After an okay start, the Hurricanes were given a huge opportunity to stake Eddie Lack to his first lead of the season when Nate Thompson hit Justin Faulk high and received a 5-minute major penalty for elbowing. When a combination of a couple good John Gibson saves, a 2-minute minor to Eric Staal in the middle and a couple near misses allowed the long power play to elapse without a goal, the game had an ominous feeling. But soon thereafter Ron Hainsey made a nice pass to spring Jeff Skinner on the rush who continued his finishing ways of late.
The Skinner goal was the start of another offensive surge that saw Jeff Skinner put up a hat trick, the power play score again, Justin Faulk pick up 2 points and the Canes win going away 5-1.
My ‘what I’m watching’ from earlier today was pretty good. I called out Eddie Lack who had to fight for it but also has to be given credit for giving up only 1 goal in a win. I also continued to beat the drum on watching the young D grow. As Tripp pointed out on the telecast, Brett Pesce had an especially strong game, but Hanifin/Slavin was also good. Finally, I asked if the recent scoring upswing was a random blip or the start of a trend and specifically called out Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner. Jeff Skinner’s hat trick gives him 6 goals in 4 games. Here is hoping he can stay hot , go on a run and carry the offense forward.
A few player and other notes:
I actually thought he was fighting the puck early on Friday. He had nothing for rebound control in the first period and spit out some rebounds later too. Also early, he seemed to be having all kinds of trouble tracking the puck on deflections, screens and misses. But he was pretty good on first saves. He got help on rebounds. He had a little bit of good fortune with a post, a Justin Faulk clear from the crease and some near misses. He hung in there early and got better as the game wore on. He played his best hockey as a Hurricane in the third period when the Canes were up 3-0 and Anaheim mounted its big push to get back into it. Despite not being the cleanest of games from end to end, when you can get 1 goal against and a win, you obviously take it. This is especially true with how much the Canes netminding duo has been struggling of late. With the back-to-back, it would not be outlandish to see Ward play Saturday (personally I would go right back to Lack) but if Lack does not play Tuesday, I will be baffled.
Suddenly with 6 goals in 4 games, it sure feels like 1 of those Jeff Skinner scoring surges that can carry the team for 2 weeks. Here is hoping that is what it is.
The Lindholm goal for Eric Staal’s line came on the power play, but the team did get at least 1 goal from each of its top 3 lines. I don’t have time at this late hour, but it would be interesting to check how many times that has happened this season.
He was real good playing a bunch of minutes against a pretty good group of NHL forwards. Good for him also picking up a scoring point on an assist late.
Phil Di Giuseppe
What I like most about his game so far is his mobility and how engages the puck whenever given the opportunity. Unlike a few recent failed attempts by AHL scorers, this gives him the ability to make an impact even on shifts when a scoring chance does not find him. So far so good in terms of him looking like a player who could stick at the NHL or return soon if he finds his way back to the AHL.
He somewhat quietly had a solid game. He sprung Skinner with a nice forward pass for the all-important first goal, was good defensively and even stepped up to fight Ryan Getzlaf when he was frustrated with the Canes laying the lumber to his team.
Next up is a quick turnaround and a game Saturday night in Arizona.