Gm18 Vs. Chi: Canes pull out 3-2 overtime win in Cam Ward’s return

Gm18 Vs. Chi: Canes pull out 3-2 overtime win in Cam Ward’s return

The Hurricanes have struggled to find a rhythm of late, have struggled more than flourished, but along the way have found a way to grind out some points and stay just above .500. After an abysmal start in Arizona, the team surged late to at least steal an overtime loss point. Then after a couple tough losses, the Hurricanes capitalized against a struggling Blackhawks team to salvage a 1-2-1 road trip. Then in the first game of a home stand, the Hurricanes stumbled late but still picked up another overtime loss point. Finally on Monday night, the Hurricanes again capitalized on finding a struggling Blackhawks team on the schedule. Over the past six games, I would say that the Hurricanes have struggled much more than they have flourished, but along the way, they have scratched and clawed to a 2-2-2 mark. No doubt, the team will need to eventually find a higher gear and/or a run of wins, but if they do just maybe we will look back on this stretch where the team held things together during tough times and avoided digging a hole.   Canes win 3-2 against the Blackhawks The final entry in that log is of course the Hurricanes win on Monday night. The game truly had something for everyone. For those seeking some nostalgia for long-time Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward, they were rewarded with Ward playing well and making a number of good saves. For those living in the here and now, Scott Darling also played well. Sebastian Aho also continued to lead on the score sheet with two points including the game-winning goal...
Gm17 Vs. Det: Canes stumble late and convert lead into only an OTL point versus Detroit

Gm17 Vs. Det: Canes stumble late and convert lead into only an OTL point versus Detroit

Sometimes when a team picks up a point in an overtime loss, they more or less stole or earned a point in the standings. Other times, the losing team gave up a point to get one instead of two. After carrying a 3-1 lead into the third period against a Detroit team that played and traveled last night, the Hurricanes overtime loss on Saturday night to kick off a six-game home stand was clearly the latter. The game was fairly evenly played early on with a reasonable volume of shots in both directions. The Red Wings climbed onto the scoreboard first, when Andreas Anathasiou fired an unscreened one-timer through a leaky Scott Darling from the top of the face-off circle. From that distance and with no screen or traffic, a goalie should not be beaten right through the wickets. But the Hurricanes struck back when Brock McGinn outworked two Wings behind the goal and then later finished when a Haydn Fleury shot pin balled right to him. The back and forth first period finished with the Hurricanes posting an 18 to 14 advantage in shots on net and with a 1-1 score. In the second period, the Hurricanes put the pedal down. The Hurricanes drew two penalties early in the second period, peppered Detroit netminder Jonathan Bernier with shot after shot on the way to a 19 to 7 shot advantage in the period and were ultimately rewarded for their dominant play. First, Micheal Ferland finished from in front of the crease on the power play, and then Sebastian Aho and Teravainen again offered the assists on a goal...
Gm16 @Chi: Canes salvage 4-3 win to close out road trip in Chicago

Gm16 @Chi: Canes salvage 4-3 win to close out road trip in Chicago

With the Hurricanes arriving with a five-game losing streak and desperately needing a win, Tuesday’s game played out almost exactly the opposite of most recent games which also meant a win. The Hurricanes capitalized on an opponent that had a weak first period to the tune of three goals and the proceeded to over-rely on goaltending and holding on after that. After running out to a 4-0 lead in the front part of the second period, the Hurricanes gave up two quick goals and then faced down waves of Blackhawk challenges after that with Darling playing a key role. Darling’s three goals against will not stand out as spectacular on the score sheet, but he made saves when the team needed them and in the process played a key role in making sure an early lead was converted to a win instead of a deflating loss. For a team and a fan base that has witnessed how hard the game of hockey can seem at times, the first period was a reminder that the reverse can also be true. The Hurricanes played a decent but not necessarily spectacular first period, but when the chance to score presented itself the Hurricanes finished. First, Andrei Svechnikov swooped a a loose rebound into the net. Then Jaccob Slavin intelligently sensed opportunity and jumped up from the blue line on the power play to finish another loose puck. Then finally lost coverage in front of the net saw Brock McGinn with the puck and time and space in between the circles. When he moved the puck to Phil Di Giuseppe, he had open...
Gm15 @StL: Early Canes blunders dig early hole as losing streak stretches to 5 against Blues

