The first period of Friday’s match up against the Detroit Red Wings was actually a fairly entertaining affair with two goals scored and a good pace with scoring chances in both directions.
The Hurricanes scored first when Andrei Svechknikov scored his fifth in three games when Jaccob Slavin made a good play to keep the puck in the offensive zone and had the puck fortuitously roll off his stick right to Svechnikov who finished from in close. Detroit actually had the upper hand by a modest margin for much of the first period. The Red Wings go from defense to offense with speed as well as any team in the NHL, and it regularly created chances to attack of the rush. The Wings finally broke through when Hamilton and Slavin both let a Red Wing behind them in the offensive zone. The result was a quick pass across to Anthony Mantha right through a diving Martin Necas for a quick finish. The first period had a good pace, back and forth attacking and a decent number of scoring chances.
…but it was NOTHING compared to what followed in the second period. The final tally was six actual goals. Three challenges including a waived off goal. And at least four more near misses. Pretty much the entire period was high-speed shinny at its finest. I am sure Brind’Amour was not impressed but for the fans in attendance the entertainment value was high. The four Canes tallies included a pretty maneuver and pass of the rush from Ryan Dzingel to Margin Necas who finished in addition to two Sebastian Aho goals from in close collecting loose change and putting it in the net. Nino Niederreiter finished in close on his own rebound on the power play. Not counting was a pretty Warren Foegele finish off the rush on a pretty Aho pass that was ruled offside. Detroit added a couple goals for good measure. The result was a frenetic, loosely-played but fun second period with as much action as a five-year old loaded up on Halloween candy. The wild middle stanza finished with 32 shots on goal and with the Hurricanes staked to a 5-3 lead.
The game would calm somewhat in the third period. Brock McGinn scored off the rush shorthanded and Teuvo Teravainen tacked on an empty-netter.
There was not much to be used in terms of building a regular blue print for wins other than scoring in bunches, but the game was fun to watch, and after years of having no chance in shootouts like this, it is absolutely enthralling to have a Hurricanes that can not only compete but also win.
Player and other notes
1) Petr Mrazek
Buried underneath the loose play and barrage of goals, Petr Mrazek posted his third straight strong outing. His headline statistics of three goals against on
2) Sebastian Aho
His game was nothing particularly glamorous, but two goals and an assist makes for a nice outburst. He seems to be heating up after a slow start.
3) Andrei Svechnikov
With five goals in the last three games, we have reached the point where Svechnikov is challenging Dougie Hamilton to be the team’s best offensive player.
4) Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton
Their effort on Friday reminds me of the four quadrant charts that have ‘fun’ for teams or players that both score and give up a ton of goals and chances. Both players had strong games offensively with three assists each, but the duo struggled defending off the rush and were regular entrants in the Canes loose play defensively. The duo was on the ice for eight of the ten goals scored in the game.
5) Warren Foegele
His nice finish on the 2-on-1 with Sebastian Aho was wiped off the board when a challenge showed that he was offside. But Foegele had an assist crashing the crease on Aho’s first goal and continues to play at a higher level since being elevated to the top line. I am not sure he is long for that slot, but for the time being that line is thriving and Foegele’s play has also stepped up.
6) Points matter
One can quibble with process, but the team continues picking up points and pushing its way toward being a team playing for playoff position not a playoff berth. That situation is new and refreshing.
Next up is a quick turnaround with another game at PNC Arena on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils.