Gm19 @Tam: Canes deserve better fate in 3-1 loss to the Lightning

Gm19 @Tam: Canes deserve better fate in 3-1 loss to the Lightning

Shortly after the Hurricanes game ended, I said on Twitter: Disappointing result obviously, but that really was the game @Canes needed to play after 2 losses. They were better team (by modest margin)…Couple posts and the odd deflection off McGinn's stick for bar in game-winner from wide angle. Mostly shrug and move on. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) February 26, 2021 As much as a third straight loss stings, I think this one clearly falls into the category where you just have to shrug and move on. Either of the Canes two posts could have changed things. And after seeing the replay, what looked like a great shot on the game-winner was more so a fluky deflection off a Canes’ stick that then went bar in. And more significant than the ‘bad bounces’ assertion, the Hurricanes were just the better team. It was not by a dominant margin, but as measured by scoring chances, offensive zone time or most anything else significant (except the scoreboard), the Hurricanes were the better team. My watch points looked for improvement in two broad areas. First, I wanted to see a response and push back by the Hurricanes after being outplayed by a wide margin the night before. The Hurricanes easily met this challenge. The team came out playing fast and aggressive and controlled play in the first period. The Canes hemmed the Lightning in their own end for stretches, earned some good chances from it (one of best was Svechnikov’s near miss off the bar) and gave the Lightning very little. The Hurricanes were not as dominant in the latter two periods,...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm19 @Tam: Canes seek push back in final game of set after decisive loss on Wednesday

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm19 @Tam: Canes seek push back in final game of set after decisive loss on Wednesday

After an exhilarating 1-0 overtime win with a COVID-depleted roster and then a stellar win in the first of a four-game set, things have taken a turn for the worse in the past two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It is still early in the season and the Hurricanes are in great position, so the amount of ‘sky is falling’ that could be triggered by another loss will be way overdone. But that said, the unique 2020-21 schedule that offered an unprecedented four-game regular season set does offer a good evaluation point on many fronts. There are many possible individual watch points including if/how the Canes top players rebound, how James Reimer looks in net, if the Hurricanes can play a more cohesive game in terms of moving the puck, etc. But at the end of the day, I my watch points boil down to do broader things:   1) A response and measure of character When the Hurricanes beat Tampa Bay soundly in the first game of the set, the Lightning responded in game 2 by dialing up the intensity and aggressiveness. The Bolts dominated the first period of that next game and were the better team throughout. Coming off a similarly decisive loss on Wednesday, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can use it as motivation to find a higher gear.   2) Adjustments The story of game one was sound defensive play in both directions actually in terms of managing the puck at dangerous transition points and also mostly eliminating chances gained from flying 180 feet up the ice on the rush...
Gm18 @Tam: Canes beaten decisively by the measuring stick in 3-0 loss to the Lightning

Gm18 @Tam: Canes beaten decisively by the measuring stick in 3-0 loss to the Lightning

Short recap of the Hurricanes 3-0 loss to the Lightning Whereas the first game of the ongoing four-game series saw the Hurricanes control play and win decisively in a shutout, Wednesday was exactly the opposite. Tampa Bay had the upper hand pretty much from the opening puck drop. Similar to the game on Monday, Tampa Bay was aggressive and regularly hemmed the Hurricanes in their own end. Couple that with a couple coverage break downs right in front of the net, and the Lightning were justly rewarded with a 2-0 lead in the first period. At the midway point of the game, one could have made a reasonable argument that the Hurricanes did not yet have a single good or better scoring chance. The nine shots on goal were mostly pedestrian fare for Andrei Vasilevskiy. Then the game seemed to go from bad to worse when the Hurricanes somehow converted a power play opportunity into two grade A shorthanded chances against with a breakaway and a 2-on-1. The Hurricanes did manage to find a slightly higher gear late in the second period that extended into the third period when the game opened up a bit. But even the Hurricanes best on Wednesday night at best matched the Lightning intermittently. And when finally tested a few times late in the game Vasilevskiy had the answer. An empty-netter finished the win for the Lightning at 3-0.   Questions and a bit of regular season drama A quick turnaround for game four of the series offers a decent amount of regular season drama and also poses some interesting questions. Can the Hurricanes...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm18 @Tam: Evenly-contested series continues in Tampa

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm18 @Tam: Evenly-contested series continues in Tampa

Note that today’s game is another early 5pm start.   After a downright impressive 4-0 win over the Lightning in the first of four games, the Hurricanes fell to a Tampa Bay team that rebounded for a 4-2 win. To the Hurricanes credit, the team survived a slow start and scratched and clawed to hang around, but in the end the Lightning were the better team and picked up a deserved 4-2 win including an empty-netter. For me, the two biggest story lines exiting that second game are the Lightning’s ability to find a higher gear and push back and the dialed up animosity as the second game wore on. Both of those feature in my watch points for game 3.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Tampa Bay Lightning 1) Can the Canes counterpunch After being defeated handily in the first game, the Lightning responded by picking up the pace and aggressiveness to start the next game. The result was a pretty dominant first period by Tampa Bay despite the oddity of a scoreboard with a 1-0 Canes lead. But to their credit, Tampa Bay stayed the course and were ultimately rewarded with the win that they deserved. On Wednesday, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can similarly use the loss to find a higher gear for the next game.   2) Actual punches Another theme from the second game was the increased level of animosity, physical play and extra jawing both during play and after the whistle. I suggested on Twitter that Andrei Svechnikov and Erik Cernak were on the...
Gm17 Vs. Tam: The Lightning push back and ride momentum from strong start to 4-2 win

Gm17 Vs. Tam: The Lightning push back and ride momentum from strong start to 4-2 win

The first of my three watch points in may game preview read: 1) Responding to a push back Be it a fast start, more physical play, frustration and old school fisticuffs or a strong push at some point during the game, I would expect Tampa Bay to push back hard at some point in this game. Regardless of what form it takes possibly being multiple, I will be watching to see how the Hurricanes respond. That very much was the story of Monday’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. After a couple days probably mostly locked away in hotel rooms to mull over a second consecutive shutout loss the Hurricanes, the Lightning came out like their hair was on fire. They were fast and aggressive from the opening puck drop and pretty much throughout the first period. But a bit of desperation and a number of scrambling James Reimer saves kept Tampa Bay from scoring first as they deserved. Instead, it was Jesper Fast collecting a power play goal. Fast has incredibly consistently been creating problems for opposing goalies at the top of the crease and was finally rewarded for it with a goal. At that point, the Hurricanes had been outplayed by a wide margin but had a 1-0 lead. The first period would end with the Lightning having a decided advantage in terms of controlling play, scoring chances and just about everything else but still down 1-0 on the scoreboard. But the Lightning did not deviate from their strong play. The Hurricanes did find a higher gear in the second period and shrink the...