Gm15 @StL: Early Canes blunders dig early hole as losing streak stretches to 5 against Blues

Tuesday’s Hurricanes game was very similar to Friday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. The team again suffered a quick series of blunders in their own end. The other team capitalized. And the Hurricanes spent the rest of the game trying to dig out of that hole. On Friday night, some late magic pushed the game to overtime and netted a point in the standings. Though the Canes did push again on Tuesday, they never got back into it. On the one hand, the Canes were unlucky to some degree. In the first period, the team had two posts and another shot that went through goalie Chad Johnson but somehow not into the net. The Canes would tally two more posts. So certainly a bounce here or there, especially early, could have made a difference. But one should not overlook the fact that the team shot itself in the foot again in creating another another uphill battle. In a game between two struggling and hungry teams, the game started with a significant amount of cautiousness by both teams. Early on, it was as if both teams were trying not to make the first mistake. Finally at the midway point, the Hurricanes gave in and made a couple costly mistakes in succession. The first occurred when Micheal Ferland made a poor pass and decision in front of his own net. When Dougie Hamilton could not handle it, St. Louis counter attacked before the Canes could recover. Aho was already fleeing the zone. Hamilton could not recover. And Slavin who was admittedly put in a tough spot was too deep and...
Gm14 @Veg: Canes fall flat in 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights

Gm14 @Veg: Canes fall flat in 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights

After a slow start dug an early hole on Friday in Arizona, the Hurricanes started somewhat better on Saturday in Las Vegas. But the story early on was all too familiar. The Canes won the shot battle but were unable to convert it to anything on the score board. The result was a mostly decent even if unspectacular first period that still exited with a 1-0 deficit. Dougie Hamilton was first to a puck in the corner of the defensive zone. He tried to get cute waiting the play the puck resulting in a Vegas player just taking it from him. Two quick passes later Hamilton was victimized again being slow to his man heading to the net. The result was a bang bang passing play and a puck deposited quickly between Scott Darling’s wickets and into the net. The Hurricanes would exit the first period down 1-0 an in a familiar posture scratching their heads about what had transpired. The second period was more of the same. True to recent theme, the opposing goalie was good, and the Hurricanes started mounting a shots advantage as the game wore on. But the Golden Knights were next to score, when a couple shots from between the circles were blocked and finally on a third try Ryan Reaves found the handle and deposited a backhand through Darling’s wickets and into the net. The shot total at the end of the second period was 25 to 17 in favor of the Hurricanes, but the score was 2-0 Vegas. That set the stage for the Hurricanes to try to surge late and steal...
Gm13 @Ari: Horrid series in first period dooms Canes who at least steal an overtime point versus the Coyotes

Gm13 @Ari: Horrid series in first period dooms Canes who at least steal an overtime point versus the Coyotes

Looking to get off to a good start on a four-game road trip, a special teams affair and sleepy start were exactly what the Hurricanes did not need. Coming into the game, the Coyotes penalty kill ranked second in the NHL, and significantly the Coyotes had scored six times shorthanded which matched the six power play goals scored by the Hurricanes coming into the game. Those statistics would come into play early. Lackadaisical play by Justin Faulk and Micheal Ferland with the puck loose in front of their own net saw Brad Richardson retrieve the puck and quickly put it behind Petr Mrazek to put the Coyotes up 1-0 early on a shorthanded goal. Shortly thereafter, the Coyotes struggling power play would tally. The goal was yet another where the opponent scored off the rush before even setting up for the power play. With problems aplenty right now on the penalty kill, that one stands out to me as something that should be correctable. Right now, it is just too easy to fly through the neutral blow by the weak wall at the blue line. The book is out there and it is being read and exploited on a regular basis at this point. The Coyotes would quickly add an even strength goal. Very quickly a ‘meh’ start turned horribly bad with three goals in four minutes. With the 3-0 deficit to end the first period, one has to wonder how many Caniacs stayed up to see the better part of the game that was yet to come. To start the second period, Rod Brind’Amour finally capitulated and shook up...