I aim to write a full recap tonight when I have more time, but the short version of the Hurricanes game on Saturday in Dallas goes like this:
1) In a game featuring 2 teams who are on the outside looking in and running out of time in the hunt for a 2017 playoff spot, one would have expected both teams to come out desperate and hungry. The Stars met the challenge. The Hurricanes did not. Anyone who was outside enjoying Saturday’s nice weather and checked in late found the Hurricanes down 3-0 quickly and probably (and smartly) just retreated back outside.
–Ward was beaten through him when he cheated playing the pass too early (which Pesce actually did fairly well) after Jaccob Slavin got caught up the ice.
–An unfortunate bounce on another 2-on-1 after Noah Hanifin fired into a defender saw an unfortunate bounce go off of Matt Tennyson’s skate and right through Ward’s legs.
–And another play saw all 3 of Justin Faulk (initial dump in), Ron Hainsey (other defender) and Jeff Skinner (first forward late getting back) beaten to a puck or a spot on what looked like a fairly harmless dump in that quickly turned into an easy goal from in close.
2) This might sound odd, but the Hurricanes were actually not that bad for the volume of minutes played. They won the battle for shots and were fairly even on scoring chances. It is just that they had too many of the break downs that have plagued them pretty much throughout the season on the road and also got them out of the way very early.
3) Sebastian Aho somewhat quietly had another solid game. He was in the mix offensively throughout the game. He spent his fair share of time between the face-off circles without the puck and made a few good passes from outside that area. If you want a bright spot both for Saturday and in general right now, look no further. He is getting better as the season wears on.
4) The loss is a costly 1. 2 weeks ago the Hurricanes stumbled into the All-Star break with a 5-game losing streak and the season on the line. The team rebounded nicely with 3 straight wins to pull within shouting distance of the playoff cut line. After a tough loss in Washington on Tuesday and today’s loss in Dallas, the Hurricanes are 3-2 since the All-Star break and have given back most of what they earned by winning 3 straight. In addition, all of Boston, Philadelphia and Florida have already won today.