Looking to find a higher gear offensively and pick up a win in the second of three games in California, the Carolina Hurricanes took to the ice in San Jose.
The game started ominously. The Sharks struck first only 3:44 into the game after an Jaccob Slavin clearing attempt took and odd carom past Clark Bishop and to the front of the net where the Sharks were waiting and finished. The Sharks would strike again on the power play when they fed the puck through the heart of the penalty kill and then quickly back to the front of the net for a pretty passing goal for Tomas Hertl. Aho/Staal/Teravainen had a strong first period and some near misses, but the first period ended with the Sharks up 2-0.
The second period saw more of the same. Timo Meier scored on a nifty redirection goal. And then an own goal on a Jordan Staal deflection dug the hole to 4-0. The Canes would get a small amount of life late in the second period when Lucas Wallmark scored on the power play through a Justin Williams screen. For a team that has been struggling to score, the 4-1 deficit heading into the third period was probably enough to send many a Caniac to bed.
The Hurricanes pushed a bit in the third period, but the team’s ability to generate and finish grade A chances just is not high enough right now to overcome a 4-1 deficit. The result was a third period that mostly just seemed to tick away until San Jose added insult to injury by increasing the lead to 5-1 which was the final.
In some ways, this game could just be written off as one of those nights on the road with all of the bounces. But on the heels of a Sunday loss to the NHL’s worst team, the Canes
Player and other notes
Sebastian Aho early
I liked Sebastian Aho’s game early. That line in total was very good in the first period. But as the game wore on the initial burst seemed to subside.
By no means would I pin this game on bad luck. But it did play a larger role than usual. The Slavin clear seemed to take an odd bounce that surprised everyone. The Meier goal was no doubt a skill play but could also have gone wide of the net or hit the goalie. And the Jordan Staal own goal was just unfortunate too.
Still struggling offensively
I liked Aho/Staal/Teravainen in the first period. The power play did net a goal. Past that, the Hurricanes just did not do enough offensively as has been the case too regularly of late.
Brett Pesce returns
He was not phenomenal, but Brett Pesce looked okay in his return. He makes the team better, so it was good to see him back in the lineup. The team is now down only Micheal Ferland in terms of injuries.
Decent night for McElhinney
McElhinney’s top line stats did not look good, but he actually had a decent night. Goals against included a tap in and two deflections on which McElhinney had no chance. He also made some really good saves in the second half of the game. So he was not magical as he has been in recent games, but McElhinney was not horrible either.
Still not enough in and around the crease
I continue to think that a key component of emerging from the current scoring slump will need to be generating more ugly goals from in and around the crease. As the season wears on, it is becoming clearer that this team just does not have enough raw offensive fire power to win pretty all the time.
He left with an upper body injury and did not return. For as much as the team could use a bit more scoring from him (like everyone else), he is still a solid player, and the team is worse without him.
Next up is the finale for the three-game road trip. The Hurricanes must win in Anaheim on Friday to salvage something from the trip.