Recap from Hurricanes 1-0 win of the San Jose Sharks
For the second consecutive game, the Hurricanes faced a top tier team and outplayed them. And with Tuesday’s effort and win against the San Jose Sharks, the Hurricanes have their first first winning streak of the season. The win also pulls the team to 5-6-4 and sets up a chance for the Hurricanes to be break even for the first time since starting 1-1-2.
Whereas one could argue that the Hurricanes caught a break scheduling-wise on Saturday catching the Capitals after they played and traveled from Chicago the night before, Tuesday was theoretically a match up between 2 rested teams. The Hurricanes started reasonably strong and got better as the game wore on. Cam Ward covered up a few loose plays early in a first period that saw end to end action. The first period featured a narrow 13-12 advantage for the Hurricanes in terms of shots on goal, and a 0-0 score. The second period was also scoreless but saw the Hurricanes pull ahead and outplay San Jose but still finish knotted at 0-0. Joakim Nordstrom finally broke the scoreless tie when he scored on his own rebound to make it 1-0 near the midway point of the third period. The Hurricanes held on to make the 1 goal stand up for a victory. Like Saturday’s game, Ward’s workload was moderate, but he was perfect on a night when that is what it took to win in regulation. Despite not scoring, the Aho/Staal/Teravainen line looked incredibly good and was flat out dominant at times including a monstrous 2+ minute shift in the offensive zone in the first period and a collective 11 shots on goal. The defense had a few minor break downs early but was pretty solid as the game wore on.
‘What I’m watching’ check in
If you missed the game preview and want to read it in total, you can find it HERE.
1) The second level at forward
As noted above, Aho/Staal/Teravainen were phenomenal despite not scoring.
Two things are most encouraging to me. First, I think the formula for why they have been successful makes sense and is therefore less likely to just be a random good night. Jordan Staal is very good at winning pucks via face-off, board battles, loose puck races or whatever. He is also very good at getting the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone with possession. That puts Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen in position to be dangerous.
Second is that despite the mix of small but skilled in Aho and Tervainen and power forward with Staal they are quickly developing a knack for keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Both Aho and Teravainen have demonstrated an ability to protect and keep the puck via skating and shiftiness.
This continues to be a huge development pushing the Canes up to 2 forward lines.
2) The second (and third) level on defense
The Hurricanes had a few issues in the first period. The Hanifin/Tennyson had communication issues twice in the first period both times leading to Sharks players taking the puck straight to the net. Hanifin thwarted the first attempt by taking a hooking penalty, and Cam Ward had the answer on the second attempt. But the defense in general settled down and kept chances to a minimum. Hainsey/Faulk played a sounder game than we have seen in other games this season, and Slavin/Pesce played well against another elite scoring line.
3) The goaltending
Cam Ward was good again The team gave him a manageable game, and he converted it to a shutout. One obviously cannot ask for more than that. My subjective count has Ward playing at least decent in 7 of his last 8 starts dating back to the home opener on October 28. This trend is incredibly encouraging.
HUGE goal: Oftentimes strong fourth line scoring is more about timeliness than quantity. That is exactly what the Hurricanes received when Joakim Nordstrom scored a huge goal midway through the third period.
Hainsey/Faulk: Combined, this duo played arguably its cleanest game of the season defensively.
The AHL call ups: Both Brock McGinn and Derek Ryan are knocking at the door getting scoring chances right now. Each player had a chance from in close but failed to beat the opponent’s goalie.
Next up for the Carolina Hurricanes is a 7:30pm start at home against the red hot Montreal Canadiens on Friday.