Through two periods, the Hurricanes seemed to be on their way to another lackluster outing against a team in last place in its division. And when the Senators scored first late in the first period, the game eerily reminded me of the loss to New Jersey. The Hurricanes seemed to have decent jump out of the gate, but they just were not great due to some sloppy play and issues managing the puck.
The second period was mostly more of the same. When an Ottawa goal was waved off, one had to wonder if the Hurricanes would ever get on the scoreboard and back into the game. Ottawa seemed to get the upper hand with still too many errors in the neutral zone. And just like the first period, it ended with the opponent still leading 1-0.
Then it happened. A magical third period kicked off with Micheal Ferland burying a pretty pass from Dougie Hamilton to tie the game at 1-1. Then a quick succession of power play goals would forge the way toward a win. First, Ferland found Williams to knot the game at 1-1. Then a pretty Nino Niederreiter pass to Teuvo Teravainen netted a goal, and Ferland fed Teravainen for another goal. Suddenly, the Hurricanes had run out to a two goal lead on their way to a 4-1 win.
Player and other notes
1) Micheal Ferland
He was the game’s first star in my book. He made the backdoor finish look easy on Hamilton’s pass to get the Hurricanes into the game at 1-1. Hamilton deserves a ton of credit for somehow getting the puck through a maze of bodies to Ferland on the back door, but Ferland’s ability to track the puck through the maze of bodies and receive and finish in one motion should not be underestimated. Then he assisted on Williams’ goal to stake the Canes to a 2-1 lead and very quickly keep the power play from being an energy drag. Finally, he picked up another first assist on a pretty bang-bang play that Teravainen finished to build a cushion. On a night when results trumped all else and there were no moral victories to be had, Ferland had a huge game on the score sheet.
2) Calvin de Haan
He had a strong game defensively in his return home. He was Slavin-like with his ability to interrupt passes and get a piece of seemingly every puck that tried to go through him.
3) Curtis McElhinney
He had yet another strong game. When Ottawa scored first, many minutes were played with the Hurricanes in a precarious position down a goal. But McElhinney would not be beaten again.
4) The power play
After a sluggish power play short-circuited the Hurricanes in the first period in the loss to New Jersey, Tuesday’s win was the exact opposite. With a 1-1 tie in the third period, the Hurricanes first collected a power play and then added a double minor on top of that. The result was 31 seconds at 5-on-4 to be followed by 1:29 of 5-on-3 play to be finished up with two minutes more of 5-on-4 play. At that point the game was going to be decided by the Hurricanes power play for better or for worse. And on this night, the power play came through with two quick goals to pull ahead.
5) Justin Williams
His goal was a huge one not just because it gave the Hurricanes a lead but also because it relieved pressure on the struggling power play. Had the Hurricanes trudged too far into the series of power play ice time, the pressure would have built. Instead, Williams scored fairly early to boost the team.
6) An important first
On Tuesday afternoon, I retweeted a comment by The Hockey News:
This stat is never good for anyone and illustrates importance of getting off to a good start, but 0-17-3 is even worse than I would have expected. https://t.co/iZlPY8Y02n
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) February 12, 2019
On cue, the team rose up to win its first game when losing after two periods.
Next up is a return to Raleigh after five games on the road. The Hurricanes face Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Friday at 7:30pm.