Rd1 Gm3 Vs. Was: Canes DOMINATE Caps 5-0 in instant classic in playoff hockey’s return to Raleigh

Rd1 Gm3 Vs. Was: Canes DOMINATE Caps 5-0 in instant classic in playoff hockey’s return to Raleigh

It can be easy to overreact in the moment, but I really think even with time to let it settle that Monday’s dominant 5-0 win over the Washington Capitals will go down in Canes history as one of many great playoff wins. As I said on Twitter shortly after the game ended: Need to let it settle over time but because of 10-year wait, utter domination and atmosphere, I think @NHLCanes 5-0 win over #allcaps is instantly a classic for consideration next time we debate the best playoff games in #Canes history.#TAKEWARNING !!!!!!!!!!! — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) April 16, 2019 The anticipation and build up after a full decade without playoff hockey in itself makes Monday’s win special. Pair that with the manner that the Canes dominated the game that led to a raucous atmosphere throughout, and I think next time we are debating great playoff games in playoff history that this game will hold its own and stand the test of time.   Game recap Few probably remember it now, but the game started fairly evenly. The game was physical and a bit chippy from the outset, and both teams had a couple chances early. The Hurricanes took their first lead of the series and avoided digging a big hole early for the third consecutive game when Warren Foegele won a literal battle for position at the top of the crease and scored an ugly goal that the Hurricanes so desperately needed. Just over a minute later, Andrei Svechnikov and Alexander Ovechkin got into it for the second consecutive game resulting in the pair dropping the gloves....
Rd1 Gm2 @Was: Canes dig early hole, fight back and lose heart breaker to the Caps in OT

Rd1 Gm2 @Was: Canes dig early hole, fight back and lose heart breaker to the Caps in OT

Quick hitters posted shortly after game ended –The Hurricanes looked overwhelmed and disoriented out of the gate, and that more than anything was the difference. The Canes fairly quickly got their feet under them about halfway through the first period, but starting from a 2-0 deficit again is tough sledding against a good hockey team. –How the Hurricanes survived and actually won the second period is surprising and had the potential to be a ‘resiliency’ type turning point somehow playing almost half of the period shorthanded but still netting the period’s only goal. That could have been the series turning point if the Hurricanes could have scored first in the third period and held on. –Winning: The penalty kill did yeoman’s work keeping the team in the game in the second period. Petr Mrazek was phenomenal down the stretch. The forecheck was disruptive at times. –Losing: The Caps best players are still deciding the outcome. In the instances when the Caps did beat the first layer of the forecheck, the Hurricanes were largely a mess trying to defend off the rush or against a secondary attack in their own end.   Game recap Perhaps realizing that they were lucky to escape with a win with only one really good period in the series opener, the Capitals came out on Saturday looking to aggressively attack early. From the opening face-off, the Capitals played fast and aggressive especially in transition. The result was a dicey start for the Hurricanes who looked some combination of overwhelmed and disoriented. Nicklas Backstrom scored his third of the series with another back door tap in...
Rd1 Gm1 @Was: Caps sprint out to lead, ride power play and defeat Canes 4-2

Rd1 Gm1 @Was: Caps sprint out to lead, ride power play and defeat Canes 4-2

With the long layoff which has been unkind to the Hurricanes during the 2018-19 regular season, my game preview started with watching how the Hurricanes would start and if they would be able to dial up their game after the long layoff. At least in terms of pace and intensity, the Hurricanes started on time and were the better team for half of the first period. The volume of quality chances was low, but Jordan Staal and Jaccob Slavin both had good looks from inside the face-off circle. Each missed the net with his chance. The rest of the period was the story of opportunistic scoring by the defending Stanley Cup champions. First, Nicklas Backstrom scored on a fairly harmless looking shot from well out after waltzing over the blue line. The shot was well-placed, but Petr Mrazek also looked a bit frozen. Then the Hurricanes unwisely tested fate by giving the Capitals a couple power play chances. On the first power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov smartly exploited the obvious scouting report on the Capitals power play. From the strong side of the Caps power play setup, Kuznetsov patiently waited out Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce until both leaned too far toward defending a cross ice pass to Alexander Ovechkin. He then zipped a back door pass to Nicklas Backstrom who finished easily into an open net. Next, Ovechkin picked up a loose puck in close with the Hurricanes scrambling around a bit and suddenly the Hurricanes were down 3-0. In terms of dialing up the intensity after the layoff, the Hurricanes did well, but the Hurricanes lost early and...
Gm82 @Phi: Canes finish with 4-3 win over Flyers and chart course to match up versus the Capitals

