After an impressive series opening win against the New York Rangers on Saturday, the Hurricanes entered Monday’s game mostly looking for a repeat except for maybe trying to take fewer penalties.
Recap of the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 win over the New York Rangers
That general plan did not go so well in the first period. The Hurricanes forecheck was not as dominant early on, but the Hurricanes still struck first when Aho and Svechnikov streaked up the ice together ending with an Aho pass and Svechnikov beating Lundqvist short side for a 1-0 lead. But then the one problem from game 1 crept in, and this time bit the Hurricanes. Consecutive penalties by Haydn Fleury and Sebastian Aho gifted the Rangers an extended 5-on-3 power play goal. Artemi Panarin awoke after a quiet game 1 to score a power play tally to get the Rangers even at 1-1. Jordan Martinook took another first period penalty, but the Hurricanes survived to exit a ‘meh’ first period tied at 1-1. Petr Mrazek was especially good in the first half of the period which was a key factor in staying even early.
Next the Hurricanes erupted for two quick goals to start the second period. First, Svechnikov fired a laser from a ways out on the power play to beat Lundqvist again only 1:11 into the second period. Then only 1:11 later Martinook scored after Morgan Geekie shoveled the puck across the top of the crease to him. Suddenly the Canes were up 3-1. The rest of the second period was not bad, but the Hurricanes seemed to be more cruising and running clock than truly dominated. The Hurricanes carried the 3-1 lead into the third period.
The Hurricanes seemed to refind the intensity level in the third period as evidenced by a 16 to 7 shot advantage despite playing with a lead. Svechnikov scored his third of game late with Aho picking up another assist, and the Canes cruised to a comfortable win.
Player and other notes
1) Andrei Svechnikov
He was obviously the story of the game with his playoff hat trick. He went full sniper cleanly beating Lundqvist on the first two. Thus far, the Canes top players offensively have been significantly better than the Rangers which is a primary reason for the 2-0 series lead.
2) Sebastian Aho
Though Svechnikov will justifiably garner the headlines, I thought Sebastian Aho was as good or better. He had the bad penalty that led to the Rangers 5-on-3 goal, but otherwise his game was close to perfect. He had that jump in his step that is always there when he is playing his best hockey, and he made things happen with the puck on his stick all game. Add in a few solid defensive plays, and Sebastian Aho was one of the stars of the game.
3) Brady Skjei and Joel Edmundson
The blue in line total had another strong game, so there is a lot of credit to go around. But the Skjei/Edmundson pairing stood out the most. Both players were aggressive both offensively and defensively throughout the game. Edmundson logged an uncharacteristically high 22:06 of ice time which was just below Jaccob Slavin. In that time he put a whopping seven shots on net to go with two blocked shots and three hits in a busy day.
4) Petr Mrazek
Petr Mrazek had a strong game in a very understated way. The 4-1 win and only facing 25 shots could make goaltending an afterthought. But Mrazek was sound and solid and made his best saves when the game was very much hanging in the balance still.
5) The fourth line
The fourth line of Martinook/Geekie/McGinn continues to be a bright spot. A great effort by Geekie to the front of the net led to a Martinook goal. Martinook also filled the role of policeman a bit when things got testy in the latter half of the game.
Next up is a fairly quick turnaround with an 8pm start on Tuesday to play for a series win.