Gm59 Vs. NYI: Canes sputter to second consecutive loss versus Isles

Gm59 Vs. NYI: Canes sputter to second consecutive loss versus Isles

On the surface, the Carolina Hurricanes deserved better in their 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday. The game was sloppy, but the Hurricanes were the better team and won the battle in terms of possession time and shot totals. And then even when they did seemingly score, the goal was wiped away by an offsides that happened earlier and had little to do with the goal But on the other hand, this game was eerily reminiscent of bad Canes teams from years past that chucked bushels of mostly harmless shots at the net but did not fare as well in terms of winning battles to score goals in close or simply in terms of raw finishing ability. The game was a strange with regard to what paths might have been expected for it. After some wild 10-goal affairs during the past two seasons, the Isles who entered the game ranked dead last in goals against tried to patch holes in the ship, play a more defensively-oriented style and slow the Canes offensively. In a strange way, it mostly worked. The Isles seemed to give the puck up at will at times, but were nearly perfect in terms of staying on the right side of the puck and keeping the Hurricanes from generating anything on the rush or unmarked in close. The first period was a sluggish and sloppy one with the Isles apparently focused first and foremost on staying out of trouble and the Hurricanes playing along by dialing down into a slow, methodical and more sideways than north-south approach to advancing the puck. The Hurricanes...
Gm58 @NJ: Canes win streak ends at 3 at the hands of the New Jersey Devils

Gm58 @NJ: Canes win streak ends at 3 at the hands of the New Jersey Devils

Perspective is important when considering the Hurricanes legitimately disappointing 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes were not going to win out, and that is not necessary to make the playoffs. And the Hurricanes were going to have a couple stinker games which was the case on Thursday. They key is to rebound quickly. If Thursday’s loss compounds like the deflating loss to the Red Wings earlier in the month and quickly turns into a three-game losing streak by the end of the weekend, it will be damaging to playoff hopes especially since all three games are against teams also in the playoff chase. But on the flip side, if the Hurricanes rebound with a win over the Islanders on Friday and a revenge win against the Devils on Saturday, all will be right in the hockey world entering a five-day layoff next week. As for the game, the story of the game was unfortunately a tough night for Scott Darling. Early in the, there were a mix of stories both positive and negative, but as the game wore on, Darling’s struggles trumped all else. In odd scheduling that saw the first of four match ups between the two teams not happen until game #58, what stood out to me about the Devils was how aggressive they were on the forecheck. The Devils attacked with a level of aggressiveness that matched the best from the 2017-18 season. One of the things that will stand out when the Hurricanes video team dissects the game tonight/tomorrow morning is how often the Devils got all three forwards below the face-off...
Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes surge early and late for overpowering 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings

Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes surge early and late for overpowering 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings

Facing what on paper looked like a strong challenge against a good goalie and the NHL’s second-ranked defense, the Hurricanes surged early and again late on the way to deluge of goals and an overpowering 7-3 win. The win marked the third straight for which the Hurricanes started strong and built an early cushion on their way to win a game that they had in hand more or less throughout. The fun started early again when Jaccob Slavin made an incredibly skilled play for anyone especially a defenseman. Jordan Staal made the right play to feed Slavin joining the rush but put the pass in his skates. Without giving up much speed, Slavin played the puck from his puck to his stick then shifted the puck to his backhand to shield the puck from a defender and then shoveled it bar down for a goal. Just wow! with the level of skill on that goal. That was just the warm up for the Justin Faulk show that started next. The first goal came on what looked like a harmless shot when Faulk walked the blue line on the power play and flipped a well-timed wrist shot at the net. Jonathan Quick was screened by his own team mate and slow to react, and the puck found the net behind him. That opened the flood gates for Faulk. Again on the power play late in the first period, Faulk fired, this time with a bit more heat, and beat Quick to make it 3-0. When the first period ended Hurricanes had out-shot the Kings 18 to 3 and were up...
Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes complete weekend sweep with a win over the Colorado Avalanche

Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes complete weekend sweep with a win over the Colorado Avalanche

Last weekend, things started well enough with a Hurricanes win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but when pressured by a Detroit Red Wings team that came to skate, the Hurricanes had absolutely no answer on Friday. The result was a lackluster loss that was never close and the beginning of a three-game skid. Fast forward one week, and the Hurricanes won soundly on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks and again faced the prospect of trying to follow it up a day later against a rested team and somehow find a way to win and in the process do better than treading water. And this time around, the Hurricanes did exactly that. The game was fast-paced early and almost completely without stoppages with the puck moving rapidly in both directions. Though that was a recipe for trouble only a week earlier, this time the Hurricanes found their skating legs and were able to match pace and counter punch. Despite the pace in the first period, both teams defended reasonably well such that shot volumes grew but grade A chances not as quickly. Colorado struck first when a turnover during 4-on-4 play saw the Avalanche go quickly from defense to offense and finish when a defenseman stepped up and fired past Cam Ward. But Brock McGinn responded almost instantly with an answer goal when Elias Lindholm fed him from behind the net to right in front for a point blank chance. The goal was one of three good chances for McGinn in the first period alone. And past the goal, the Hurricanes skated well pretty much to a man...
Gm55 Vs. Van: Scott Darling and Canes rebound with solid 4-1 win over the Canucks

Gm55 Vs. Van: Scott Darling and Canes rebound with solid 4-1 win over the Canucks

After three consecutive losses, the Hurricanes entered Friday’s game desperately needing to leverage a favorable match up against a non-playoff team on home ice to get the train back on the tracks with a win. With Scott Darling in net, the game also presented the chance for him to get back on track. And Friday night was a success on both accounts. The game started fortuitously when an early rush saw Brett Pesce push up more aggressively than usual, receive a cross ice pass and go bar in for the fastest goal by a defenseman in Carolina Hurricanes history. The early tally relieved tension early and also staked starting goalie Scott Darling to a rare lead. Steady played followed and unlike recent games where the Hurricanes just seemed unable to finish even good scoring chances, Pesce’s goal seemed to unchain the team’s finishing ability. The first period was not overly eventful, but the Hurricanes capitalized when given the chance. Phil Di Giuseppe squeaked one home from the side of the net on an Elias Lindholm centering pass from behind the end line late in the first period. And just inside the final minute of the first period, Sebastian Aho finished a breakaway after receiving a pretty stretch pass from Jaccob Slavin. When the dust settled on the first period, the Hurricanes had run out to a 3-0 lead mostly courtesy of a burst of finishing, and Scott Darling had the chance to ease into the game with an early lead and only six shots on net for the period. Basically, the period could not have been better. The Canucks...
Gm54 Vs. Phi: Canes power outage continues in 2-1 overtime loss to Flyers

Gm54 Vs. Phi: Canes power outage continues in 2-1 overtime loss to Flyers

With the chance to pull up into a tie for the final playoff spot, the Hurricanes instead ran their home losing streak to three and fell another point behind the Philadelphia Flyers who beat them 2-1 in overtime. The Hurricanes did collect an overtime loss consolation point, but that did little to lessen the sting of another loss. An important starting point is to note that the Hurricanes compete level was better after two lackluster losses over the weekend. But at the same time, I think the game pretty clearly showed that the team just is not very good right now and will need to find a significantly higher gear pretty quickly if it wants to play hockey that matters when the playoff spots are being decided in late March and early April. Out of the gate, the game had a slow and cautious canter to it as if it was two boxers feeling each other out with a heavy focus on not making a mistake and very little to actually attack. Up until the under 12:00 television timeout, the Hurricanes had two shots on goal and really not much of anything for quality scoring chances. But in playing a buttoned down, safe game, they did not allow the Flyers much either. The offensive part of the game really did not even begin until the officials stepped into the action to create a massive run of power plays. Thank goodness the referees intervened because the Hurricanes generated virtually offensively all night except on the power play and in 3-on-3 action in overtime. When Brock McGinn drew a four-minute power...