GDB 10.0 WRAP UP: KEEP THE CAR RUNNING
This is a photo of Win Butler and the Arcade Fire. He’s the lead man. In truth, they are a bunch of beautifully creative crazies. Just look at the photo. Who are these people?? I love it! They wrote a song called “Keep the Car Running”. It’s a brilliant track. Maybe one of my all time favourites.
Tonight was one of those game for the Canes. Don’t sweat it. Don’t over analyze it. You won. It was ugly. Keep the bus running and drive it like you stole it. Tonight the Hurricanes weren’t full credit for the win but it doesn’t really matter does it?
Wrap up after the break.
This was not a good game by Lethbridge. In fact, it was arguably their worst game of the year. Much like their win against Regina over a week ago, the Hurricanes just did not look sharp for the majority of the game. They were missing passes, throwing the puck away, and losing their man in defensive situations. But just as they pulled it out against the Pats, Lethbridge once again found a way to win.
Tonight was a game of dramatic momentum swings. The first was more or less even (and exceptionally boring), but the final two periods were extreme in nature. Edmonton really took it to the Canes in the second. Lethbridge just looked tired, sluggish, and disinterested. There was a complete lack of urgency until Edmonton scored their third straight goal. Up to that point, the only forward line that had looked really good was the Babenko, Millette, Gutierrez trio. Credit the Oil Kings for eliminating the Hurricanes passing game for long stretches in this one. The combination of smart positional play by Edmonton and callous misplays by Lethbridge resulted in one of the most lopsided periods Lethbridge has been involved in all season.
What we can take away from the third period is this team was once again able to rise to the occasion. Again, like the Regina game, the Hurricanes found themselves down after leading, and the top line woke up long enough to start making things happen. Even though none of the top line guys scored, the infusion of energy in the third really tipped the scales in Lethbridge’s favour. Wong looked at his fastest when you would expect him to be exhausted. That guy has shown to be in elite physical condition to this point in the year.
If you missed it, I had a chance to do a short interview with TSN 1260’s Guy Flaming (it’s up in tonights game preview). He mentioned that the Oil Kings have a tendency to take bad penalties. While we did see some of that, the calls were strange on both sides tonight. The refs were calling what I felt was too many things in the first, but after that they players were pretty much allowed to play-on. There were some pretty grey area non-calls on both sides. In the end, Lethbridge was able to capitalize on two power play opportunities in the third to flip the tables on Edmonton. Up until that point, the Hurricanes powerplay that had looked amazing leading into tonight, was an absolute dud. The Canes squandered a number of great chances earlier in the game but came through when it counted.
- Egor Babenko continues to be amazing. He’s only ten games into his WHL career and I already feel comfortable saying he is the most impactful euro Lethbridge has had since 2008 when Sbisa and Metsola were here. Tonight he scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season. He’s played in ten games. Not a bad pace for someone new to the league, the smaller ice, and the country. Maybe more to come from the small Russian?
- To go along with Babenko, his linemates were also good tonight. Millette, Gutierrez and Babenko were the only line the I saw consistently generating chances and putting pressure on Edmonton.
- Arvin Atwal played a good game tonight and was an instrumental part of Lethbridge storming back in the third. The pass he made to Babenko was nothing short of fabulous. It was a powerplay attack and Atwal threaded the needle. Only minutes later he would score from the point to put Lethbridge ahead.
- The third period. If you’re only gonna be good for one period, the third is usually the best one to choose.
- The top line showed up and made a difference in the final frame. Sometimes you only need to be at your best in the key moments, and tonight they were.
- The first period was about as exciting as a first year anthropology class. Both teams just looked really tentative and it led to an excessive amount of faceoffs. Both squads were going offside and taking penalties and icing calls. With that said, that kind of period usually benefits the road team, and Lethbridge was winning 1 – 0 after 1. Lethbridge did carry the play in the first and had some great chances including a Estephan breakaway.
- The top line was generally not great in the first two periods. Aside from an Estephan breakaway in the first, this was one of the quietest nights we have seen from the top line yet.
- The second period was a beatdown of epic proportions by Edmonton. Lethbridge looked overwhelmed and sloppy for the full twenty minutes. It was just not great hockey by the Hurricanes. Similar to the second period against Regina a few weeks ago, the Canes just couldn’t string together any passes and started puck watching. The end result was three unanswered goals by the Oil Kings.
- I know they scored two late PP goals, but Lethbridge’s play with the man advantage has dipped just a little in recent games. I don’t think it’s a major issue, but when the powerplay was clicking, Lethbridge looked pretty well unstoppable and will want to get back to it.
We could spend a long time micro-analyzing everything Lethbridge and/or Edmonton did wrong tonight, but the simple fact is that it was just one of those games. Neither team was very stellar tonight. It wasn’t a great game to watch, but it had some exciting moments, and for Lethbridge fans, their team found a way to win once again. For those of you that have suffered through some exceptionally lean years, it’s great to see a Hurricane team that finds ways to win game rather than ways to lose them.
It wasn’t sexy, but it was a win.