Gm39 Vs. Was: Canes push into tie for final playoff spot with overtime loss to the Caps

Gm39 Vs. Was: Canes push into tie for final playoff spot with overtime loss to the Caps

As I said on Twitter shortly after the conclusion of the game… We were SO close to beating the #Caps on a goal scored (for the @NHLCanes) by Brooks Orpik into his own net. Sigh. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 3, 2018 The result was at least half full, but leaving PNC Arena after an overtime loss is still leaving PNC Arena after a loss. With the Hurricanes playing well of late and coming in with a six-game home winning streak and the Capitals sitting atop the Metropolitan Division standings, the game figured to be a good one. Though it was entertaining because of the volume of goals, the game was anything but well-played. Instead, the game featured a steady flow of break downs and miscues that fueled the majority of the offense for both teams. The Hurricanes forecheck and opportunistic attack whenever the Capitals turned the puck over for an immediate scoring chance against which must have happened a dozen times were positives for the Hurricanes. But the Hurricanes lack of attention to detail and miscues defensively and sloppiness in their own right trying to advance the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone were both major negatives. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, the Capitals defensemen were absolutely atrocious when pressured on the forecheck and single-handedly generated an impressive volume of grade A scoring chances for the Hurricanes. Early on the Hurricanes had the better of play in terms of puck possession but had issues advancing the puck smoothly and did not generate much offensively. Things also started positively on the score board when a Caps...
Gm38 @StL: Win streak ends in St. Louis

Gm38 @StL: Win streak ends in St. Louis

On Saturday night in St. Louis, the Carolina Hurricanes four-game winning streak came to a halt at the hands of the Blues in a 3-2 loss. What should not be lost is how well the team is playing exiting December if you look backwards any farther than Saturday night. The Hurricanes were 2-1 for the week, and are 7-2 in their last 9 games. Further, the Canes will enter January in only a single point out of a playoff spot which is closer than any year end in recent history. Yes, the Hurricanes are on the wrong side of the cut line, but unlike past seasons, the gap is small enough that the season will be decided by how well the team plays in the second half not by whether the team can pull off a miracle and make up for a poor first half of the season. As for the game, I would rate it as ‘meh’ in many regards. The Hurricanes started out sluggish and sloppy a bit like the Montreal game. Only 43 seconds into the game, a pass from behind the net found its way past Klas Dahlbeck and found Kyle Brodziak in between Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Staal for a quick finish. The first 10 minutes or so saw the Blues playing faster and more aggressive and with the Hurricanes struggling with defensive zone coverage. The Hurricanes survived and did manage to find a higher gear midway through the first period but exited the first period with a 1-0 deficit. Again, the Blues struck early in the second period when an inopportune Justin Faulk...
Gm37 Vs. Pit: Canes finish holiday week home stand with big win over Pens

Gm37 Vs. Pit: Canes finish holiday week home stand with big win over Pens

“Results matter” has been a familiar refrain throughout the 2017-18 season here at Canes and Coffee. In a positive way, that definitely holds true for Friday’s big win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Somewhat surprisingly, the Penguins are one of the teams that the Hurricanes are currently battling for a playoff spot, so winning in regulation represents a four-point swing versus losing. With the win, the Hurricanes are basically tied with the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference if you adjust for games played. And at six games above .500, the Hurricanes are firmly in the middle of the Metropolitan Division cluster and within range of the top half teams. With the win, the Hurricanes also pushed the struggling Penguins down another notch. As for the game, the first period featured good intensity and pace from both teams though I thought the Hurricanes were a bit off timing-wise in terms of moving the puck. The intermittent puck management issues from Wednesday’s game carried over to some degree. My quick tally had Sebastian Aho, Justin Williams, Noah Hanifin and a few others coughing up the puck in potentially dangerous places. But the period also featured the Hurricanes matching physical play and speed and also making a strong effort both on the power play and 5-on-5 to get bodies and pucks to the front of the net at the same time. But the Hurricanes were not rewarded and the only goal of the period went to the Penguins when Justin Williams got tangled up with Patrik Hornqvist and Sebastian Aho was a step or two slow covering his...
Gm36 Vs. Mon: Canes continue winning ways against Habs and push to 2-0 for the holiday week

