Gm59 @Nas: Canes ride one of most complete games of the season to 4-1 win over Predators

Gm59 @Nas: Canes ride one of most complete games of the season to 4-1 win over Predators

After a decent but imperfect three points out of four at home over the weekend, the Hurricanes had a single road game on Tuesday on Nashville before returning home Friday. Against a Predators team that came in with three straight wins, the Canes posted one of their most complete games of the season on the way to a 4-1 win. The Hurricanes started strong which has been a rarity of late. The couple penalties that they took were defending scoring chances, and the penalty kill came through. The team was again led by the top line which was on fire, but balance which has been mostly missing was also there. When I look back through the schedule, the last game that I would consider comparing to this one was 3-0 win at home over Arizona on January 10. If one wanted to pick a recent game to model the rest of the season after, Tuesday’s game would be it.   Recap of Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators The game started with the Hurricanes dialing things up out of the gate. The Hurricanes had six of the first seven shots and struck first when a good effort by Jordan Staal’s line. First, Justin Williams helped win a 50/50 face-off. Then the group headed to the front of the net to make a mess. Finally, Williams retrieved the puck behind the net and fed Staal who finished. Momentum was slowed a bit when Sebastian Aho took a penalty, but even that was a contrast to recent struggles. As opposed to being an unnecessary penalty, Aho was battling to defend...
Gm58 Vs. Edm: Canes falter behind couple mistakes but nab OTL point versus Oilers

Gm58 Vs. Edm: Canes falter behind couple mistakes but nab OTL point versus Oilers

In an ideal world, the Carolina Hurricanes would be able to grind out a few 3-2 or even 2-1 wins in games when they did not dial it up offensively but played a sound and stingy game defensively. But that does not seem to be in the cards for the current iteration of the Hurricanes that are capable of scoring in bunches sometimes in breathtaking fashion late in games but also just continue to be a bit off in terms of attention to detail. The Canes 4-3 overtime loss to the Oilers on Sunday represented the seventh time in eight games since the All-Star break that the Canes opponent scored three or more goals allowing 3.88 goals per game in that time frame. The story was a bit the same too. In terms of sheer volume of time, the Hurricanes played a decent game on Sunday, but paid dearly for a few costly errors that generated offense for an Edmonton team that maybe needed a bit of help in that regard. Two Edmonton goals came on power plays from unnecessary offensive zone penalties by the Canes (Svechnikov and Haula). )Technically one was not a power play but came just seconds after a power play ended with Edmonton still on the attack.) And the third in regulation came when van Riemsdyk coughed the puck up against the forecheck and then failed to recognize that a forward would not get back quick enough to help. (He basically played the player with the puck like it was a 2-on-2 which made a pass too easy for a point blank chance and goal.)...
Gm57 Vs. NJ: Canes FINALLY take care of business versus Metro in 5-2 win over the Devils

Gm57 Vs. NJ: Canes FINALLY take care of business versus Metro in 5-2 win over the Devils

On Friday night the Carolina Hurricanes toted a 1-7-1 record against Metropolitan Division teams below them in the standings into a home match up against the New Jersey Devils. Sitting four points out of the last playoff spot but with two games in hand, the time was getting late to correct this Achilles’ heel. And at least on this night the Hurricanes did exactly that with a 5-2 win. The game started ominously with the Devils dominating play early, and the Canes taking an early penalty (Jordan Staal). The start was eerily reminiscent of the poor starts in each of the four games on the recent road trip. But the Hurricanes managed to weather the storm early and actually scored first when Nino Niederreiter flipped a fairly harmless looking shot into traffic. A screened Louis Domingue could not find the shot, but the twine at the back of the net did giving the Hurricanes an undeserved 1-0 lead. The play featured another goal against where the forwards did not hold up their end of the bargain defensively. Jaccob Slavin and Trevor van Riemsdyk were back in decent position to defend a 3-on-2 rush, but help never arrived such that a nifty passing play led to a tap in goal. But following a similar theme as the first goal, a Brett Pesce shot into traffic found Warren Foegele who finished through the mess of bodies in front. The Hurricanes exited the first period with a 2-1 lead by virtue of doing a great job of creating chaos at the top of the crease but in general losing the first period...
Gm56 @Dal: Minus another late miracle Canes stumble to 4-1 loss versus Stars

Gm56 @Dal: Minus another late miracle Canes stumble to 4-1 loss versus Stars

Once again, the Hurricanes struggled during the front part of the game and entered the third period needing a minor miracle to collect a point or two in the standings. But this time the hockey gods looked down and gave the Hurricanes the loss they deserved on a night with much more bad than good. My math says that for the four-game road trip, they played three good periods (2nd and 3rd against Arizona and 3rd against Vegas) and one decent (3rd against Dallas) period out of 12 periods. As such, the team was fortunate to collect a split and four out of a possible eight points after generally being outplayed for large chunks of all four games. In that regard, the road trip was maybe not a success but was not bad either. But the concern continues to be the team’s inability to find a higher gear on any kind of consistent basis. On Tuesday in Dallas, the Hurricanes started slow again. Dallas had seven of the game’s first eight shots while the Hurricanes were collecting three icings and otherwise just generally chipping pucks out to relieve pressure and prepare to defend again. Dallas was rewarded for controlling play when all three Canes forwards got tangled up and fell in the offensive zone. The result was a rush the other way that saw a back door pass go right through Jake Gardiner leaving with Petr Mrazek with no chance on the goal. The Hurricanes found some life when an Andrei Svechnikov pass accidentally hit Sebastian Aho in the skate and landed close enough to his wheel house for...
Gm55 @Veg: Canes defy the odds and win a thriller 6-5 in the shootout over Vegas

Gm55 @Veg: Canes defy the odds and win a thriller 6-5 in the shootout over Vegas

Earlier this week, I penned an article saying that the Canes would need to find a higher gear mostly meaning more sound play if they were to push up into the playoffs again. Then in both my game recap from Thursday and also my game preview for Saturday, I suggested that Thursday’s fun win was not all it was cracked up to be because of continued issues with quality of play. And in the process, I led perfectly into the messy game that the Hurricanes played on Saturday and lost for 40 or more minutes. But then the 2019-20 Carolina rose up defiantly and stormed back for a wild win. The game was exactly the opposite of what I continue to think the team ultimately needs to do to finish this season successfully. And it was an extreme version of the seemingly imperfect model for the 2019-20 team that has many times out-run or out-gunned any number of mistakes on the way to a win. I guess at some point, I need to at least consider the possibility that maybe this team is just completely different than the 2018-19 team but with a chance to be successful nonetheless. I am spent and do not have it in me to write a detailed recap, but let me try a few bullet points… Vegas was the better team early and pretty much throughout the first two periods. Breakdowns and errors again cost the Canes. Aho missed covered and his man scored from between the circles. Slavin failed to clear a puck when he got his stick whacked and then was soft...
Gm54 @Ari: Canes rebound with much-needed 5-3 win over Arizona

Gm54 @Ari: Canes rebound with much-needed 5-3 win over Arizona

In Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe, I wrote about Andrei Svechnikov: But at the point where Svechnikov is not boosting scoring for Staal’s line, I think it is time to redeployed to maximize his scoring. If the slot that Svechnikov holds right now is going to be light on scoring, there are plenty of other options. Though I do think it makes the Canes offense a bit top-heavy, I think timing could be right to put Svechnikov with Aho. Aho seems to be finding a higher gear, and Svechnikov could get a boost in terms of scoring chances by playing with him right now. Svechnikov had a pretty goal on Sunday to start February strong, but he scored only two goals in eleven games in January. Perhaps timing is right to try to maximize what he can bring offensively.   And in that same article, I wrote about James Reimer: With another win on Sunday, James Reimer continues to play well in net. Could that coupled with four straight road games see him become the Canes starting netminder? Brind’Amour will not make any formal announcement on such a shift, and both goalies will continue to play anyway. But thus far in 2019-20, Reimer has taken a heavier share of the road games and has outperformed Mrazek in those games. Reimer is 8-4-0 on the road with a 2.54 goals against average and .919 save percentage. Mrazek is 4-6-2 with a 3.00 goals against average and .897 save percentage. If Brind’Amour is going to lean a bit more in Reimer’s direction, timing could be now. Again, this is not suggesting...