Rd2 Gm3 Vs. NYI: Canes and crowd SURGE in 3rd period for 5-2 win and within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals

Rd2 Gm3 Vs. NYI: Canes and crowd SURGE in 3rd period for 5-2 win and within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals

Quick hitters –So incredibly happy for Curtis McElhinney. To this day, I do not think the Canes are where they are right now if he is not a stabilizing force in October and November when team was on brink of digging too big of a hold and being eliminated from playoff contention really early. –The third period was easily the Canes best of this series and also among the best in the playoffs. Even after the Islanders fell down a goal and desperately needed to muster shots and offense, they went >12 minutes without putting the puck on net. The forecheck was in peak form, and the defensemen retrieved and moved pucks well such that the Canes rarely had to defend in the third period. –Understated story of this game was the depth players. The fourth line was incredibly good, arguably the team’s best, in terms of controlling play. It was unfair that they did not net a goal, but there contribution was huge nonetheless. Haydn Fleury played an uneventful game in a good way in replacing Trevor van Riemsdyk. –Matching what was happening on the ice, I also thought the third period was at or near peak playoffs in terms of atmosphere, energy and sustained volume.     Carolina Hurricanes game recap Despite the Hurricanes winning both games 1 and 2 in New York, I said after each game that the Hurricanes would at some point need to re-find a higher gear to win the series. A home game for game 3 set up as a great opportunity for exactly that. And early on, the game looked promising....
Rd2 Gm2 @NYI: ‘Find a way’ Canes do it again with 2-1 win to take commanding lead over Isles

Rd2 Gm2 @NYI: ‘Find a way’ Canes do it again with 2-1 win to take commanding lead over Isles

The margin of victory has been tiny, and one could even make a decent case that the Hurricanes do not deserve to be up 2-0 in the series. But we are very clearly at the point in the season where wins and losses trump everything else by a wide margin. As I said on Twitter after the win: Said it a couple times in March…One of most striking things about 2019 #Canes is complete transformation from team that always seemed better but somehow lost to a team that just finds a way to win sometimes regardless of level of play. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 29, 2019 An interesting debate could be had about whether this is due to a change in mentality/attitude, the team just being better and benefiting from it or just pure luck. Reality is that it is probably a combination of all three. Regardless of cause, the Hurricanes seem to have this newfound aura of ‘just find a way’ hockey right now. And find a way, the Hurricanes did on Sunday afternoon…   Game recap The game started a bit like game 1 with the Isles pinning their ears back and trying to hit the Hurricanes defensemen hard enough on the boards to convert them into a logo. And that is pretty much what happened two minutes into the game to Trevor van Riemsdyk. He got lined up and pretty much run through the boards on a clean check. The result was his departure with an upper body injury and no return. The Isles again tried to use physical play to get going...
Rd2 Gm1 @NYI: Canes kick Isles in ding-ding with 1-0 OT win to take lead in series

Rd2 Gm1 @NYI: Canes kick Isles in ding-ding with 1-0 OT win to take lead in series

Quick hitters –Biggest thing is that the Hurricanes who could have been flat trying to dial it up again only 40ish hours after Caps series ended found enough to get a game 1 win. The team now has a successful two-game road trip in its pocket and now a chance to really seize control of the series on Sunday. –Petr Mrazek (and Robin Lehner too) were the story of game 1. By no means was the game an offensive free for all, but there were enough breakaways and point blank chances that this game could many times have ended before overtime. –Jordan Staal now has three huge goals in three games with the OT game-winner against Isles, the third period tying goal versus Caps and third period game-winner in game 6 versus Caps. He is playing his best offensive hockey in a Hurricanes uniform under the brightest of lights. –Really liked play of Canes defensemen. Majority of Mrazek heroics were the result of puck management issues and not so much the defensemen’s play. If Canes can clean up puck management at the blue lines and in transition, they have potential to really squeeze the offensive life out of the Islanders.   Recap Shortly before the Hurricanes and Islanders started on Friday night I Tweeted the following: Really interested to see how #Canes vs. #Isles starts. Isles come in with way too much time off (9 days) and Canes come in with not enough to recover (1 day). Hoping Isles look rusty and Canes just carry playoff rhythm/pace into next round, but we'll see. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee)...
Rd1 Gm7 @Was: Whoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Canes win double OT thriller and advance to 2nd round!

