Sports Outside the Beltway

Under Way- Carolina Hurricanes defeat Minnesota 4-3

The first game of the 2010-11 NHL season is in the books. From AP-

HELSINKI — Brandon Sutter scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in the opening game of the NHL season on Thursday.

Anton Babchuk, back after a year in the Russian KHL, and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Hurricanes.

Brent Burns scored for Minnesota with 3:21 left, but Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made a late save to preserve the win.

Guillaume Latendresse scored for Minnesota 3:33 into the game, but Sutter tied it on a power play with 10 seconds left in the first period.

Babchuk put Carolina in front at 5:58 of the second period on another power play in which coach Paul Maurice lined up three forwards.

“I’ll do it again. If the power play struggles, it affects the offense, and it has been good to think of something which could be positive,” Maurice said.

New Minnesota center Matt Cullen tied it at 9:52 against his former team, but Carolina upped the pace and took control.

Jokinen restored the Hurricanes’ lead on a two-man advantage at 11:16, and Sutter made it 4-2 at 18:03 after a great rush by Patrick Dwyer up the right wing.


Ward came away with 29 saves, while Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom turned away 31 shots.

The NHL season opener belongs in North America, not Europe. I’m dead set against regular season sports games being played any where but at sites chosen by the teams involved.

The Florida Panthers won the first game of the 2009-10 season also played in Finland. They went on to finish with the 3rd worst record in the league. I expect Carolina to do better this season, but not make the playoffs.

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