Chronological Blog List

Rd2 Gm5 Vs. NYR: Canes continue road mastery with 3-1 win over Rangers and push series to potential elimination game

The home versus road roller coaster continued for the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night back at PNC Arena in Raleigh. As much as the two losses in New York suggested that the Canes have issues playing away from home, Thursday reinforced the fact that the opposite is true at home. The Hurricanes started the game playing even or better in terms of puck possession and offensive zone time. But an unnecessary offensive zone penalty by Andrei Svechnikov nearly midway through the first period had the potential to derail a good start. But after a strong penalty kill, things got even better in the waning seconds of the penalty kill when Jordan Staal and Vincent Trocheck hopped out to a 2-on-1 rush while shorthanded. Staal fed Trocheck who skillfully managed to finish a pass on a bounce to give the Canes a 1-0 lead. But another unnecessary penalty by Ian Cole in the neutral zone gave the Rangers a second chance on the power play. (No doubt Trouba flopped dramatically, but Cole offering even a small crosscheck took an unnecessary risk that cost the Canes.) Shortly into the power play Mika Zibanejad ripped a shot by Raanta to tie the game at 1-1. The Canes maybe deserved better in the first period, but Shesterkin made a couple great saves and the special teams deficit evened the game. But the Canes level of play ramped as the game went on. The second period was easily one of the team’s best of the playoffs. The Canes netted only a single goal on a Teuvo Teravainen power play snipe on a Seth Jarvis...

Random thoughts heading into game 5 of the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Rangers

At this point, we all know the drill about the home/away matchup game. Back in Raleigh on Thursday, Brind’Amour is right back to matching Niederreiter/Staal/Fast against the Rangers top scoring line which figures to include Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Artemi Panarin figures to still be on another line to get him away from Staal’s line and balance the Rangers scoring leaders on the road. So I will skip another rundown of what we have been seeing for awhile now and instead offer a collection of random thoughts heading into game 5…   1) Will the Rangers open things up a bit more in Raleigh It will be interesting to see if the Rangers open things up a bit more in Raleigh (if not losing and trying to play catch up). In the first two games, the Rangers played a very conservative brand of hockey. I think they mostly got the results they wanted in terms of staying in the game, hoping their goalie was as good or better and looking for that one bounce or goal steal a road win. The plan worked well except yielding that one more goal to win a game. With the ability to dictate match ups more at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers opened things up a bit more and benefited. So for game 5, does Gallant go by the results (two wins in New York) from a bit more open game? Or does he revert back to the same road hockey that got his team close but did not yield results in game 1 and 2?   2) Whoever scores first in...

Rd2 Gm4 @NYR: Canes drubbed 4-1 by Rangers in fifth straight playoff road loss

Whereas Sunday’s loss had a decent number of redeeming qualities and even a reasonable case that the Canes deserved a win, that was not so much the case on Tuesday. The Rangers were the better team from the outset, and deservedly, the Canes were never really in the game once the Rangers got going. The Canes took two penalties in the first period. The first sapped any possible early momentum as the Canes penalty killers were under siege for the entirety of two minutes trapped in their own end. They survived that first power play against, but the hockey gods stepped in on the second Rangers power play that yielded another pass right through the seam and a quick snipe for a goal. The first period in general had pace both ways just like Sunday’s game, but the Rangers had the better of the higher quality chances against a Canes team that can be pushed too easily to the perimeter of late. When Adam Fox scored on a deflection late in the first period, the Rangers were officially off to the races with a 2-0 lead that would hold until the first intermission. The Canes pushed a bit in the second period, but the combination of not generating many high-end chances and Shesterkin being on top of his game held the Canes scoreless until Mika Zibanejad managed to find a hole through Raanta on a blast off the rush to make it 3-0. The Canes did finally crack the scoreboard early in the third period on a pretty pass in front to Teuvo Teravainen who finished. But the Canes...

What does it take for the Carolina Hurricanes to win on the road?

An important starting point is to note that the Canes 3-1 loss (which included an empty-netter) to the Rangers on Sunday was not the same as the three losses in Boston. The Canes losses in Boston were characterized by sloppy efforts where they mostly deserved what they got. Against the Bruins, the Canes had consecutive efforts in which they had to try to kill nine penalties, were sloppy in terms of puck management and coverage and were just generally outplayed. The loss to the Rangers saw the Canes generate 44 shots on goal and another 31 that were either blocked or missed the net and gave up only three power plays. At a quality of play level, the Canes were very much in the game Wednesday, could have won an even or better game with a bounce or two and arguably deserved it. So an important starting point is recognizing that the Canes level of play on Wednesday is at least in the neighborhood of what will be needed to break through with a road playoff win. That said, the half-empty version of Sunday’s loss is that it did feature a couple key recurring problems from all of the road losses: 1) The Canes lost the special teams battle. Despite giving up only three power plays, the Canes were minus one goal on special teams. The power play struggled again, while the Rangers scored a single power play goal. 2) The opponents’ top scorers outscored the Canes top scoring line. As has been the general trend, the Aho, Svechnikov and Jarvis were unable to crack the scoreboard while Zibanejad...

