Gm82 Vs. Tam: Canes finish in high note with 3-2 overtime win over the Lightning

Gm82 Vs. Tam: Canes finish in high note with 3-2 overtime win over the Lightning

Thoughts and prayers continue to go out to everyone affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on Friday. I happened upon the news on Twitter when writing my game preview and went to sleep with a pit in my stomach and awoke with the same on Saturday. I just cannot fathom what that community is going through right now.   Somewhat fittingly, Saturday’s 2017-18 season finale was a bit of sloppy slog through the rain and mud just like the season in total. Mother nature was not cooperative for those capitalizing on the last chance to tailgate for Canes hockey until next fall. But on the ice and looking narrowly at Saturday’s event, the game was a success. In my opinion, the biggest target of getting Sebastian Aho to 30 goals was not achieved, but the Hurricanes played a good hockey game in total and beat a Tampa Bay Lightning team that is bound for the playoffs and importantly was playing a game with playoff seeding ramifications. Jordan Staal got things off to a start early when a fortuitous bounce saw him fling the puck across the front of the net but carom off of Ondrej Palat’s skate and into the net. Justin Williams added another odd goal when he fired into an open net from the far boards shortly after a Noah Hanifin shot saw Jordan Staal and Phil Di Giuseppe creating chaos in front and toppling the goalie (which why the net was open). The Lightning proceeded to claw back slowly with a goal in the second period and another in the third period that pushed the...
Gm81 @Phi: Canes fall 4-3 to Flyers’ push for a playoff spot

Gm81 @Phi: Canes fall 4-3 to Flyers’ push for a playoff spot

Thursday’s match up between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia figured to be tough sledding for the Hurricanes against an opponent that needed to win at least one and possibly two of its last two games to secure a playoff spot. And that is how the first period played out on the ice, but interestingly in a reversal of Canes’ fortunes, the period featured the same inversion of shot metrics versus scoreboard. The Flyers came out with exactly the intensity that one would have expected, generally drove play and piled up a 15 to 7 shots on goal advantage in addition to clanging two shots off of goal posts. But between some luck from the pipes and Scott Darling starting well, the Hurricanes somehow emerged from the first period with a 2-1 lead. Klas Dahlbeck scored his first of the season when the Flyers failed to sort things out off the rush with players changing such that Dahlbeck received a second pass inside the offensive zone and had time to skate into a label a shot past Flyers goalie Brian Elliott. Michael Raffl struck back when the Hurricanes were beaten up the ice off the rush. But Sebastian Aho scored his 29th of the season on soft goal that banked off the side of the goalie on a rebound on a Valentin Zykov shot. The period wrapped up as a mirror image of a usual Hurricanes first period with a big shot disadvantage but a lead from a couple break downs by the opponent and some opportunistic scoring. The second period was mostly more of the same, as the...
Gm79 Vs. NYR: Canes fall 2-1 to Lundqvist and the Rangers on Sebastian Aho showcase night

Gm79 Vs. NYR: Canes fall 2-1 to Lundqvist and the Rangers on Sebastian Aho showcase night

On Saturday, beautiful weather and a holiday weekend offered potentially the best opportunity for spring tailgating until the team tries again in 2018-19 for a return to the premium version that includes playoff hockey. With both teams out of the playoff chase closing out March, the game had minimal significance in the standings which left fans looking for story lines. At PNC Arena there was a goalie match up between Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Ward to go with the continued tracking of the emerging Teravainen/Aho/Zykov line. And on television, the game was dubbed Sebastian Aho “showcase” night with features and interviews on the young star. Perhaps inspired by the competition at the other end of the rink, the first period shaped up as goalie battle. The Hurricanes had some good chances early but were stoned by Lundqvist. Then Ward returned the favor later in the first period when the Rangers mounted some offense. The period finished in a scoreless tie with Ward and Lundqvist owning the day. Early on the second period slogged along with sloppy and sluggish play without much worth noting. But along the way another round of the Hurricanes’ intermittent defensive break downs crept in and gave the Rangers chances and ultimately the lead. The first Rangers goal came when the Hurricanes managed to get four defenders to the same side of the ice without enough attention to detail marking opposing players and a fifth maybe too narrowly focused on his assignment who was not dangerous. More directly, Teuvo Teravainen lost track of Ryan Sproul who stepped uncontested into the slot and Sebastian Aho though not...
Gm78 @Was: Canes and Scott Darling pummel an oddly lacklaster Washington Capitals

Gm78 @Was: Canes and Scott Darling pummel an oddly lacklaster Washington Capitals

With a Washington Capital team readying for the playoffs and attempting to climb above 100 points playing a Carolina Hurricanes team that entered with 79 points and staring at early-booked tee times for the second week of April, Friday’s match up figured to be tough sledding for the Hurricanes. But the Capitals looked more like a team resting before the start of the playoffs than a team preparing for them, and the Hurricanes pounced with a strong effort and a 4-1 win. The Capitals entered with a 9-1 mark in their past 10 games and a seven-game winning streak that dated back to February 20, so despite its lack of significance at this point in the season, it was an impressive one. The game started maybe as it was expected to go throughout with Washington scoring first on a shot from a ways out by Michal Kempny. But the Hurricanes responded quickly when Derek Ryan scored on a second rebound after Jaccob Slavin galloped the length of the rink for a great individual effort and put the puck on net. Joakim Nordstrom had the first rebound try, and Ryan finished on the third try that featured offense generation from the back end and two players going hard to the net. In a game that started evenly, the Hurricanes built upward while the Capitals continued to look lackluster. Another great individual effort from the blue line put the Hurricanes up 2-1 about midway through the first period. This time, it was Justin Faulk deftly walking around a defender up top with a toe drag and then labeling a shot past...
Gm77 @NJ: Canes trade punches but ultimately fall 4-3 to the Devils

Gm77 @NJ: Canes trade punches but ultimately fall 4-3 to the Devils

  Facing a tougher test against a New Jersey Devils team that is scratching and clawing for every point it can get to win the battle for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Hurricanes tried to extend their three-game winning streak. The Hurricanes took punches but also counter-punched in a back and forth game. The game started with the Hurricanes on their heels early. New Jersey attacked and had the better of play in the early going, but Scott Darling was sharp out of the gate and held the fort early. What was most noticeable in the early going was Darling’s crispness in terms of tracking the puck controlling rebounds. New Jersey did score first when a Darling rebound caromed right to Pavel Zacha’s stick, but I would still say that his first period was strong overall. After a start that saw the ice tilted into the Canes defensive zone early, the team surged late in the first period. Phil Di Giuseppe labeled a shot off the rush after a nice play by Jeff Skinner to win and advance the puck at the offensive blue line and a nice pass and then screen from Elias Lindholm. Then Warren Foegele scored his second goal in his second NHL game from an odd angle just like his first goal. After a slow start, the good guys emerged from the first period with a 17 to 13 shot advantage and a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard. The second period started evenly but then saw the Devils surge again as the period wore on. Darling had another good set of saves early...