Recap of Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers
My view of the first period can best be summed up by my comment on Twitter shortly after first period ended:
This version of @Canes that is good at scoring goals instead of a dozen lesser things that don't go on the scoreboard is fun.
That period was 'meh' other than fact Canes put the puck in the net every chance they had. #CanesAfterDark
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) December 11, 2019
Connor McDavid had a couple near misses with passes on his first couple shifts, and the Hurricanes took not one but two offensive zone penalties to put the NHL’s best power play on the ice. In general, the front part of the game was ‘meh’. The Oilers had the better of possession time, shot totals and scoring chances. But the hockey gods were kind. On the power play, Edmonton had two good chances ricochet in front of the net and find the end boards instead of the net. Reimer made a save on another grade A chance. And Edmundson made a good deflection on a pass that could well have netted a goal against. Give credit to the penalty kill, but also give credit to tempting fate and having the hockey gods have the randomness not result in a goal against. Meanwhile at the other end, a harmless shot deflected in such a way that it could not have been a better pass for Sebastian Aho to finish into half of an open net. The Hurricanes scored again on a heady power play pass by Jake Gardiner that found Nino Niederreiter for a nifty tip. For me, that second goal was the ignition switch for the Hurricanes. The Canes were much better for the rest of the period and scored a second power play marker when Ryan Dzingel finished.
Edmonton pushed again early in the second period clanging two posts early in the second period. After Teuvo Teravainen returned the favor also hitting metal, Edmonton finally broke through with a goal to make it 3-1 when Zack Kassian got inside position on Aho and tapped in a rebound from close. Ironically, I actually thought the Hurricanes were better in the second period but were unable to crack the scoreboard. That set the stage for an interesting third period.
The Hurricanes faltered to start the third period just like the first period, and the hockey gods used the repeat for the unfairness of the first period. First, Jaccob Slavin took a delay of game penalty. Then Teuvo Teravainen took a high sticking penalty to give Edmonton an extended 5-on-3 power play. Then Brett Pesce covered the puck in the crease to award Edmonton and Connor McDavid a penalty shot. McDavid inexplicably lost the puck without shooting on the penalty shot, but Edmonton did net a power play marker to pull within 4-3. Riding that momentum, Edmonton scored again quickly to tie the game at 3-3. In the span of less than six minutes, the Hurricanes had imploded and quickly blown a two-goal lead. But after settling down a bit, Jordan Martinook scored as a trailer on a line change to reverse momentum and claim a 4-3 lead. Then a pretty power play pass from Svechnikov found Aho on the opposite side for a tap in goal. With that, the Hurricanes potted their third power play goal of the night and were on their way to a special teams-fueled win on an ‘iffy’ night otherwise. An odd goal from the red line by Dougie Hamilton capped off a wild third period and finished the Canes win.
Player and other notes
1) James Reimer
Reimer’s solid play early was critical to the outcome. The Hurricanes could easily have been down by a goal or two early which maybe changes the trajectory of the entire game.
2) Martin Necas
He did not have a huge night on the score sheet, but after missing a couple games after careening awkwardly feet first into the end boards, he looked like himself swooping around and covering tons of ice effortlessly. He drew a penalty circling the offensive zone and just generally looked like the same player who left the lineup a few games ago.
3) Special teams
Special teams results in first period are what tilted the game positive. The Oilers failed to score on two early power play chances. Then the Hurricanes scored twice on the power play. Based solely on special team scoring that in my opinion did not match the broader game, the Canes route was on for the first period. The third period power play goal appropriately closed out the win.
4) Sebastian Aho going where goals happen
Taking a page out of the book of Erik Haula, Aho scored twice from a total of ten feet from the goal line. After a slow start, he is now in the midst of s short scoring binge for the ages with five goals in two games.
5) Nino Niederreiter
Amidst the scoring chaos, Nino Niederreiter netted a pretty power play goal and added an assist. Could he be the next player to break through after a slow start?
6) The ability to outgun mistakes
I will end where I started which is to note how fun it is to have a team that can outrun or outgun some mistakes. The formula was a bit of a mess, but scoring in bunches has the ability to turn those kinds of games into fun.
Next up for the Canes is another late-nighter on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.