Monday night in Raleigh, the Canes lost their fourth in a row and third in a row on home ice (2 were in overtime at least). In consecutive games, the Canes have been beaten by the only 2 teams in the league who are scoring fewer goals per game than they are. With the loss the Hurricanes fell to 6-10-2. The team is now tracking 1 point behind the 2014-15 season pace through 18 games and limping up to the November/December bridge that ended last season way early.
The game itself featured some familiar struggles, some newer struggles and a tiny glimmer of hope. The familiar included a sub-par night from the Canes goalie and inability to finish scoring chances. The newer struggle was the inability to generate much for scoring chances offensively which actually has not been the norm during the November struggles. And the glimmer of hope was of course Noah Hanifin scoring his first NHL goal. When your hockey team is struggling mightily, and it is only mid-November the future is a bitter consolation prize, but we will take what we can to #WeathertheStorm.
A few player and other notes:
Eddie, Cam…it’s all the same
With Lack in net the story was somewhat similar. The Canes were dominant early but not really rewarded for it. Lack had no chance on the first goal that went off Horcoff’s skate and straight in, but the second goal was all too familiar. With a Duck player coming in from the face-off circle, Lack went down early which left an opening right above his shoulder. That is exactly where the shot went. The goal was not a horrible one, but sometimes you have to stop the hard ones too. Lack actually played really well in the third period holding the fort and giving his team a chance to tie it up for 17 minutes in the third period before a relapse to a few weeks ago with a leaky goal off his own stick and through his legs. When it was all said and done, he had given up 3 on a relatively low number of shots and as has been the case lately, the better goalie was in the other net.
A big congratulations to Noah Hanifin notching his first NHL goal on a good shot from the point through a Chris Terry screen and past Anton Khudobin. He had a few challenges here and there, but what stood out to me about his game (past the goal obviously) is that he is starting to get more comfortable playing with the puck on his stick and opening things up a bit.
THAT is the game he played at prospect camp.
THAT is the game he eventually needs to play at the NHL level to be great.
It makes sense that he is going through a pretty big adjustment phase stepping up from college to the NHL, but I hope to see more of that sooner rather than later even if we have to live with a few mistakes.
Tough night for the top pair
Justin Faulk and Ron Hainsey had a tough time of it. The first goal happened when Justin Faulk was beaten to the front part of the net and gave up inside position. The second goal happened when a Duck player walked right around Hainsey at the face-off circle and fired an uncontested blast past Lack. And each of them had another turnover at the blue line to the Getzlaf/Perry duo that luckily did not end up behind Lack.
Still waiting for Skinner to break through
There must be a trail of saw dust exhaust trailing him on the ice by now. He continues to buzz around, find the puck on his stick and get decent chances to score but finish none of them. Today’s biggest was a nice centering pass from Kris Versteeg right between the face-off circles that he whiffed on. I will take ‘getting chances and not finishing’ over ‘not getting chances’ every time, but it is frustrating and a couple Skinner finishes over the past 3 games could make a huge difference right now. If you randomly plunk down 2 Skinner goals in 2 different games from the last 3, the Canes are suddenly 2-1 or 1-0-2 instead of a win-less 0-2-1.
Terry/Rask/Nordstrom to the bottom?
It was interesting that they were the bottom line in terms of ice time despite being on the ice for and playing a big role on the lone Hurricanes goal. Joakim Nordstrom made a nice move skating the puck across the blue line with speed which made enough space for him to turn without having to dump the puck, and he found Hanifin at the blue line. Then the shot went right through the legs of Chris Terry on a screen as he went to the front of the net. They saw only about 5:30 of ice team each after that goal which was only 3 minutes into the second period, so basically their ice time slowed significantly AFTER being on the ice for a goal (and contributing to it) which seems odd.
Up next is 3 days off to try to right the ship before home games next weekend against upstart Toronto (Friday) and Los Angeles (Sunday).