After failing in his first four games as an NHL head coach, Kirk Muller finally got a W. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3, which stopped the Canes’ overall losing streak at seven.
Sure, it was against a fast but flawed Oilers team. And yes, Edmonton trotted out struggling backup Devan Dubnyk for this game. Muller & Co. probably don’t care about the “Yeah, but …” comments right now, though.
It was a team effort as five different players provided Carolina’s goals and Tomas Kaberle was the only player with a multi-point game thanks to two assists.
Even Cam Ward can build off this performance. Allowing three goals on 25 shots is far from great, but after going through six starts without a victory, Ward will take any win he can get.
Carolina remains the worst team in the East and with 22 points in 30 games played, it’s quite possible that the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets might push them all the way down to the basement of the NHL.* Still, Carolina’s best years included surprising hot streaks, so this is a reason for some optimism, if nothing else.
* – Anaheim has 21 points with 27 games played while Columbus has 19 pts. in 27 GP.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.