With 5 straight losses, the Hurricanes took to the ice in Arizona look for a rebound for the team and maybe more significantly for Eddie Lack who was verbally chucked under the bus on Friday by Coach Bill Peters.
Recap of the Hurricanes 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes
Most interesting and tense for me heading into the game was watching how Eddie Lack would respond early in the game following Peters’ comments on Friday and (per John Forslund in the pregame) a conversation between Lack and Peters on Saturday. The Hurricanes collected the better chances early and Eddie Lack got a couple fairly easy saves early to climb into the game. The first period followed a common theme of the Hurricanes generating a reasonable number of shots and decent scoring chances but just not being able to finish. When the first period ended, the Hurricanes had 14 shots to Arizona’s 8 but nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
The second period featured some loose back and forth play at times without enough resistance from either side in the neutral zone. The Coyotes finally struck first when a puck squibbled through Lack and lay behind him. Peter Holland saw/got to it first for a tap in goal to put the Coyotes up 1-0. But continuing a streak, the Hurricanes bounced back with a Teuvo Teravainen deflection goal. The goal came from a point shot off of the stick of Jaccob Slavin who continues to surge offensively in addition to being sound defensively. He now has a 4-game point streak. Eddie Lack had a scrambly (sorry if that’s not a word but that is what it looked like) second period and made a couple really good saves as the second period wore on to keep the game at 1-1.
The third period saw the Hurricanes kill off a couple penalties and catch a break to score a game-winning goal late. On a 2-on-1 rush a Skinner pass was deflected but fortuitously went right off the post and directly to a trailing Derek Ryan who finished with the game-winner. Eddie Lack continued his strong play making a couple big saves, and the Hurricanes held on to win 2-1.
‘What I’m watching’ follow up
If you missed the preview and want to catch up on the details, you can find it HERE.
1) Noah Hanifin
Hanifin did not do anything spectacular to stand out, but I think what is more significant, even if less exciting, is how Hanifin just continues to look capable in a top 4 role. He did also have 1 of the Pitkanen-like sequences that I keep clamoring for in the second period when first he stepped into a soft spot between the circles for a decent shot attempt and then followed it up on the same shift by carrying the puck deep down the wall assessing passing options along the way. But again, the less exciting continues to be the most promising. He is playing regular minutes in a top 4 role and actually looks better than he did in the bottom pairing at times. Whether it is a better defense partner in Pesce and Faulk or just rising to the occasion with the bigger challenge or if it is just him taking the next step in his development, but Hanifin’s play in the top 4 now in 6 games since Ron Hainsey’s trade.
2) Phil Di Giuseppe
Di Giuseppe left the game at the midway point due to an upper body injury. He did not especially stand out in his short night.
3) Just win baby – to hold it together
The team really needed ‘any kind of win’ and got 1. The team played fairly well which is not a surprise actually. Despite the losing streak, the team’s play has actually been decent. The game-winner was maybe a sign that the hockey gods have a heart. After failing to score on a number of better chances, a Jeff Skinner pass (not shot) deflected up off the post and then caromed almost directly onto Derek Ryan’s stick right in front of an empty swath of net. He made no mistake posting the Canes to a 2-1 lead late that was enough to break a 5-game losing streak.
4) Looking for leaders to rise up
The player really rising up right now continues to be Jaccob Slavin. He is playing a ton of minutes and doing his usual stellar work defensively. For a team struggling a bit to score goals, he has found a higher gear offensively too.
5) Eddie Lack
The team in front of him did a good job of giving him a first period to help him ease into the game without a ton of pressure. Lack took it from there. He made a number of good saves in the second period, and his 1 goal against was good enough to get his team a much-needed win.
Say what you will about Lack’s play. Choose whatever side you want with Peters’ comments on Friday. But at a simpler level, Eddie Lack is a great person and personality. I find it hard to fathom how anyone could not be happy for him facing duress and netting a win on Sunday night in Phoenix.
Jeff Skinner: He is still trying to find a higher gear after a couple games out of the lineup due to injury. He has yet to do much in 2 games since his return.
Brett Pesce: Hanifin’s sound play in the top 4 and Jaccob Slavin’s offensive outburst are garnering more headlines, but not to be lost is how Brett Pesce continues to keep playing well. In addition, he seems to be a stabilizing force for Hanifin who he has been playing with for roughly the first half of the game since his
Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce’s conditioning: Both players are doing a number of things right obviously, but as the season stretches on, 1 of the things that stands out for both is how often they can make plays during those tough times 60+ seconds into a shift when they need to. Both had strong shorthand carries at the end of penalty kill shifts today, and they pretty regularly have enough left to take the 3-4 good strides needed to get to a puck, carry it to center for a dump in or whatever even late in shifts.