Today is a day to ever so briefly revel in what the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes just accomplished before turning to what is next (will have first look at Isles series up no later than Thursday night). To pull off a win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in a war of a seven-game series requires contributions from everyone. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe dishes out well-deserved credit for the Canes series win.
Calling it like it is, he did not have a great series in total, but when the chips were down and it was a handshake game for certain, Sebastian Aho had his best game of the series. Twice he made plays to get the Hurricanes back into the game first scoring a shorthanded goal to get the Hurricanes on the board and a 2-1 deficit. Then he made a smart play that enabled Teravainen’s goal late in the second period to against pull the Canes to within a goal at 3-2.
When a team calls up an AHL player for an NHL playoff game, it is not looking for that player to win a game. Rather, the team just wants a player who will not lose a game. As a veteran AHLer with NHL experience, Brown brought exactly that playing sound even if unspectacular hockey. As such, he did his job in securing the win.
Calvin de Haan
De Haan gave the Hurricanes the blue line depth it needed to compete in the series. After a late-season layoff with an injury, de Haan had about 10 minutes of ice time in getting up to speed in his first game back then impressively went from there straight back to his regular minutes. Especially in game 7, he provided the depth necessary to avoid completing running the defensemen into the ground.
During a tough series, Faulk brought another big body who could take a hit if necessary. He was physical at the blue line in every game which contributed to the Hurricanes puck possession.
When the series was tracking toward Capitals domination, Warren Foegele more than any other player rose up and helped chart a different course with his two goals in game 3 that propelled the Hurricanes to a win and a turning point in the series.
Hamilton was front and center when the Hurricanes had a scoring outburst in game 3. His two power play goals played a big role in making that game a blow out.
I really like his play along with fourth-line center Greg McKegg’s in the second half of the series. One iconic image of the series was Maenalanen just turning and looking at Ovechkin and skating with him as he imploded after the slashing penalty. Past that, he was physical and competitive in the last couple games of the series.
Martinook’s biggest contribution was simply his presence in the lineup for games 6 and 7. He is obviously ailing, so showing up and still playing his hard-skating physical game sets an example and makes it such that everyone else must step up and do the same.
As the only player who did not play in the series, McElhinney did not have an on-ice role in the first-round series, but I really, really like his cool and calm demeanor as being perfect if the Hurricanes need to reach to him in a later round.
Especially with Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook missing games due to injury, McGinn was a leader all series in terms of dialing up the forecheck and matching the Capitals intensity and physicality. He had already contribute significantly before game 7, and then he added saving a goal and scoring an overtime game-winner to put his series over the top.
Because of lack of production, one might assume that McKegg did not contribute in the series. That is not accurate. McKegg was aggressive and fast on the forecheck especially later in the series. With AHL reinforcements in tow in the middle part of the series, the ability for Brind’Amour to go to and count on McKegg was critical to spreading minutes out among a depleted forward group.
His basic statistics from the series are not great, but he picked up four wins which is what the goal is anyway. His battling for every puck intensity made it such that the team in front of him knew they could trust him through the ups and downs of a long series.
As a top 4 defensemen, he like the others spent the entire series in the cross hairs of Alexander Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and anyone else on the Capitals who wanted to bang bodies. Pesce especially seemed to get into it with Wilson without going too far and was always ready to take a hit to make a play.
Calling it like it is, Niederreiter never got going offensively. He did play a role as another big body to put up some resistance to the Caps trying to win the series on physicality alone.
In my opinion, he was the Hurricanes best forward in the second half of the series. He brought heavy, rugged and physical when the Hurricanes needed it and scored two huge goals along the way. His pretty bar in snipe to tie game seven was every bit a goal scorer’s goal.
Obviously, he would not do it again given the outcome, but I really think that Svechnikov’s fight with Ovechkin was a turning point in the series. The Hurricanes were dominant in game 3 from when that fight started. As a close group, it is not a stretch to figure that the team rallied around Svechnikov a bit just like the 2001 Carolina Hurricanes rallied as a group when Ron Francis and Shane Willis were knocked out of the series with concussions.
His play kept getting better as the series wore on. He had a huge game-winner in game 4, and he scored another huge goal to get the Hurricanes within a goal on Wednesday. If I had to pick a best forward for the second half of the series, I would go with Staal, but Teravainen would also garner legitimate consideration.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Van Riemsdyk’s contribution to this series was steady play throughout the series. He was steady and solid all series even when his pairing was caught on the ice against the Capitals’ top scorers.
Stepping onto a bigger stage for the playoffs in his rookie season, Wallmark performed admirably holding his own defensively even if not generating a ton of offense. In the playoffs center depth is critical, and Wallmark, along with McKegg gave the Canes the balance that they needed.
His biggest impact on this series starts long ago and continues off the ice. Williams deserves a huge amount of credit for helping this team adjust its mindset and mentality. The team’s resilience and the way it plays with an expectation to win is largely a credit to the transformation that Williams led.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What accolades did I miss?
2) Which three of four players do you think most impacted the outcome of the series?