    Correction to my last post: I said 125.9 dB. That was the highest reading I saw on the Jumbotron. On the news last night I heard that the actual peak was 133.2 which according to the story shattered the old record of 127. But the reporter went on to say that this record was set by the Sacramento Kings, which conflicts with reports I read during the Quarterfinals that said The Oilers home crowd held the record. So I still don't know for sure that we're "officially" the loudest house in the NHL. But watch this space for more research. I will get to the bottom of this!

     
  • At 5/24/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    It looked for a few minutes last night like Anaheim might make that series interesting ,but.....
    Before things get too crazy in Buffalo, I just want to say thanks ,for letting a lone Cane fan in the Great White North feel like she's a wee bit involved in their run for Lord Stanley's Cup.If it was lonely before ,I'm now living with 3 guys who don't give a tinker's damn who wins (as long as they don't play in N.C.)The rest of Canada have claimed Edmonton as Canada's team -I don't think they have any more Canadians on their roster than any other team .
    It was in 2002 ,when this Cinderella team came out of nowhere and slew giant after giant (How's that for mixing up my bedtime stories?)-going so far as to challenge the Wings for the Cup -that's when I became a Cane fan (I've been a hockey fan much longer than that ).And to chat (my first ever time on a blog) with one of the best -ever -to lace up skates has been a real kick -and an honor ! Thanks ,Ron.
    I'll be watching tonight ,fingers and toes crossed - I'll put in my 2 cents worth tomorrow . Go Canes !
    Later from the CB connection !

     
  • At 5/24/2006 1:54 PM, Blogger Gman said…

    Ron:

    How do you feel about the war of words with the 2 coaches and the accusations of diving? Are any of the teams doing it?

     
  • At 5/24/2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    in response to bryannc's comment about the 125.9 db level for the sound in the arean. Would it be too much to ask for a decibel meter that doesn't max out at 125.9 so the crowd can get even louder. That would be music to my ears.

     
  • At 5/24/2006 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    During the pregame warmups, we got grins from 6 players concerning out sign. We got thumbs up from Whitney and Recci. The sign simply said, "BACKCHECK!" It's no secret in the hockey universe that backchecking will neutralize fleet footed skaters. See Doug Weight's brutal backcheck of Chris Drury and Justin William's Check of the Game. Every playoff hockey game comes down to approximately 10 plays. All other plays are positioning the team's chess pieces for the checkmate. The 10 that my wife and I noticed are: 1: Backchecking 2: Penalty Kill box integrity. 3: Stick checking in the neutral zone. 4: Wesley amazing save. 5: Slot shots. 6: Precise use of the 2-1-2 press. 7: Block shots. On the negative side: 8: Puck chasing in the offensive zone. 9: Three costly penalties inside the last 3 minutes. 10: Barry Melrose's mullet has a grey tint! GO CANES GO!

     
  • At 5/24/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous Boyce said…

    Hey, "Captain Ron", how about commenting on how your Canes would do against the Oilers?? I think the Canes could learn from the Oilers to understand the sacrifices required for a truly effective PK. It's called blocking shots.
    And, have they been consistent enough on their D-zone draws?
    Would love to see a Canes/Oilers final...

     

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