Gm47 Vs. Ott: Canes lay an egg in 4-1 loss in important game versus the Senators

Gm47 Vs. Ott: Canes lay an egg in 4-1 loss in important game versus the Senators

After reeling off seven wins in eight tries to start January, the Hurricanes had reversed course after an abysmal December. The team was still on the outside looking in, but the gap up to the playoff cut line had shrunk significantly. Then on Tuesday against the Rangers the Hurricanes failed to launch and laid an egg. With very little margin for error, that set Friday’s game to be a big one. The Hurricanes had a home match up against a bottom third team in the Senators and desperately needed a win to avoid giving back too much of what was earned in the front part of the month. Inexplicably, in that situation and desperately needing a win, the Hurricanes again failed to launch. The result was a debilitating 4-1 loss. Per a tweet shortly after the game ended: This week is eerily reminiscent of #Canes recent past. Team is able to muster a push after it digs a hole, but for whatever reason (increased pressure? taking foot off pedal? Or…?) getting close again triggers floundering each and every time. This is the next hurdle… — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 19, 2019 The Hurricanes just seemed a step slow from the beginning. Early on, the Hurricanes had a decent amount of offensive zone time but seemed to shoot everything into Senators players’ shin guards. Ottawa scored first late in the first period on a rebound chance and then posted two goals in the span of 13 seconds in the front half of the second period to run out to a commanding 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes maybe pushed a bit...
Gm46 @NYR: Canes road struggles against Rangers continue in 6-2 loss

Gm46 @NYR: Canes road struggles against Rangers continue in 6-2 loss

After winning seven out of eight and playing pretty well even in the loss, the Hurricanes laid an egg for the first time in 2019. The Canes were not going to just run through the rest of the schedule with nearly perfect play, so a game like Tuesday’s was inevitable. But a Hurricanes team that gave up too much in December does not have margin for error to allow a bad game to turn into a longer skid, so critical is for the Hurricanes to quickly regroup and get back on the winning side against a beatable Senators team on Friday. The Hurricanes were mediocre but not horrible early on. But in an anomaly, the team’s goaltending let it down a bit. First, Curtis McElhinney was beaten on what seemed like a harmless wrist shot from the blue line when McElhinney was unable to track the puck through a screen. Then he made an error later pursuing but not getting to a puck off the end boards. The result was a quick pass and shot into the net behind him. The third Rangers’ goal of the first period was more the result of the Hurricanes just being a step slow on a quick passing play. Saku Maenalanen scored in the middle of it all when a forechecking effort landing the puck on his stick for a point blank chance and finish. But the Hurricanes exited the first period with a 3-1 deficit. The second period did not yield the rebound that the team needed. Andrei Svechnikov took another stick penalty early. McElhinney was beaten through a hole on a...
Gm45 Vs. Nas: Canes notch 7th out of 8 with impressive Aho hat trick win over the Predators

Gm45 Vs. Nas: Canes notch 7th out of 8 with impressive Aho hat trick win over the Predators

Bigger picture No doubt the details of the Hurricanes 6-3 win over the #1 team in the Western Conference, but before jumping to those details below, I wanted to first point out two more subtle but significant things about the Canes win on Sunday and the recent trend in general. 1–The Hurricanes beat a good team on Sunday by outplaying them. They did catch a few breaks with a couple odd carom type goals, but make no mistake that the Hurricanes were the better of the two teams on the ice on Sunday afternoon. That has been the case in most recent wins and was arguably even the case in Thursday’s loss to East-leading Tampa Bay. So the Hurricanes’ current win streak is not at all the result of hanging close and getting lucky. They are playing well enough to beat good teams right now which is significant. 2–On a related note, goaltending has faded into the background a bit. Make no mistake that the Hurricanes netminding has still been solid and equally important consistent. But whereas the team won some games awhile back that required superhuman goaltending efforts. As impressive as those wins were, trying to win consistently because your goalie stands on his head when the other team is better is very difficult to sustain. So right now, the Hurricanes are in a better place where the prospect of a goalie stealing a game is still there, but it really has not been the case in recent wins.   Sunday’s win As has been the case recently, the Hurricanes started on time for Sunday’s 12:30pm start. Any...
Gm44 Vs. Buf: Canes rebound with 4-3 win over Sabres in Skinner’s return

