With playoff hopes hanging from a thread and the distraction of the 2017 NHL trade deadline swirling around with Viktor Stalberg’s trade this afternoon, the Hurricanes took to the ice to play the Florida Panthers who have much more to play for right now.
Recap of the Hurricanes 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers
And the first period suggested that the Hurricanes were either distracted or just not into it. The Canes were hemmed in their own end regularly most notably from the big line of Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Cam Ward had a couple miscues early that he survived and was spitting out rebounds seemingly on every shot he faced. The Hurricanes were struggling to move the puck through the neutral zone and were generating virtually nothing offensively. And then the Hurricanes took a pair of penalties. Jaromir Jagr scored first when the Hurricanes’ penalty kill got a bit puck focused and shifted in its entirety to the puck side of the ice leaving Jagr wide open to finish when the puck found him in the middle of the ice. Next Vincent Trocheck scored on another Canes miscue. When the Canes failed to get the puck deep, they were caught changing and unable to sort things out quickly enough ultimately leading to a Trocheck goal on a rebound. The first period ended with the Hurricanes down 2-0, and things looking dismal.
But the Hurricanes did not go meekly into the night. Instead, they played their way back into the game with a better second period. Lee Stempniak showed great hands receiving and finishing in close from a tough angle on a pretty Teuvo Teravainen pass, and the Hurricanes were back in the game. After being outshot in the first period, the Hurricanes bounced back with a 12-6 advantage in the second round. The Hurricanes survived a tough night for Cam Ward in terms of rebound control, benefited from a quick whistle that saved the Canes a goal and exited the second period very much in the game down only 2-1.
The third period saw Sebastian Aho finish on a rebound from a Victor Rask point shot a pretty even period after that lead to the Panthers holding on to get to overtime. After the usual back and forth in the overtime, the game went to the cursed shootout where a couple patient finishes by Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau pushed the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win in the shootout.
‘What I’m watching’ follow up on 2017-17 preparation watch points
If you missed the preview and care to catch up on the details of my individual player watch points, you can find the preview HERE.
1) Noah Hanifin
20-year old Noah Hanifin mounted his second strong game in 3 tries since being escalated into the top 4 on the blue line with Ron Hainsey’s departure late last week. After what I called a ‘growing pains’ game on Sunday against a skilled and fast Flames attack, Hanifing rebounded nicely on Tuesday night in Florida. He logged 18:49 of ice time, managed to stay out of the screen on scoring plays against his team and (my favorite part) even had 1 instance where he went full Joni Pitkanen and used his skating ability and an opening to carry the puck around the net in the offensive zone.
2) Phi Di Giuseppe
Di Giuseppe had a quieter but still solid night. He earned ice time in overtime where he had 2 important blocked shots and also continued his run of consistent every shift play.
3) Ryan Murphy
Like Hanifin, he had a fairly quiet game in a good way which is a positive.
4) Victor Rask
Rask got on the score sheet again with an assist on Sebastian Aho’s goal and continue his recent resurgence after a long run of hockey with minimal production and just not enough of anything else either.
Cam Ward: As far as goaltending, Ward’s performance reminded me a bit of Lack’s game on Friday. Both saw the Canes goalie get decent results but look shaky at times doing it. Ward was a rebound machine on Tuesday and easily could have been dinged for more than 2 goals because of it. But at the end of the day, he managed to allow only 2 goals and give his team a chance to win, so even if the formula is not ideal, it was a decent outing.
Brock McGinn injury: After a head-hunting cheap shot in the first minute of the game put McGinn on the ice and ultimately out of the game, I would have liked to see the Hurricanes respond more aggressively.
Elias Lindholm: His run of playing an edgier and more engaged game on a nightly basis regardless of scoring production continues to be encouraging. I said during the game on Twitter that I feel like Lindholm is inching closer to his first NHL fight. He did not get 5 minutes for losing his gloves on Tuesday but did later manage a roughing minor in a scrum in the corner. To be clear, it is not necessary in today’s NHL for Lindholm to fight, but the fact that he is upsetting opponents on occasion is a sign that he is becoming more difficult to play against.
Lee Stempniak: Good for Stempniak being rewarded with a goal. The prettiest part of the play was Teravainen’s pass, but in watching the replay, Stempniak’s effort to receive and finish was also pretty darn good.
Next up is a quick turnaround and a trade deadline Wednesday match up in Tampa Bay.