Gm36 Vs. Mon: Canes continue winning ways against Habs and push to 2-0 for the holiday week

With a big win, the Hurricanes pushed their recent record to 6-1 and their Christmas week home mark to 2-0. In the process, the Hurricanes climbed to five games above .500. With the Canadiens traveling during the day today as is allowed only coming off the holiday break or in odd circumstances, the Hurricanes had much more jump out of the gate. In dominating the first period, the Hurricanes outshot the Canadiens by a 16-6 margin. Only a strong period by Canadiens goalie Carey Price kept Montreal in the game early. Teuvo Teravainen ended a goal scoring drought dating back to November 19 when he finished after a nice keep in and pass from Justin Faulk. Despite controlling play for the majority of the first period, the Hurricanes were a bit sloppy in terms of attention to detail, but Ward was able to bail out the team in front of him on at least three occasions. The second period saw the Canadiens play their way into the game and at least a small version of the Hurricanes’ second period woes. The Canadiens picked up the pace and dictated play more, and the Hurricanes had issues managing the puck. The result was a near reversal of the first period. Whereas the first period saw Carey Price doing all he could to keep his team in the game, the second period had Cam Ward with the heavier work load. The Canadiens eventually broke through when Alex Galchenyuk skated through somewhat lackadaisical defense by Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin off the rush and picked a spot beating Ward into the corner of...
Gm35 Vs. Buf: Canes start holiday home stand off right with 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres

Gm35 Vs. Buf: Canes start holiday home stand off right with 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres

With the schedule offering a second try after a disappointing holiday home stand for Thanksgiving week, the Hurricanes started this one off right with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. I caught only the second period which was well-timed with five of the six goals during the period. Having caught only part of the game with the rest waiting on the DVR when I return home, I will be brief with my notes/recap. If you caught the entirety of the game and have a few minutes to share, I (and I am sure others too) would appreciate others’ perspective in the comments.   Notes from the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres 1) Sebastian Aho starts it I have been positive on Aho’s play for a couple games now even the tough game on Tuesday, so it was good to see him net a goal.   2) Justin Faulk His offensive game for the 2017-18 season thus far has been odd. His game has not looked significantly different from last year in the sense that still plays with a shoot first mentality each and every game, has a propensity for joining the rush and think the game well offensively. But the goals and points just had not come, and 34 games is too much to just call it bad luck. So his two goals on Saturday were a huge contribution in the game at hand, but maybe more significantly could prove to be Faulk’s ignition switch offensively.   3) Cam Ward It is hard to pass judgement on his game having only seen part of it,...
Gm34 @Nas: Canes win on opposite day against the Nashville Predators

Gm34 @Nas: Canes win on opposite day against the Nashville Predators

In what follows, I will go on to talk about any number of ways that the Hurricanes played well on Thursday just like I talked about how they played horribly on Tuesday afternoon. But as much as anything, the past two games illustrate the random craziness that is NHL hockey. The Hurricanes went being seemingly incompetent to capable of handily beating a top team on the road in a matter of two days. What even more illustrates the difference is that two games were not as wildly different as a first glance might indicate. No doubt the Hurricanes started better on Thursday, but at the end of the day the difference was a couple bounces and the play of the goalie. That really is it, and the primary causes of a seven-goal swing from down 4-1 early on Tuesday to being up 4-0 early on Thursday. The same hockey gods that cursed Scott Darling on Tuesday made up for it on Tuesday by afflicting Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne with the same curse. Rinne had a couple get by him early that maybe were the ‘shrug and play the next one’ variety of goals, but then he capped it off with an ugly soft goal that saw a puck bounce up off him and into the net as if he was a Little League shortstop facing a bad hop. The Hurricanes did also have a role in the first period surge. On the first goal, Noah Hanifin made a good play to creep closer to the net and at the same time create a passing lane to the front of...