Gm56 @Dal: Minus another late miracle Canes stumble to 4-1 loss versus Stars

Gm56 @Dal: Minus another late miracle Canes stumble to 4-1 loss versus Stars

Once again, the Hurricanes struggled during the front part of the game and entered the third period needing a minor miracle to collect a point or two in the standings. But this time the hockey gods looked down and gave the Hurricanes the loss they deserved on a night with much more bad than good. My math says that for the four-game road trip, they played three good periods (2nd and 3rd against Arizona and 3rd against Vegas) and one decent (3rd against Dallas) period out of 12 periods. As such, the team was fortunate to collect a split and four out of a possible eight points after generally being outplayed for large chunks of all four games. In that regard, the road trip was maybe not a success but was not bad either. But the concern continues to be the team’s inability to find a higher gear on any kind of consistent basis. On Tuesday in Dallas, the Hurricanes started slow again. Dallas had seven of the game’s first eight shots while the Hurricanes were collecting three icings and otherwise just generally chipping pucks out to relieve pressure and prepare to defend again. Dallas was rewarded for controlling play when all three Canes forwards got tangled up and fell in the offensive zone. The result was a rush the other way that saw a back door pass go right through Jake Gardiner leaving with Petr Mrazek with no chance on the goal. The Hurricanes found some life when an Andrei Svechnikov pass accidentally hit Sebastian Aho in the skate and landed close enough to his wheel house for...
Gm55 @Veg: Canes defy the odds and win a thriller 6-5 in the shootout over Vegas

Gm55 @Veg: Canes defy the odds and win a thriller 6-5 in the shootout over Vegas

Earlier this week, I penned an article saying that the Canes would need to find a higher gear mostly meaning more sound play if they were to push up into the playoffs again. Then in both my game recap from Thursday and also my game preview for Saturday, I suggested that Thursday’s fun win was not all it was cracked up to be because of continued issues with quality of play. And in the process, I led perfectly into the messy game that the Hurricanes played on Saturday and lost for 40 or more minutes. But then the 2019-20 Carolina rose up defiantly and stormed back for a wild win. The game was exactly the opposite of what I continue to think the team ultimately needs to do to finish this season successfully. And it was an extreme version of the seemingly imperfect model for the 2019-20 team that has many times out-run or out-gunned any number of mistakes on the way to a win. I guess at some point, I need to at least consider the possibility that maybe this team is just completely different than the 2018-19 team but with a chance to be successful nonetheless. I am spent and do not have it in me to write a detailed recap, but let me try a few bullet points… Vegas was the better team early and pretty much throughout the first two periods. Breakdowns and errors again cost the Canes. Aho missed covered and his man scored from between the circles. Slavin failed to clear a puck when he got his stick whacked and then was soft...
Gm54 @Ari: Canes rebound with much-needed 5-3 win over Arizona

Gm54 @Ari: Canes rebound with much-needed 5-3 win over Arizona

In Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe, I wrote about Andrei Svechnikov: But at the point where Svechnikov is not boosting scoring for Staal’s line, I think it is time to redeployed to maximize his scoring. If the slot that Svechnikov holds right now is going to be light on scoring, there are plenty of other options. Though I do think it makes the Canes offense a bit top-heavy, I think timing could be right to put Svechnikov with Aho. Aho seems to be finding a higher gear, and Svechnikov could get a boost in terms of scoring chances by playing with him right now. Svechnikov had a pretty goal on Sunday to start February strong, but he scored only two goals in eleven games in January. Perhaps timing is right to try to maximize what he can bring offensively.   And in that same article, I wrote about James Reimer: With another win on Sunday, James Reimer continues to play well in net. Could that coupled with four straight road games see him become the Canes starting netminder? Brind’Amour will not make any formal announcement on such a shift, and both goalies will continue to play anyway. But thus far in 2019-20, Reimer has taken a heavier share of the road games and has outperformed Mrazek in those games. Reimer is 8-4-0 on the road with a 2.54 goals against average and .919 save percentage. Mrazek is 4-6-2 with a 3.00 goals against average and .897 save percentage. If Brind’Amour is going to lean a bit more in Reimer’s direction, timing could be now. Again, this is not suggesting...
Gm53 @StL: Canes fail to measure up against the champs in 6-3 loss to Blues

