ECF Gm4 Vs. Bos: Canes magical season ends in 4-0 loss to the Bruins

ECF Gm4 Vs. Bos: Canes magical season ends in 4-0 loss to the Bruins

Our Carolina Hurricanes hockey community On Thursday night the Carolina Hurricanes absolutely magical 2018-19 season came to an end in a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Short of actually winning the Stanley Cup, I really do not think that the Hurricanes hockey community could have asked for more. Fans experienced every bit of exhilarating, dominating, tense and whatever else one could pack into a deep playoff run. Certainly the ending is disappointing, but that is more about having to let go of something so good than the actual series loss. And yet again our hockey community showed that the relationship between the team and the fan base in Raleigh, North Carolina is truly something unique. You cannot tell me that a fan base in Boston or pretty much anywhere else for that matter would have cheered the team passionately in the finally minute and a half of a 4-0 loss in a series sweep. And that is yet another instance of the Hurricanes hockey community being unique and special. As Canes fans know too painfully, there are no guarantees that success in one season carries over to the next, but there is significant reason to believe that this is only the beginning. The team was the youngest in the 2018-19 playoffs and significantly that youth is in the core players and future leaders of this team. Though they did not get all the way there, this group now knows pretty much what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. As long as they do not trade the hard work and effort that was the foundation of the 2018-19...
ECF Gm3 Vs. Bos: Canes get nothing from dominant 1st period and ultimately fall 2-1 to Bruins

ECF Gm3 Vs. Bos: Canes get nothing from dominant 1st period and ultimately fall 2-1 to Bruins

Quick hitters –I think the entire game hinged on the first period. The Canes were dominant but got nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. What stands out most was Teravainen being unable to hit half of an open net (puck was squibbling on way to him which made it tough shot) 30 seconds in and then the inability to score on the 4-on-3/5-on-3 sequence. –As much as I love Justin Williams and everything he has done for the team, I think he missed badly with his first period death wish for Torey Krug. The 4-on-4 sequence midway through the first period relieved pressure for Boston and the subsequent penalties created breaks to help them get their feet under them and survive the first period. –For as many times as the Hurricanes have pumped a bunch of low-quality shots and declared “hot goalie”, I think tonight was legitimate. Rask is in a surreal kind of groove where he makes a dozen great saves and then has luck to back that up. He somehow had a shot he did not see go straight into his glove and another go off his stick and into his glove somehow. I said before the series started that a path to victory would result if they cracked Rask. That has not happened so far. –Special teams was again arguably the difference. The Canes power play just seems to become slower and more predictable by the game. –Important to note is that in no way was Tuesday’s loss the result of lack of effort, heart or character. The effort was 100%. –As I said...
ECF Gm2 @Bos: Boston punches early and Canes wilt on way to 6-2 loss

ECF Gm2 @Bos: Boston punches early and Canes wilt on way to 6-2 loss

For anyone who had plans for Mother’s Day or otherwise and missed the Hurricanes game on Sunday, the game was as bad as the score would indicate. The Hurricanes two goals were long after the game was decided and there were no empty-netters or piling on. So the game really was a brutal four-goal loss that arguably was really a five-goal loss before the Bruins let up a bit. This recap will go in a slightly different direction than normal not doing a chronological recap in much detail but instead focusing on what comes out of this game.   The negatives 1) Hurricanes inability to punch back One thing that is striking through two games in this series is the Bruins ability to find opportunities to figuratively punch the Hurricanes in the mouth, and the Hurricanes inability to respond. In the game 1 loss, the Hurricanes actually seemed to have the game in hand exiting the first period. Then the Bruins received a couple power play opportunities and struck quickly to go from a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 lead. At that point the Hurricanes were still in the game but really were not able to muster much of a response. Sunday’s game was a bit similar. The Hurricanes were fine out of the gate and arguably even had the upper hand physically. But then the Bruins scored on a bad goal allowed by Petr Mrazek and followed it up with a quick power play strike. The Hurricanes never regained their feet. Like an MMA fighter taken down, the Hurricanes were not ever able to get regain their feet...
ECF Gm1 @Bos: Canes joust in 1st, surge in 2nd and then falter for 5-2 loss in the 3rd versus Bruins

