Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes come up short in 6-3 loss to NHL’s toughest measuring stick in the Lightning

Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes come up short in 6-3 loss to NHL’s toughest measuring stick in the Lightning

Playing a Tampa Bay Lighting that won a hard-fought, marquee match up against the Capitals 5-4 in overtime yesterday the Carolina Hurricanes had the upper hand early against the Lightning. Tampa Bay had a few bursts of offensive zone puck possession but generated very little in terms of shots or scoring chances. The Hurricanes had a couple of the better chances early including a shot from Nino Niederreiter from point blank range but were unable to finish. But after being outplayed early, the Lightning scored first when Steven Stamkos had too much time and fired a laser into the corner of the net. After that, the Hurricanes resumed getting the better of play 5-on-5 and were eventually rewarded when Nino Niederreiter had his second grade A chance after a pass from Sebastian Aho. Niederreiter finished to tie the game. The Canes scored again when Dougie Hamilton finished a rebound on an Andrei Svechnikov rush to the net. Up 2-1, the Hurricanes had a golden opportunity to push ahead with a three-minute power play (five minutes less an offsetting two minutes) but were mostly disjointed with the man advantage and unable to convert. On cue, Tampa Bay struck back with less than a minute remaining in the period when Curtis McElhinney spit out a juicy rebound and then had the second chance find a hole through him. The Hurricanes exited the first period tied 2-2 but could have had better. The second period saw the Lightning find a higher gear but also the Hurricanes do a decent job of trading punches and matching them. McElhinney seemed to settle down. The...
Gm72 Vs. Pit: Canes continue playoff push with thrilling shootout win over Pens

Gm72 Vs. Pit: Canes continue playoff push with thrilling shootout win over Pens

At one point, the story was that the Hurricanes caught the Penguins at home with Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup and Kris Letang playing in his first game after a long layoff. At one point, the story could also have been that the Hurricanes whose strength has been aggressive play suddenly became too cautious early and late in the game under the pressure of a big game. At one point, the story was how the Hurricanes inability to get to the paint and capitalize on a night when the opposing goalie spit out an endless number of rebounds. And at another point, the story was that the Hurricanes squandered more than two minutes of power play ice time in overtime on the way to giving up a point. But this is not the Hurricanes of years past that too often seemed to let opportunities slip away. Instead, the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes are writing their own stories that more often than not end with “…and the Canes found a way to win.” And on this night, the Hurricanes again wrote their own story. Petr Mrazek again dazzled late. The captain Justin Williams scored yet another huge third period goal. Brett Pesce had another huge game defensively. Dougie Hamilton stepped into the spotlight and scored the lone goal in the shootout. …AND THE CANES FOUND A WAY TO WIN! And with that win, the team moved two points closer to returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.   Game recap In yet another round of “the biggest game of the year”, the Hurricanes faced off against...
Gm71 Vs. Buf: Canes grind out needed win 4-2 over the Sabres

Gm71 Vs. Buf: Canes grind out needed win 4-2 over the Sabres

Coming off of a Friday loss for the second week in a row, the Hurricanes looked to again rebound quickly. At least on paper, the game set up well against a Buffalo Sabres team that has been struggling mightily of late.   Game recap But the game did not start well at all. For the second day in a row, the Hurricanes came out a bit flat, and the opponent was better early. For the first time since donning a Hurricanes uniform, Curtis McElhinney looked shaky and unsure of himself out of the gate in Saturday’s game. The team’s slow start was compounded early when Curtis McElhinney more or less scored an own goal on an odd deflection off his own stick and through him into the net. That was followed by a Jack Eichel shot that went right through McElhinney but somehow did not find the net and also another Jeff Skinner shot that beat him but clanged the post. The usually calm McElhinney generally looked a bit scrambly trying to find the puck through most of the first period. But the same hockey gods that did the Canes an unfair deed in terms of opposing goaltending in Friday’s 3-0 loss despite 46 shots repaid the favor a bit. The Hurricanes relieved pressure and pulled even when a harmless Jordan Martinook shot from well out leaked through Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark. Lucas Wallmark tapped the puck from the blue paint and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. The Hurricanes would escape a lackluster first period lucky to be tied. The Hurricanes and McElhinney would rebound...
Gm70 @Clu: Canes start slowly and are then unable to dent stellar Bobrovsky in 3-0 loss

