February 4, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner (53) scoops pucks out of the net during the pre game warm up against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Skinner, Cam Ward and Dion Phaneuf: Awestruck by Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs

As much as it pains me to write about the other team the day after my Toronto Maple Leafs play I was thoroughly impressed by the Carolina Hurricanes last night. Don’t get me wrong the Leafs played really well, that game should have been a lot closer but they just couldn’t seem to solve Cam Ward, he was definitely a difference maker for the Canes. The second difference maker on the ice in red and white last night was Jeff Skinner. Those two left me absolutely awestruck as usual (to be fair I haven’t watched any other Carolina games this season so I’m strictly going off what I saw last night and in the IIHF World Championships that took place after last season). I was also awestruck by the Leafs but for an entirely different reason that I will get into later.

Jeff Skinner and Cam Ward first caught my eye in May of 2012 when I was watching the IIHF World Championships. I could not take my eyes off of Jeff Skinner when he hit the ice (not just because of that baby face of his either), the way he can move the puck from end to end literally skating circles around opponents (an ability most likely derived from his past as a figure skater) makes your jaw drop. What really made me a Skinner fan though was the amazing wrap around goal he scored in the game versus Finland (I have the video at the bottom of the article in case you missed it). Last night, he left me speechless yet again walking away with 3rd star of the game (should have been 2nd) with 3 assists (out of 4 goals). Cam Ward is an incredible goaltender and that’s all there is to it. He proved it last night making 41 saves and walking away with 2nd star of the night (should’ve been first). There isn’t much more I can say about him.

The other awe-inspiring event in last night’s game (though for a very different reason) came from the Maple Leafs, specifically Dion Phaneuf. Lately Dion seems to have a problem with aim, which wouldn’t be that big an issue if he didn’t keep hitting people with the puck. Last night for example he hit an official. He also hit James van Riemsdyk, luckily JVR was okay but that would have been a detrimental loss for the Leafs. Dion is definitely starting to become a liability. He already took out Joffrey Lupul, he desperately needs to work on his aim before he takes out the rest of the team.

Overall last night’s game was extremely entertaining, I was on the edge of my seat screaming at the television (mostly saying did that just happen and why is Cam Ward so amazing). Even though my team didn’t win, it was a great game and I am definitely glad I watched it.

Tags: Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Dion Phaneuf Jeff Skinner Toronto Maple Leafs

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