Rd2 Gm3 @NYR: Canes road playoff woes continue in 3-1 loss to the Rangers

Though the result was the same and some of the road issues reappeared, the Canes 3-1 loss on Sunday was enough different from the game 3 loss to the Bruins to inspire hope. More on that below. First from a half-empty perspective, the Canes did lose game 3 on the road and familiar issues reappeared. The Canes lost the special teams battle by a goal. After actually being better at times in the past couple games without much for results, the Canes power play mostly struggled on Sunday with the worst being the most important chance with six minutes remaining and down a goal. The silver lining was the Canes first power play that saw Svechnikov miss just off the outside of the post and then also feed Nino Niederreiter in front for a grade A deflection chance. But different from the Boston struggles, the Canes gave up only three power play chances which is reasonable. Also like the road struggles in Boston, much of it stemmed from the change in match ups. In Boston Marchand/Bergeron/Pastrnak exploded for 16 points in the first two games in Boston in the first round. On Sunday, the outburst was more controlled but still the difference. Mika Zibanejad was the best player on the ice and easily could have had four or five points. He finished with only two but also set up at least three other good scoring chances. Fellow first-liner Chris Kreider scored the other goal (not counting the empty-netter). Also like in Boston, Aho’s line which spent much of the game playing against Zibanejad was held to nothing on the...

Rd2 Gm2 Vs. NYR: Canes stymie Rangers and claim narrow 2-0 win to increase series lead to 2-0

Led primarily by offense from the third defense pairing, the Carolina Hurricanes seized a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers after the first pair of games on home ice. Had a made a list of the top 500 story lines coming out of game 2, this would not have made the cut. And that unpredictability is part of what makes playoff hockey intriguing and (when your team is winning) fun. The game actually played out somewhat similar to the first game. The Canes against struggled with puck management in the first period, and it came very close to costing them on multiple occasions. Though the Canes outshot the Rangers 8 to 5, the Rangers had the better of the dangerous chances or near chances. In desperation mode on a couple occasions, the Canes had key blocked shots to keep the puck out of their net and finished the first period with 11 total blocked shots. Also a bit like the game 1 win, the Canes were somewhat better but still not really dominant in the second period. A tight-checking, low offensive event second period seemed to take a turn for the worse when Brady Skjei took a double minor for high-sticking. The Canes killed off the front part of the Rangers power play and then did even better when Sebastian Aho capitalized when a Rangers defender played a shorthanded rush like a 2-on-2 when in fact Brendan Smith was behind the second Rangers defender. Smith received the pass and deftly finished in along to take a 1-0 lead and seize momentum. The Canes had a chance to...

Rd2 Gm1 Vs. NYR: Canes ride one good period and Ian Cole’s overtime heroics to 2-1 win

Brief recap of the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 overtime win over the New York Rangers The series opener against the New York Rangers on Wednesday actually started a bit the same as the Boston Bruins series. The Canes were slow out of the gate, a bit sloppy and were generally outplayed from the outset. The result was a first period that was sluggish, sloppy and at times treacherous. The Rangers scored first on a 3-on-1 rush after a bad puck management turnover by Tony DeAngelo that saw him feed a pass right to LaFreniere for a rush against. When Jaccob Slavin as unable to recover quickly enough to take away a cross-ice pass on the 3-on-1 that ensued, Antti Raanta had no chance. In a horrid first period, DeAngelo also got caught watching as a Ranger skated right by him to between the face-off circles for another point blank chance. DeAngelo might have struggled the most, but the rest of the team was not better. Raanta had at least three spectacular first period saves to keep the Canes in it. The Canes could easily have been down 3-0 without Raanta having a bad period. It was that bad. Taking baby steps in the second period, the Canes at least cleaned up the big messes, but the game was still sluggish and any kind of cohesion or scoring chances were nowhere to be found. Through two periods the Canes registered only 14 shots on net to the Rangers 23, and the only thing I can remember that was even a medium grade scoring chance was a pass across to Martin Necas...

