The Canes desperately needed a win on Monday night. They were the better team and earned a win.
Hockey, the crazy game
But at the same time, hockey is a crazy game sometimes…
Warren Foegele’s goal was an odd carom off a defenseman’s skate from an odd angle that found a tiny opening.
A point shot on the power play was blocked by a Sens defenseman and could not have been a better pass into Martin Necas’ wheelhouse for a shot into a half-open net.
Sebastian Aho chopped a player’s stick in half somehow without a slashing penalty and then ends up with a breakaway goal the other way on the same shift.
Haydn Fleury has a pass, not even a shot, deflect off of a Sens defenseman and find the exact corner of the net behind the goalie.
Joel Edmundson’s misses high by a wide margin and has the shot carom off the boards back to the front of the net where Sebastian Aho finishes.
The crazy bounces posted the Canes to a 4-0 lead and five of their 8 goals.
When it rains it pours.
Player and other notes
1) Credit where it is due
The magnitude of the win was definitely influenced by the series of favorable bounces above, but to be clear, the Hurricanes were the better team and did deserve to win. So in terms of collecting a much-needed win, the Canes got what they deserved.
2) Sebastian Aho
More so than any other player, Sebastian Aho needs to be better for this team to find a higher gear. The good version of the 2018-19 Hurricanes featured Aho as an elite first line center, playmaker and scorer. He has been sporadic at best offensively so far in 2019-20 and worse defensively so far. He made plays and produced on Monday’s win. Here is hoping that the the game proves to be a permanent spark and not just a positive blip.
3) Brett Pesce
His game was somewhat buried beneath the scoring outburst, but I thought he had an especially strong game especially early when it was still being decided. He was decisive and crisp defending the puck in the neutral zone and defensive zone.
4) Haydn Fleury
After a long layoff, Fleury had a strong game. Too much might be made of his goal that was just a lucky deflection, but more substantive was his assertive play with and without the puck. The part of his game that is finally coming is his willingness to carry the puck. Version 1.0 of Haydn Fleury was far too prone to flip the puck out of the defensive zone to relative safety but almost certainly to a turnover. On Monday, he had multiple occasions when he had the confidence to get on his horse and gallop up the ice with the puck on his stick.
5) Eetu Luostarinen
He continues to impress. His game is incredibly mature in terms of responsibility and decision-making at the center position. That reminds me of Lucas Wallmark. But a noticeable difference is that Luostarinen much more regularly engages the puck and picks the right spots to be physical. The burning question is whether he can bring offensive upside too.
6) Warren Foegele
When the Hurricanes returned home from Washington, D.C. in the playoffs last April, it was Warren Foegele who scored early and had a huge game to help the Hurricanes bounce back in game three. The stakes were not nearly as high, but Monday’s win had a touch of that with his early goal and his physical play early.
7) Overstated and understated at the same time
On the one hand, one cannot say enough about how much the team needed this win to get back on the right track. On the other hand, I think it could be easy to get caught up in the euphoria an 8-2 home win and count this for more than it was. On a night when the Canes caught every break imaginable, they beat a sub-par hockey team on home ice. Can this be a turning point? Certainly. Can we measure the likelihood of that based on the score? Hardly. The teams starts anew in the next game albeit with more of a positive vibe, the key is to use this win to dial up the effort for the next one.
Next up is an away game against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.