Tuesday’s match up against the Flyers got off to an okay start before the Flyers struck with an early power play goal to take an early lead. But the first period was actually pretty good overall for the Hurricanes and easily the best of the night despite the 1-0 deficit at the end of it. The Hurricanes had the upper hand in terms of puck possession, won the shots battle 14 to 10 and generally had the better of scoring chances other than the Flyers power play tally. The early going was not really that different from a couple big Canes wins like the ones over Florida and Detroit that saw the Canes with an advantage early. The difference is that on Tuesday the Hurricanes did not finish in bunches to sprint out to a lead.
And the Hurricanes attention to detail degraded as the game wore on. From the latter half of the first period to the end of the second period, the Hurricanes gave up numerous odd man rushes. Gardiner/Pesce were on for two, Slavin/Hamilton for two and Edmundson/Pesce for another as a result of a poorly-timed line change. Basically, the Hurricanes were winning in terms of quality of low-end chances but losing as measured by break downs and grade A chances against. But in the middle of it all, Trevor van Riemsdyk found Lucas Wallmark parked in front of the net for the tying goal. With that goal and Petr Mrazek standing tall on a number of odd man chances, the Hurricanes entered the third period tied at 1-1.
But the Hurricanes failed to ignite in the third period. The Flyers scored only 1:12 in simply by flooding the front of the net with three bodies and getting the puck into the chaos. The result was a rebound goal into an empty half of a net. After a lackluster response by the Hurricanes, the Flyers scored again when Joel Farabee blew around Jake Gardiner to the front of the net where he finished on his own rebound. Claude Giroux would beat Mrazek cleanly through the five hole in along off the rush to seal the deal at 4-1.
The Hurricanes had the kind of start that could have resulted in an early burst of goals. But when the game instead set up to be more of a grinding 2-1 or 2-2 type of game, the Hurricanes really just did not have an answer.
Player and other notes
1) Petr Mrazek
Mrazek was strong for two periods fending off a series off difficult odd man rush chances. But he was ‘meh’ in the third period when the team in front of him was the same.
2) Lucas Wallmark
With Erik Haula out of the lineup, Lucas Wallmark became the third line center. Back in a bigger role, he responded with a game-tying goal. Just like 2018-19, Wallmark seems to step up when pressed into a bigger role.
3) Attention to detail
This continues to be the struggles on bad days. The Hurricanes continue to get scoring in spades from their blue line. But more recently teams are regularly exploiting the team’s forward defense with quick outlets right up the middle of the ice. No doubt this is something that opponents are working from game film and is now something that Brind’Amour and company also need to look at. While there is definitely an element of poor decisions, I think there is also an element of teams recognizing that if they can turn the puck over in their defensive zone that there is often a seam in the middle of the ice if they advance quickly before the Hurricanes can recover.
4) Trevor van Riemsdyk
On a night when there were a lot of ‘oopses’ defensively, Trevor van Riemsdyk was pretty steady. At least from the odd man rushes against that I noted, van Riemsdyk was not victimized. He also had the pass to set up Wallmark’s goal from the top of the crease.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a Thursday match up at home against the New York Rangers.