Gm44 Vs. Buf: Canes rebound with 4-3 win over Sabres in Skinner’s return

After a tough loss late in the game the night before, one might have wondered how the Hurricanes would react with a quick turnaround for a game the next night. While the first period was not the best that the team has played of late, the team did not seem to suffer any ill effects from the night before. Midway through the period, the hockey gods continued a strong run coming to the Canes aid. A harmless Micheal Ferland shot somehow went off the back part of the top of the net and found its way back to the crease where the a Buffalo defenseman scored an own goal which was credited to Ferland. The resulting 1-0 lead would hold until the final minute of the period when Jeff Skinner scored a pretty power play goal batting a puck out of mid-air and into the net to tie the game 1-1. Especially after playing and traveling the night before while Buffalo rested in Raleigh, the Hurricanes had to be happy with the 1-1 tie heading into the first intermission. The Skinner goal to close out the first period seemed to kick off a burst of scoring. Early in the second period, a great individual move by Justin Williams saw him open a lane to the net and finish up off the cross bar and in. But Buffalo struck back only 30 seconds later when Jason Pominville labeled a shot for the top half of the net. Then the Canes pushed back up 3-2 when Sebastian Aho threw the puck into traffic from the corner. The puck went off the...
Gm43 @Tam: Canes post impressive effort against NHL’s best but fall 2-1 late to Lightning

Gm43 @Tam: Canes post impressive effort against NHL’s best but fall 2-1 late to Lightning

Ugh. That game is some bizarre combination of impressive and heartbreaking at the same time. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 11, 2019 At least in terms of a personal reaction immediately following the game, I think that sums it up for me. Facing a huge challenge on the road against the NHL’s best team, the Hurricanes started strong and generally played well throughout but shot themselves in the foot a bit late and that was arguably the difference in a 2-1 loss. The Hurricanes started on time and carried the first period. To a man, the Hurricanes competed for every puck. The result was a first period that saw the Hurricanes dictate play. The Lightning team that has largely been an offensive juggernaut this season, had trouble getting the puck out of its own end and through the neutral zone.  The Lightning managed a shot on net early and then nothing for a long time before finishing the first period with only three shots on net. Though the records for the season are reversed, the Hurricanes were by far the better team in the first period. But despite the strong first period, the teams were tied at 0-0 after one period. Early in the second period, the Hurricanes were finally rewarded when Justin Williams scored on a rebound off the rush on a heady Dougie Hamilton shot aimed at creating exactly the rebound that it did. In total, the second period was more even, but the Hurricanes still earned high marks for again playing 20 minutes with an incredibly high compete level. Even once the Lightning got...
Gm42 @NYI: Canes escape Long Island with win and streak intact

Gm42 @NYI: Canes escape Long Island with win and streak intact

The opposing New York Islanders for whatever reason are a horrible match up for the Hurricanes in terms of generating offense and grade A scoring chances and for the most part did their thing on Tuesday night. Sebastian Aho had one of his quietest games of the season. The Hurricanes had a couple defensive break downs that led to goals against. The team lost its focus late with a soft goal allowed in the final minute and a couple poor decisions icing the puck. All of this is certainly a recipe for a tough road loss to the Islanders who had already beaten the Canes three times. But the Hurricanes scratched and clawed a bit, made a few plays and benefited from reversing a goal against with a successful offside challenge. And just like the reverse of an abysmal December, the Hurricanes are suddenly rolling with all the mojo in January with five straight wins (four of those in January). Ironically, most impressive about #Canes win was fact that they really never got going but found a way to grind out a win. Other than late softie, goaltending was again a positive and depth stepped up and led way. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 9, 2019   Game recap The first period was largely a slog through the mud somewhat similar to the three previous Islanders losses and also the grinding games against the Flyers and Devils just before the new year. The Canes were not bad early, but they really were not good either. Neither team had a ton of shots or chances early, but the...