After a run of productive games that maybe relied too much on goaltending to steal some wins, the Carolina Hurricanes have now notched impressive and more well-rounded wins in consecutive games. Saturday’s win in Dallas was a road win over a good hockey team and featured the Hurricanes clamping down defensively. Tuesday’s win was another impressive win of a different variety. Facing a struggling hockey team, the Hurricanes did exactly what one would have hoped. The team pounced early, attacked often and won easily.
What stood out to me early in Tuesday’s win was how diligent the Hurricanes were sending players to the crease to make the game difficult for goalie Jonathan Quick. Only 5:56 into the game, the Hurricanes were rewarded for their work when Saku Maenalanen was bumped into Quick while crashing the net. The result was Quick being pushed to the side of the net and then the puck finding Dougie Hamilton with a half open net to shoot into. Then about five minutes later, a good defensive stick and quick pass up ice by Teuvo Teravainen saw Aho streak up the ice and past a defender for a breakaway chance and goal. The Hurricanes were a bit sloppy with the puck in their own end late in the period with Brett Pesce and Nino Niederreiter both turning the puck over in the offensive zone. But Petr Mrazek had the answers when necessary, and the Hurricanes emerged from the first period with a 2-0 lead.
The Hurricanes did not take their collective feet off the pedal in the second period. Another heady play by Teravainen, a recurring theme on the night, led to the Hurricanes next goal. Teravainen fed Jordan Staal who fired from between the circles and off of Micheal Ferland for a 3-0 lead. When Jaccob Slavin wired a shot past Quick on the power play only two minutes, later, the Hurricanes had a commanding 4-0 lead only 22 minutes into the game and after taking only nine shots on net. From there, the Hurricanes smelled blood and poured it on. Even after going up four goals, the Hurricanes did not let up. Teravainen would score next on a pretty passing play with Staal and Ferland, and Hamilton would score on another Teravainen set up to make it 6-0 which is how the second period ended.
The third period was mostly playing out the string and trying to finish off the team’s fifth shutout of February. Los Angeles finally broke through when Dustin Brown got behind Hamilton. Things became quite chippy late. And the Hurricanes coasted to an impressive 6-1 win.
This game was impressive for its surgeon-like precision. The Hurricanes attacked a weak team, dismantled it quickly and then kep pushing until the game was fully in hand.
Player and other notes
1) Teuvo Teravainen
Teravainen had arguably his best game of the season. He collected assists with pretty passes on three of the Canes’ goals and finished one of his own as well. He was the catalyst for a huge night from Ferland/Staal/Teravainen and was good defensively to boot.
2) Scoring balance
Through the team’s first four goals, goals were scored by three different lines, and the power play tallied as well. The Ferland/Staal/Teravainen line led the way and was the team’s best, but all four lines had good nights.
3) Saku Maenalanen
After being the player shuffled out of the lineup with Staal’s return, Maenalanen was back in the lineup on Tuesday. He made the most of it playing a key role in the first goal and just generally playing an aggressive and physical brand of hockey all game. His biggest contribution was on Hamilton’s goal, but Maenalanen was strong in general.
4) Offense from the defense
The blue line continued its recent surge chipping in three goals in addition to playing sound defensive hockey all night long.
5) Upside down ice time
With the lopsided score, Brind’Amour was able to rest key players a bit and ride the bottom half of the roster more heavily. Aho, Niederreiter and Williams were uncharacteristically low with only 14 minutes of ice time. The high forward was Andrei Svechnikov who logged just under 20 minutes.
6) Petr Mrazek
Though he was not required to stand on his head to collect this win, he still played well.
7) Fingers crossed for Wednesday injury reports
During the game, the Hurricanes lost Micheal Ferland and Justin Faulk to injuries. Ferland went head over heels on his goal and did not return later. Faulk also left the game with an upper body injury.
Next up for the Hurricanes is two days off before a home tilt on Friday against a hot St. Louis Blues team.