Series Preview for Carolina Hurricanes versus New York Rangers

After a couple days to rest and recharge (I am talking about the screaming Canes fans not the players :-)), the Hurricanes start anew in round 2 at PNC Arena on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers. Below is my preview for the series.   How they got here New York Rangers Like the Canes, the Rangers needed all of 7 games and even a little bit extra in overtime to emerge victorious over the Pittsburgh Penguins and gain entry to the second round of the NHL playoffs. The New York Rangers also required a couple lucky bounces if you will. When #2 goalie Casey DeSmith exited in overtime in game 1, the Penguins were pushed to play the vast majority of the series with their #3 goalie. Even still, the Penguins ran out to a 2-0 lead at the midway point of a potentially series clinching game 5. Then the Pens captain and best player Sidney Crosby was felled by a questionable high hit, changing the path for the entire series. Minus the Pens top 2 goals and then minus Crosby, the Rangers finally found their footing and were at least able to play even. Shortly after Crosby’s departure, the Rangers scored three straight and went on the steal game 5 and then also eke out a 5-3 win in game 6 in Pittsburgh. That set the stage for an overtime win to win the series in 7 games. Any kind of win in the playoffs count. Bounces, breaks, injuries and whatever else comes in a meandering series is always part of it. That said, I think...

Five causes for concern/areas for improvement coming out of series win over the Boston Bruins

In yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe, I offered five positives from the Canes first round win over the Boston Bruins. If you missed it, you can find that HERE. And to be clear, the series was a net positive. ANY kind of series win is a positive with minimal bonus points for being impressive other than spending a bit less energy overcoming adversity and sometimes getting a couple extra days to rest, heal and be ready to go again. That said, winning another three rounds will require the Hurricanes to find a higher gear just like it will for the other eight teams remaining in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. In that vein, today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at areas of concern and possible improvement coming out of the first round series victory.   Areas for concern/improvement (not in particular order)   1) Andrei Svechnikov Though they could be considered more as a duo if Brind’Amour keeps them together to start the second round, I will include the Canes top regular season scorers, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, separately here. Though each had some moments neither was overall good in the series. On Svechnikov, he did not score a non empty-net point until game 6 (his first goal and first assist came on empty-netters when the first two games were already decided). He also logged a late power play goal in game 6 when the Canes were down four goals, and the game was already decided. That leaves him with a single goal in game 6 and no assists for scoring points in the series. There is a positive...

Five positives from first round win over the Boston Bruins

With a back and forth series that went seven games, the Canes received an early dose of the rollercoaster ride that the NHL playoffs can be. The series was an odd one in that though it went the full seven games, it really was not a close series on a game by game basis. It took a goal with 21 seconds to go in game 7 to yield the only game decided by a single goal. For the most part, the team able to dictate match ups on home ice was the better team. Those very binary results depending largely on match ups play into today’s Daily Cup of Joe which looks at positives and negatives from the first round series win.   Positives (not in a particular order) 1) Seth Jarvis He really impressed me. Though he was caught up in some of the struggles on the road trying to match up against the Bruins top line, what stood out most about his game was his willingness to consistently due the hard things not necessarily core to his strengths when the nastiness and physicality increased. Other Canes skill forwards could learn a lesson from Jarvis’ willingness to go to the top of the crease. He had a huge game 5 with two goals, and all three of his goals came from playing hockey between the face-off circles. Equally importantly, he fought for pucks on walls and took hits to make plays when needed. As skilled scoring type, a rookie and a player who lists as 5 foot 10 inches and 175 pounds, he very much fits that category...

Rd1 Gm7 Vs. Bos: Max Domi climbs into Canes playoff lore with 2 goals in workmanlike 3-2 win

If one took a poll of Canes players likely to be the biggest difference-makers in a game 7 win, Max Domi would not have been among the top choices. But that is part of the fun of NHL playoff hockey and here we are. Max Domi started his historic night when he received a heady Jaccob Slavin pass at the side of the and quickly threaded the needle to find Teuvo Teravainen in front who made no mistake finishing. The second period then finished with the Hurricanes gaining a double-minor power play with a minute to go in the first period. The Hurricanes power play actually had a much better night but was unable to find the back of the net. started the Canes on the path to victory scoring late in a first period that was pretty even and mostly minus a ton of grade A chances. Despite a better looking power play, the lack of results had the potential to shift momentum to the Bruins’ favor. But Max Domi was on the scene again scoring only seconds after the second half of the power play ended with a nifty play somehow controlling a bouncing deflection behind the end line, quickly moving it to his backhand on the other side of the end line and finishing before anyone knew what happened. The play started with the work boots winning a puck on the boards, getting the puck to the point and quickly going to the net, but the finish required a ton of skill. Before the Canes could even settle into defending a two-goal lead, Jake DeBrusk scored...

Does Bruce Cassidy try chaos mode for game 7? If he does, what is the result?

