After a frenzy of a game in Edmonton on Tuesday that had excitement of all varieties, the first period in Vancouver on Thursday was quite subdued. The Hurricanes again started inauspiciously by taking early penalties (though the first was a bad call) but mostly minimized the chances that came from it. The Canucks were better early while the Canes tried to get going, but not much came of it. The Hurricanes played better as the period wore on, but the relatively tame period ended with a 0-0 score on an 8-5 shot advantage for the Hurricanes.
The second period saw the Hurricanes dial things back up to Tuesday level. From the start of the period, the Hurricanes had the upper hand and generated all varieties of chances as a result. Sebastian Aho had a goal disallowed by a quick whistle on a penalty touch up. The Hurricanes had three power plays that were dangerous and generated chances. And a breakaway attempt by Julien Gauthier was thwarted. Only heroic efforts by Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom kept the Hurricanes 22-7 shot advantage from resulting in a lead after two periods.
The game evened up again in the third period with the Hurricanes still collecting some decent chances but the Canucks doing so as well. Markstrom continued to be stellar, and Mrazek was as well. When the dust settled on the third period, the Hurricanes had finished the game with a 42-24 shot advantage and generally the upper hand in play but a 0-0 total on the scoreboard.
Early in overtime a single frenetic burst by Vancouver found Elias Pettersson alone in front where he finished to send the Hurricanes away with only an overtime loss point.
Player and other notes
1) Nino Niederreiter
His game seems to be coming along. Knock on wood, but he has now gone a few games without taking an ‘iffy’ penalty. Building on his good night on the score sheet on Tuesday Niederreiter had a quietly strong game in a smaller way on Thursday. Pressed into a role as a defenseman on a 2-on-1 against, he made a Slavin-like play diving and deflecting a pass with his stick. He had a few other small but good hockey plays throughout the game.
2) Special teams despite not netting results
Though the results were not there, I though the special teams had a decent continuation game. The penalty kill was solid, and despite not scoring, I thought the power play had a good night in terms of generating chances.
3) Petr Mrazek
Generally speaking, Petr Mrazek had a light night. But when the game is scoreless and the other goalie is standing on his head at the other end of the rink, the goalie situation was challenging for Mrazek. He was challenged early and then again late. With no margin for error and increasing pressure with the 0-0 score, Mrazek made saves when he needed to.
4) Sebastian Aho
He can really close to extending his scoring surge. The early whistle on the penalty touch up cost him a goal, and he was also robbed by Markstrom on another really good scoring chance.
On a night when the Canes defense was good in general, Edmundson/Pesce was top of the list. Edmundson had the puck get behind him when he could not get his legs moving at the end of a shift, but otherwise the duo’s slate was incredibly clean.
6) Bit too much trying harder to beat the goalie
The one small negative in my book was the Hurricanes being a victim of Hurricanes’ struggles from years past trying harder and harder to beat a hot goalie instead of creating more chaos in front of him for an ugly goal. The team had multiple times where players left the top of the crease to make themselves available for a pass. On a night like this, best is to stay the course just parking in front of the goalie aiming for an ugly goal.
Next up for the Hurricanes is the intermission of #CanesAfterDark with a 4pm start in Calgary on Saturday before two more West Coat road tilts next week.