After an incredibly disappointing 6-5 shootout loss on Wednesday in Anaheim, the Hurricanes were right back at it in Los Angeles on Thursday night. Again the Hurricanes built a lead. And again the opponent attacked in the third period. But this time the Hurricanes held on to claim a road win.
My math says that the win assures at least a decent road trip. The Hurricanes now have 3 points for 3 games with a chance to earn some extra points on Saturday in San Jose.
Recap of Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings
A buttoned down and even first period did not offer much for great or even medium chances for either team. But with about 2 minutes remaining in the period Andrej Nestrasil made a nifty short pass at the offensive blue line to spring Derek Ryan who made a great move to beat the goalie and stake the Canes to a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
The game opened up a bit more in the second period to the Hurricanes advantage. At the tail end of a successful penalty kill, the Hurricanes found themselves with the puck and a couple players forward in the neutral zone. Jaccob Slavin sprung Brock McGinn and Derek Ryan for a 2-on-1 that resulted in a highlight reel-worthy passing play that ended with Ryan finishing a pretty McGinn pass. That goal pushed the Hurricanes to 2-0 and set the stage for a potential white knuckler as the team again tried to defend a lead in the third period.
The third period was not perfect but was much much better than some of the other third period road debacles this season. First, the Hurricanes attacked and actually scored the next goal to provide a cushion. McGinn was the scorer this time with a sniper shot through a Phil Di Giuseppe to tie McGinn with Ryan for 2 points on the night. The Kings did net a goal and later get a power play to make things a little bit tense, but they never got closer than 2 goals and the Hurricanes held on for a 3-1 win.
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1) Continuation for Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho
Wednesday’s dynamic duo was quieter in Thursday’s win. Neither found the score sheet. That said, their game was not a bad one. They were part of a generally sound effort defensively.
2) Bill Peters, duct tape and super glue (need to shore things up defensively)
Peters shuffled his forward lines slightly swapping Skinner and McGinn. It is also important to give the team in total credit for playing a better game defensively especially in the second half of a back to back.
3) The goalie position
Perhaps the biggest move among the couple that Peters made was deciding to go back to Cam Ward despite it being a back-to-back. Ward was sound, solid and flawless when the game was hanging in the balance.
AHL uprising: The story of the game was the play of players who have spent time at the AHL level this season. Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn were among the team’s best players with 2 points each. With Phil Di Giuseppe also chipping in an assist and being the screen on the McGinn goal, the AHL contingent had all 3 goals and 5 of 9 scoring points on the night.
Bill Peters pulling levers: Bill Peters deserves a ton of credit for this win. His decision to go back to Ward in the second half of the back-to-back worked well and played a significant role in the win. The move that boosted Brock McGinn up onto a line with Victor Rask seemed to spark him, and Ryan’s line was the other affect by the shuffling. Kudos to Peters for making a couple decisions that played a big role in the win.
Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce: The top defense pairing is playing so well, so often that it is becoming difficult not to take them for granted and also to underappreciate what they are doing in only their second year in the NHL. In addition to being great defensively, the duo has also chipped in 3 points in the past 2 games. Awhile back I wrote that the next step in their development would be doing a bit more to help generate offense. Just maybe that is starting to happen too. Just incredible!
A good road trip already: Now with 3 points, the Hurricanes have already assured themselves of a decent road trip with at least 3 points in 3 games. That actually makes Saturday even more important because it presents the opportunity to collect extra points and push up the standings.
Next up is the last of 3 in 4 nights in California on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.