So if we just continue down the current path, Brind’Amour will again flip the match ups to get Staal playing against Bergeron’s line which has always included Marchand and at times included Pastrnak who has logged more ice time on the second line in the games in Raleigh. And if you are a Canes fan, the hope is very predictable results that match the first three games in Raleigh. Thus far, Staal’s line has won that match up most significantly by keeping Bergeron’s line for loading the score sheet like they have in Boston and even scoring a bit on their own. The result has been three home wins, none of which were by less than two goals. But here’s the thing…Will Bruins bench boss try a fourth time to go back to that well just hoping his guys can play better maybe with minor tactical adjustments to help? Or instead will he try to upset the apple cart? I actually advocated for Brind’Amour to move Teravainen to Aho’s line in game 6 in Boston to see if the Aho/Teravainen chemistry could provide a spark and also if adding Teravainen to the top line could help short it up a bit defensively. Brind’Amour instead tried a third time with the same formula and got the same result for the third time with Aho having a tough night and being on the ice for four of the five goals against. It might not be right out of the gate, but I actually think Cassidy could go chaos mode with lines to see if he can get away from the current...

Rd1 Gm6 @Bos: Canes fall 5-2 in Boston forcing game 7 on Saturday at PNC Arena

Like every other game in the series, there was very little drama or suspense in the waning moments of Thursday’s game. Even with a late power play goal by Andrei Svechnikov, the Hurricanes were down three goals late making the ending unexciting. But despite the lopsided score, a different path seemed possible before things turned late in the second period just like in game 4. With the Hurricanes trailing 1-0 near the midway point, the Canes failed to score with a 54-second 5-on-3 power play and then managed to hit not one but two cross bars on another power play shortly thereafter. When the Bruins then scored next late in the second period to make it 2-0, the series seemed destined for a game 7 which it ultimately was. Per my game preview and coverage of the entire series, one has to like the Canes’ chances in a game 7 at home. First and foremost, with the ability to dictate match ups which means Staal’s line against Bergeron’s line most of the game, the Canes have been the better team. Less significantly but fun is the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes are a perfect 5-0 in game 7s since moving to North Carolina. In the 2006 Stanley Cup run, the Hurricanes beat the Sabres and Oilers in home game 7s. Since then the team has won three consecutive road game 7s with spectacular wins over the Devils and Bruins in 2009 and over the Capitals in 2019.   Player and other notes 1) More of the same though not as extreme Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak were not as dominant...

What does it take for Canes to take series in game 6 in Boston?

Through 5 games of the series between the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins, the home team is a perfect 5 out of 5. In addition, though a couple of those games have been closer than the final scores would indicate, none of those games were decided by less than two goals. That would suggest tough sledding for the Canes in game 6 in Boston on Thursday night but also a good chance to win game 7 at home on Saturday. But what would it take for the Hurricanes to buck the trend, win in Boston on Thursday and take the series in six games? I think it is a combination of three things:   1) Aho’s line needs to have a strong game Aho’s line has been reasonably productive at home, but in the two games in Boston, they were held completely off the score sheet. When coupled with a decent amount of head to head play against Bergeron’s line and their massive scoring outburst, the deficit there was nearly impossible to overcome. Svechnikov has been engaged physically. He has matured greatly in terms of taking bad penalties out of frustration or trying to do too much when the scoring is not there. But if he has a scoring outburst in him, that could be the difference in game 6. But more broadly, Aho’s line needs to at least hold its own in Boston.   2) A cleaner game Maybe even more significant than match ups, the Hurricanes were sloppy in the two games in Boston measured largely in penalties take but also in terms of coverage errors/attention to...

Rd1 Gm5 Vs. Bos: Canes ride Staal’s shutdown line to 5-1 win

Two losses in Boston raised some doubts after consecutive wins at home, but back home at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes picked up where they left off with a 5-1 win. The formula was a familiar one with Jordan Staal’s line tasked with shutting down Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak. With that as a starting point, the Hurricanes opened up an early lead, extended it and were never really challenged in the 5-1 win. Defense partners Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo scored in the first period to stake the Canes to an early lead. And Seth Jarvis made a habit of hanging out where goals happen right at the top of the crease and was rewarded for it with two goals even if one was a lucky carom on a puck he was trying to pass out to the point. Vincent Trocheck finished the scoring with an empty-netter. The Bruins did not crack the scoreboard until the midway point of the third period and when the Canes already had four, so the game was never really in doubt once the Canes got going.   Player and other notes 1) Seth Jarvis For an 20-year old skill player who is 5 foot 10 and 175 pounds, Seth Jarvis did yeoman’s work as a lunch pailer paying the price and fighting for real estate at the top of the crease and was rewarded for his effort to the tune of two goals. Some of the other Canes forwards could learn from Jarvis’ success in the grind of playoff hockey. It is not about size or strength; it is about willingness, determination and commitment....
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