Friday, December 17, 2010

Whale Win Fifth Straight On Backs Of Tim Kennedy, Dale Weise, Kris Newbury

For the Connecticut Whale everything seems to be going right these days.  With last night’s win they now have pulled off five in a row and are a staggering 7-0-0-1 since the name change almost three weeks ago now.  The first period was a goaltending duel between Cam Talbot of the Whale and Brian Stewart of the Phantoms in which both would turn aside all eight shots they would face.  If the fans thought the entire game was going to go that way after one then they were either sorely disappointed or elated at the offensive explosion that was the last forty minutes.

The offense would kick into gear five minutes into the second period when while on a five-on-three  power play with the help of Time Kennedy and Jeremy Williams it would be Kris Newbury scoring on the rebound at 5:04. 

The Whale would keep the pressure up looking for that all important second goal, but Brian Stewart was up to the task for a while until while once again on the power play it would be New York’s favorite son, Wade Redden scoring from the point with the helpers coming from Newbury and Dale Weise at 13:13.  As has been the trend in this hot streak the Whale would once again score in bunches as just 11 seconds after Redden made it 2-0 Whale, Tim Kennedy would score to put the Whale up commandingly at 3-0 just past the midway point of the second. 

The play saw Kennedy steal the puck on the ensuing faceoff and drive in for the goal which was his first since November 20th.  Kennedy who has been in the rumor mill a lot the past week for the conflicting reports on whether he can get out of Connecticut and look for another NHL team that will bring him back up would have his best scoring game in over a month with his 1 goal and 2 assists to bring his season totals up to 4 goals and 14 assists in 24 games.

With the Whale seemingly in control the afore mentioned Syvret would inject life back into the struggling Phantom’s when he would score at 14:35 of the period on a one-time shot from the circle.  The Whale would take momentum back before the end of the period when off an Evgeny Grachev rush in the final minute would lead to a Kelly Tessier one timer that made it 4-1 with just 42.7 seconds left in the middle frame.  The goal was big for momentum and gave the Whale a seemingly commanding hold on the game at 4-1 after two.

I say seemingly commanding because after the Phantoms would fend off a few prime chances from Chad Kolarik and Niemi they would get it to within two on a Denis Hamel goal just over 4 minutes into the period after a turnover by Ryan McDonagh.

The Whale like their affiliate New York Rangers would answer quickly as just one minute later Kennedy would set up Dale Weise on the power play for a shot from the slot and he would not miss.  The goal for Weise was his third in two games and his fifth point in the last three giving him a total of 11 points in 12 games this season.  For me he is likely the call-up from the Whale in the absence of Callahan.

The Whale thanks to some bad penalties in the third would fail to put away the Phantoms as they would give up power play goals to Erik Gustafsson and Ben Holmstrom to allow them back to within just one for the final 3:15 of the game.  Finally Mats Zuccarello would put the final nail in the game scoring an empty-netter with just 26 seconds remaining in the game.  For Zuccarello the goal extended his point streak to four games, giving him seven points (4G, 3A) in the four games and improved his season number to 13 goals and 10 assists in 30 games.

Overall not the prettiest game, but the win streak stays alive and the most likely of the call-ups in the wake of Ryan Callahan’s injury both got on the score-sheet.

Update: This originally was to go up Thursday so I have not yet lost my sense of days.  Also since I originally wrote this the Rangers said there would be no call-ups and then today Dale Weise was called up