I was one of (many?) who had a tough time with the NC State Fair traffic situation despite arriving quite a bit early. As such, my viewpoint of the game includes some combination of seeing the second half and hearing about and seeing highlights for the first half. But sometimes (though it is not my style :-)), the simplest explanation captures the most significant points without noise.
With a 1-3-1 mark in their last five games, the Hurricanes desperately needed to seize the opportunity against a struggling Blackhawks team. They did — in spades.
The team entered the game with a number of key players struggling to the point where they were clearly carrying extra weight on their shoulders. The game was utterly magical in terms of wiping the slate clean for pretty much that entire set of players.
Petr Mrazek was in pulled in the Anaheim loss and despite a strong stretch of play was not great in Thursday’s loss to Columbus. The Hurricanes outplayed Chicago such that Mrazek did not need to stand on his head, but he still gets credit for being perfect and logging a shutout.
Andrei Svechnikov has been productive early in the 2019-20 season, but it was becoming increasingly important for him to finally break through in the goal column (his prior tally was an empty-netter), and he did to the tune of two goals. I have been clamoring for
Nino Niederreiter also had to be feeling the pressure still sitting on zero goals scored entering the game. His goal and assist to boot should boost his spirits, relieve pressure and hopefully be a starting point for charting a course upward.
Sebastian Aho who has no doubt been fighting it a bit two had his first multi-point night of the season.
Because of the Blackhawks’ struggles, there was no doubt an element of preying on a weaker opponent, but the needed win coupled with the number of weights lifted off players shoulders has the chance to make this much more meaningful than two points in the standings.
Would love to hear others’ more detailed observations in the comments.
Next up for the Canes is another home match up on Tuesday against Bill Peters, Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm and Derek Ryan.