Rd1 Gm7 @Was: Whoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Canes win double OT thriller and advance to 2nd round!

This might sound strange, but I actually dread writing recaps (or whatever I end up writing) after games like Wednesday’s. For those who experienced, there really is not much I can say that captures it and everyone has their own special version of what it felt like. For those who did not watch it, as much as I wish I could, it is just impossible to capture how special it was. And my usual bit of hashing through details/analysis like I usually try to do just misses the point. And as a hobbyist type writer, I have not once felt like I did a good job of capturing the essence of a game like Wednesday’s. Nonetheless, I will give it the old college try to at least put a record here that I can look back on years down the road.   The fan side of the game First a few Tweets: 1/2 I am so incredibly happy for the generation of @NHLCanes fans who lived through lean times with no playoff rewards and are finally experiencing the greatness that Canes playoff hockey is. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 25, 2019 2/2 The droughts have been too many, too long and sometimes hard, but each and every time @NHLCanes have made the playoffs has been special beyond anything you can explain to someone who did not also share it. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 25, 2019 I think I am still in shock. We are all sleeping in our @NHLCanes jerseys again. Right?#TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 25, 2019 Some day down the...
Rd1 Gm6 Vs. Was: Canes surge to game 6 win forcing winner takes all game 7 on Wednesday

Rd1 Gm6 Vs. Was: Canes surge to game 6 win forcing winner takes all game 7 on Wednesday

Quick hitters –More than anything, this was a team win. After being unable to respond in Saturday’s loss, the Hurricanes punched back on Monday such that when the Capitals pulled ahead twice, the Canes just fought harder. –Jordan Staal was the best player in the game. He did the heavy lifting in a game that required a bunch of heavy, and of course the game-winning goal was a big contribution too. –The Hurricanes defense just completed a run of three home games holding down a very good offense. All six of the defensemen played well. It will be critical to carry that over to the road on Wednesday. – The pressure is now on the Caps more so than the Canes. Despite the three road losses, Wednesday’s game is a 50/50 shot. Game 7s are a unique animal. Any kind of random first goal off a skate or whatever can start a game 7 on a path to its final outcome.   Making memories Playoff hockey brings back so many memories. Based on the recent drought, one might not expect it, but the Hurricanes history is rich with absolutely tremendous playoff memories. Each and every time the Hurricanes have made the playoffs (yes, I realize it has not been often enough) has been absolutely spectacular. And on cue, the 2019 playoffs are living up to that reputation. In thinking about Hurricanes playoff history on Monday afternoon, Monday’s game if it ended in a loss would have been very reminiscent of the 2001 playoffs. In the 2001 playoffs, the Hurricanes faced the Devils who were the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Prior to...
Rd1 Gm5 @Was: Canes unable to answer Caps counter-punch in 6-0 loss

Rd1 Gm5 @Was: Canes unable to answer Caps counter-punch in 6-0 loss

Quick hitters –The Capitals set a physical and fast-paced tone early, and the Canes never really were able to answer in either regard. Put simply, the Capitals were just better in terms of physicality and pace and that gradually seeped into every other facet of the game. –In Washington, D.C, the story has been fast Caps starts and the Capitals star players outplaying and outproducing the Hurricanes top offensive players. –When the forecheck is not going like it was at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes just are not generating much offensively right now, and that includes the sputtering power play. The offense is the forecheck or bust right now. –With the forecheck not as dominant the Canes had the same defensive issues defending the rush as in games 1 and 2. The Capitals intentionally get the puck out on the wing on the rush and work from the outside in. The Caps carry the puck on the wing and keep the second player to enter wide on the other side. The result is that the Canes defensemen are split wide and Caps players are slashing to the middle for scoring chances. Canes defensemen need to maybe give up more shots from the outside to better take away the passing lane to the center, and the Hurricanes forwards need to make sure they play angles to take away passing lanes to that center lane. –As ugly as the score was, I do not think it matters much. The Hurricanes know they can win at home and just need a repeat of that to force an ‘anything can happen’ game 7.  ...