Gm82 @Phi: Canes finish with 4-3 win over Flyers and chart course to match up versus the Capitals

The best part about watching Saturday’s regular season finale was the casual nature of wanting a win of course but not needing one. Canes fans will of course welcome the return of the nail-biting stress of playoff hockey, but not having to deal with it for the last game of the season was a hockey blessing. Despite the lack of stress, Saturday’s game did still have playoff significance with the Hurricanes playing to avoid a match up with the hockey juggernaut out of Tampa and also with the potential to move up to third in the Metropolitan Division. In the end, the Hurricanes 4-3 win did save the team from facing the Lightning but did not boost them to third in the Metro.   Game recap The game saw the Hurricanes start fast partly courtesy of a struggling Flyers defense that carried over from their previous game. Early on, the Flyers demonstrated a regular tendency to give up grade A scoring chances from between the face-off circles, and the Hurricanes capitalized. First, a Brock McGinn centering pass from behind the net tried to find an open Lucas Wallmark in front of the net. The puck caromed off his skate and found a second Canes player in Warren Foegele who was also unguarded in a prime scoring area. Foegele finished to continue his scoring binge. Two minutes later a similar play netted the Canes second goal when a centering pass to Jordan Martinook instead bounced to Justin Faulk who fired an uncontested shot into the net off the rush. With the Flyers struggling early and the Hurricanes capitalizing, the game...
Gm81 Vs. NJ: CANES CLINCH PLAYOFFS!!! exactly 10 years to the day since clinching a spot in 2009

Gm81 Vs. NJ: CANES CLINCH PLAYOFFS!!! exactly 10 years to the day since clinching a spot in 2009

For this game, I will skip my usual detailed game recap and notes because writing about that would completely miss the point.   A special night in Hurricanes history Ten years to the day since the Carolina Hurricanes last clinched a playoff berth in 2009, the team punched its ticket to the 2019 playoffs on Thursday night at PNC Arena. The game will instantly take its rightful place among the greatest games in Carolina Hurricanes history and hopefully be the first of many for this new era in Hurricanes hockey. The energy in the building and the sheer jubilation as the clock wound down with the Hurricanes winning and the Canadiens losing was truly something special to experience. More than anything, this game is a just and well-deserved reward for a hockey community that deserves it. Justin Faulk has worn a Hurricanes uniform for eight years, has hockey scars to show for it and will finally play in his first NHL playoff game. Jordan Staal arrived here to live  a dream playing winning hockey with his brother. That dream never materialized, and Eric Staal has since departed. But looking forward not backward, Jordan Staal will play his first playoff game since joining the Hurricanes. The group of young guns including Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Warren Foegele, Brock McGinn, Saku Maenalanen and Lucas Wallmark will all see their first NHL playoff action. I am incredibly for the players and staff who have worked so hard for this achievement. The fan base is also so deserving. Whether fans have been commiserating with this team for only the...
Gm80 @Tor: Canes will way to critical 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs and maintain control of playoff destiny

Gm80 @Tor: Canes will way to critical 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs and maintain control of playoff destiny

It is that time of year when all that really matters is the result. The Hurricanes picked up the win that they needed. In doing so, the Canes maintained control of their own playoff destiny and also climbed back ahead of Columbus who lost. I will of course go on the rehash details below, but the results are what matter.   After the loss to the Penguins on Sunday and the diversion to the harder path, the white-knuckler final week of the NHL regular season kicked off for the Hurricanes in Toronto on Tuesday night. The timing was favorable for catching the Maple Leafs who played yesterday and locked in their playoff position. That also meant catching backup goalie Garret Sparks which would factor significantly into the outcome.   Carolina Hurricanes game recap The Hurricanes came out with the pedal down and their hair on fire just as one would hope based on what was on the line. The Hurricanes pace, intensity and compete level was maxed out on the dial from the opening face-off and mostly stayed at that level throughout the game. The edge in terms of pace and intensity showed up fairly quickly in the basic stats. The Hurricanes carried the play and tilted the ice into the offensive zone and gained a shot advantage. The best chance early came when Lucas Wallmark somehow fired off the top of the cross bar from point blank range and looking at half of an open net. The Hurricanes also got a bit sloppy as the first period wore on. A bad Haydn Fleury pinch led to an odd...