ECF Gm1 @Bos: Canes joust in 1st, surge in 2nd and then falter for 5-2 loss in the 3rd versus Bruins

Quick hitters –The game was a story of 3 periods. Courtesy of a power play goal, the Hurricanes picked up a small victory with a 1-1 tie in the first period. Then the Canes 5-on-5 and forecheck took over in the second period. The Hurricanes climbed to a 2-1 lead but it could easily have been 3-1 or 4-1. But then entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, the Hurricanes took a run of bad penalties, two power play goals against and a 3-2 deficit that ultimately turned into a 5-2 loss. –This was definitely one that got away with a 2-1 lead entering the third period, and that hurts. –But as I said on Twitter afterward, there are silver linings: Disappointing obviously, but 2 silver linings… 1-The good (5-on-5/forecheck winning majority of 2nd) and bad (bad penalties) should drive home the need to play 5v5. 2-#Canes goal on the road is to get 1 of 2. They still have a chance to do that on Sunday.#TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) May 10, 2019   Game recap After the five-day layoff, my first watch point for Thursday’s series opener in Boston was how the Hurricanes would respond after the long layoff. I would categorize the first period mostly as the slightly positive version of what I feared. The Bruins were better early, but it was not by a wide margin. The Canes were a bit sloppy and sluggish out of the gate which could be reasonably expected, but it was not in a horrible way. The Bruins scored first courtesy of a short series of errors. The...
Rd2 Gm4 Vs. NYI: Canes find higher gear in 2nd period on way to 5-2 win and series sweep over Isles

Rd2 Gm4 Vs. NYI: Canes find higher gear in 2nd period on way to 5-2 win and series sweep over Isles

Quick hitters –Somewhat like game 3, the Hurricanes found a higher gear and attacked in the second period. Once that happened, the Hurricanes were the better team, and that showed up on the scoreboard. –For the second straight Canes series win, Sebastian Aho had his most productive game of the series. His goal was an own goal by the Isles defenseman, but Aho still deserves credit for getting the puck to the net and following his shot. He also collected a second assist on the pretty tic-tac toe passing play that ended with Teuvo Teravainen’s goal. –Great to see Greg McKegg rewarded with a goal. He has been a consistently solid foot soldier throughout the playoffs. The fourth line was arguably the team’s best in game 3 and continued to play well in game 4, so it was a just reward to see the line finally net a goal. –The Canes defense was the story of this series. Especially playing with a lead, the Hurricanes gave the Islanders very little in terms of scoring chances. Slavin continues to be the team’s best player, but the blue line group in total is the team’s greatest strength right now ranking just a tiny bit above the forecheck simply because the defense has proven capable of holding the fort during gaps in the forechecking effectiveness.   Game recap With a 3-0 series leading entering Friday night, the Hurricanes had mostly made themselves exempt from any pressure. But in situations like this good teams have a killer instinct and press to finish things off without offering even the slightest bit of hope to...
Rd2 Gm3 Vs. NYI: Canes and crowd SURGE in 3rd period for 5-2 win and within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals

Rd2 Gm3 Vs. NYI: Canes and crowd SURGE in 3rd period for 5-2 win and within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals

Quick hitters –So incredibly happy for Curtis McElhinney. To this day, I do not think the Canes are where they are right now if he is not a stabilizing force in October and November when team was on brink of digging too big of a hold and being eliminated from playoff contention really early. –The third period was easily the Canes best of this series and also among the best in the playoffs. Even after the Islanders fell down a goal and desperately needed to muster shots and offense, they went >12 minutes without putting the puck on net. The forecheck was in peak form, and the defensemen retrieved and moved pucks well such that the Canes rarely had to defend in the third period. –Understated story of this game was the depth players. The fourth line was incredibly good, arguably the team’s best, in terms of controlling play. It was unfair that they did not net a goal, but there contribution was huge nonetheless. Haydn Fleury played an uneventful game in a good way in replacing Trevor van Riemsdyk. –Matching what was happening on the ice, I also thought the third period was at or near peak playoffs in terms of atmosphere, energy and sustained volume.     Carolina Hurricanes game recap Despite the Hurricanes winning both games 1 and 2 in New York, I said after each game that the Hurricanes would at some point need to re-find a higher gear to win the series. A home game for game 3 set up as a great opportunity for exactly that. And early on, the game looked promising....