Gm53 @StL: Canes fail to measure up against the champs in 6-3 loss to Blues

My initial reaction on Twitter following the Canes 6-3 loss to the blues was: At time of year when good teams tighten things up and round into form, @Canes are 1 out of 3 since the break in playing decent or better hockey games. Need to find a higher gear and level of consistency. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) February 5, 2020 After a strong effort and a win on Sunday, the Carolina Hurricanes were drubbed handily by the Blues on Tuesday. While there is an element of remembering that it only counts as a single loss and looking for a rebound in the next game, the number of teams playing well in the Metropolitan Division right now suggest that the teams that do emerge from the regular season and make the playoffs will be teams that can find a consistent run. As of right now, that is proving elusive for the Hurricanes. The Blues starter faster and were rewarded with the first goal when the Hurricanes were caught running around in their own end and Martin Necas left Sammy Blais alone in front of the net where he finished a rebound to put the Blues up 1-0. The defensive break down was on Necas, but Petr Mrazek offered no help leaving a rebound there for e Blues player all alone. The Hurricanes would find their footing just before the midway point of the first period and survive the slow start with only a 1-0 deficit after a period. But the second period was a train wreck for the Hurricanes. First, St. Louis scored when Petr Mrazek overplayed the...
Gm52 Vs. Van: Canes launch post break and pick up hard-fought 4-3 shootout win over Canucks

Gm52 Vs. Van: Canes launch post break and pick up hard-fought 4-3 shootout win over Canucks

After a failure to launch in the first game after the break on Friday and a 4-3 loss largely because of that issue, the Hurricanes fared better in a second attempt on Sunday. The Hurricanes were not tremendous out of the gate, but against a fast team, the pace and compete level was there at least. Vancouver had the edge early, but the Canes were at least in the game and pushing back. Vancouver scored first when a shot into traffic deflected to a Vancouver stick at the same time that goalie James Reimer was unable to find the puck. The result was a quick shot by young phenom Elias Pettersson into a large opening as Reimer tried to find the puck and recover. The Hurricanes played better as the period wore on but had to survive a couple power play chances against to get out of the first period with only the 1-0 deficit. The Hurricanes would find a higher gear to start the second period. For the first time in five periods since the break, the Hurricanes had the upper hand for an extended stretch to start the second period. The team was rewarded with two goals. Nino Niederreiter scored when a deflected puck found him, and he whirled and fired for a goal. And Sebastian Aho retrieved a shot that was deflected in front and quickly deposited it into the net. The Canes suddenly had their first lead since the break. But Vancouver struck back when the Canes were a bit disoriented in their own end. That goal tied the game at 2-2 which is how...
Gm51 Vs. Veg: Failure to find start button costs Canes in disappointing 4-3 loss to the Golden Knights

Gm51 Vs. Veg: Failure to find start button costs Canes in disappointing 4-3 loss to the Golden Knights

My game preview for Friday’s match up between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights offered this foreboding comment: The NHL did a smart thing pairing teams both coming off bye weeks for their first few games to even things up, but these first games back can still have a randomness to them in terms of which team is most ready to and looks rested instead of rusty. The randomness dished out a Carolina Hurricanes team that looked nowhere close to ready for more than a leisurely skate and a Vegas Golden Knights team that looked it was shot out of a cannon coming out of the break. The first period was utterly dominated by Vegas. The Hurricanes were a step or even two or three slow to any loose pucks, were sloppy trying to move the puck and then struggled defending under duress when the first two issues resulted in Vegas puck possession dominance. The result was an early goal as Paul Stastny’s line skated circles around Ryan Dzingel and Jake Gardiner on the way to a pretty passing goal. Next, that line struck again when the Canes were caught in a bad line change. The result was a Jonathan Marchessault snipe that beat Petr Mrazek short side. Vegas continued its dominance over a sleep Canes squad with a post, a few more near misses and a couple great Mrazek saves. Had this been a fight, it would have been stopped before the end of the first period. But in hockey, you play on no matter what. That, combined with a few good Mrazek saves saw the...