For the first time in my Checkers-watching career, I turned the game off last night in favor of an NHL game. It didn’t help that the Checkers weren’t doing well, but I was interested to see how Mike Murphy would do in his second NHL appearance in relief of Cam Ward.
Murph came into the game halfway through the second period. The Hurricanes were down 4-0, in a Winnipeg building that has become a really tough place to play for visiting teams. (Only four teams have beat the Jets on home ice). Within moments of Murphy taking the ice, the crowd went wild with chants taunting him, but clearly Murphy didn’t let it affect him. He stopped all seven shots he faced, and his NHL stats still read a 1.000 SV%.
In Murphy’s 36 minutes of ice time in two NHL games, the Hurricanes have scored five goals, and only allowed nine shots (Prior to being pulled, in 31 minutes, Ward faced 30 shots…. in nearly the same amount of time, Murphy only faced seven… the whole team turned around for that second half). Clearly, the team is rallying behind their young goaltender, but a lot of it falls on Murph, too. He’s got confidence which pays huge dividends in his performance.
The Hurricanes have a few days off before their next game, which is on Tuesday in Toronto. I’d love to see Murphy get an entire game…. he sure has done great in relief this week, and it seems to me he deserves to see what he can do from the beginning!
And… since this is a Charlotte Checkers blog and not one just about one of our awesome goaltenders… a few notes about last night’s game:
- Official gamesheet is here, and you can read Paul Branecky’s much more thorough recap is here.
- For the second time this season, the Checkers were shut out. This time, Tyler Beskorowany stopped all 29 shots he faced, winning the game and first-star honors for Texas.
- The Checkers lost their second straight game, a streak I hope ends at two!
- I feel like by mentioning special teams again, I am beginning to sound like a broken record. The Checkers powerplay went scoreless in five attempts.
- On a positive note, the Stars had six power play opportunities, and were also shut down. Kudos to the Checkers Penalty Kill unit!
- Last night marked the third time in four games they allowed a shorthanded goal. The best word I can think of in response to that, which wouldn’t require a bunch of &@%#$ symbols is YUCK.
- It seems to me while the team is perfectly willing to get physical and drop the gloves, etc., where they REALLY need to get physical is in front of the net. The team hasn’t been in front of the opposing goaltender enough to snag rebounds. I’d like to see more physicality when it comes to rebounds.
- When I see 17 minor penalties on the board, I say yikes… (for those keeping track, there were also five majors given out)