Gm70 @Clu: Canes start slowly and are then unable to dent stellar Bobrovsky in 3-0 loss

As noted in the game preview, the Hurricanes had struggled with a 1-5 record with a three-day layoff heading into the game. Friday’s 3-0 loss ran that record to 1-6. The Hurricanes failed to launch at the opening face-off. Columbus had the upper hand early and hemmed the Canes in their own end for stretches. After two near misses, the Blue Jackets concerted effort to run almost a power play scheme at 5-on-5 parking a player with his heels at the top of the crease whenever they could get possession. The third shot through traffic was a charm as Adam McQuaid scored past a screened Petr Mrazek. Shortly thereafter, Columbus would add another from the other side when a defenseman shot through traffic. Columbus would continue to be the better team but emerge only with the two goals that they scored early for a 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes would rebound in a massive way in the second period. After being outplayed but ultimately drawing even at 14 shots each in the first period, the Hurricanes fired 22 shots on net to Columbus’ two in the second period. Early on, the Canes were pushed to the outside for low percentage shots, but as the period wore on the level of quality increased and the amount of chaos around the crease did as well. But Sergei Bobrovsky had an answer for each and every shot to bail out a Blue Jackets team that had a percent share pretty close to 0 percent for anything good other than goals scored. The Hurricanes exited the second period having righted the ship in terms...
Gm69 @Clr: Canes pick up nice 3-0 win over Avs to build 4-point gap in playoff chase

Gm69 @Clr: Canes pick up nice 3-0 win over Avs to build 4-point gap in playoff chase

With the Columbus Blue Jackets game ending with a Blue Jackets loss early into the Hurricanes game, the ball was on the tee for the Canes to build a four-point lead over both Montreal and Columbus for the two wild card slots. Looking up instead of down, the Hurricanes needed a win to pull even with the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Early on, the game actually had a bit of the Winnipeg feel. The Hurricanes at least did a decent job of counterattacking, but the neutral zone was a free fly zone early for the Avalanche. The key differences were twofold. First, Petr Mrazek was sharp early and erased some of the issues. Second, at least when the Hurricanes forwards were beaten up ice they returned to defend secondary passes behind the play. Though I do think Colorado had the upper hand in the first period, the Hurricanes also had some chances in a wild first period that could best be described as fire wagon hockey despite somehow ending in a 0-0 tie. Along the way, the Hurricanes also killed off a couple of penalties. Arguably the Hurricanes best chance came when the puck ended up in the Colorado net but was quickly waived off for incidental contact with the goalie. Andrei Svechnikov carried the puck hard to the net which led to a rebound for Jordan Staal who finished. But with that waived off (correctly in my opinion), the period ended at 0-0. The front part of the second period continued to feature a high pace back and forth, but the Hurricanes started to...
Gm68 @Nas: Canes rebound and wrap up challenging week with 5-3 win over Predators

Gm68 @Nas: Canes rebound and wrap up challenging week with 5-3 win over Predators

After a horrid 8-1 loss on home ice on Friday, the Hurricanes were right back in action without much time to think about it on Saturday night in Nashville. The Hurricanes have had only a handful of stinkers (the road loss versus the Rangers and the home loss against the Senators come to mind), so it seemed reasonable to just write it off as a bad day and move forward. But the writing off has to happen on the ice for it to matter which added a bit of extra drama to Saturday’s game.   Carolina Hurricanes game recap As one would have hoped, the Hurricanes started on time Saturday and looked no worse for wear after Friday’s drubbing. The Hurricanes controlled play, tilted the ice into the offensive zone and had the better of shot totals early. Even better, the Hurricanes picked up three power plays early with two overlapping to provide 1:36 of 5-on-3 time. The first power play was decent, but things went downhill from there with the 5-on-3 being disappointingly sluggish and without movement. After about seven minutes of play, the Hurricanes had an 11-2 shot advantage but with an 0 for 3 on the power play and 0-0 on the scoreboard, the game was set to swing quickly to bad if Nashville awoke and potted the first goal. Fortunately, Nino Niederreiter charted a different course. First, he sniped a laser into the far corner of the net to put the Hurricanes up 1-0. Then shortly thereafter he tipped a Teuvo Teravainen point shot on the power play down for skip up off the ice...