After a wild 8-4 win for the Hurricanes in Brooklyn on Monday night, Tuesday’s rematch in Raleigh looked something more like a regular NHL game. The game was still loose defensively at times, but the goaltending was much better which helped tamp down the scoring. The ultimately tilted 3-2 to the Islanders in overtime. The overtime loss was the fifth straight overtime game that ended with a loss for the Hurricanes.
Recap of the Hurricanes 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders
The first period was buttoned down at least relatively speaking compared to the circus the night before. There were still a few chances and a few breakdowns. The Islanders best chance in the first period came when Noah Hanifin whiffed on a bouncing puck at his defensive blue line springing an Islanders player in alone on Cam Ward. The Hurricanes had a couple good chances early with 1 of the best being a Lee Stempniak individual effort that saw him squeeze around an Isles defenseman on the boards just inside the blue line and then have a decent wraparound chance stopped by Thomas Greiss. The Hurricanes would eventually score first when Joakim Nordstrom scored from inside the face-off circle. Lucas Wallmark helped in a team effort win a loose puck and earned an assist for his effort, and Lee Stempniak ultimately won the puck and make a short tape-to-tape pass to Nordstrom who fired a nice shot to beat Greiss cleanly. The period ended with the Hurricanes up 1-0.
Only 40 seconds into the second period, the Hurricanes struck again. Elias Lindholm won a puck at his defensive blue line and was off to the races. With a couple Isles’ defenders closing ground, Lindholm fired and beat Greiss to put the Hurricanes up 2-0. From there, the Hurricanes had chances to stretch their lead and try to run away, but Greiss made some great saves and the Hurricanes just could not finish on some great chances. Nonetheless, the game still seemed to be in hand for the Canes until very quickly it was not. Joshua Ho-Sang got the Islanders on the board when a shot from the right side deflected right off of Slavin and onto his stick where he finished quickly before Ward could get across. Then only 25 seconds later Jason Chimera tied the game at 2-2 when a strong forecheck kicked a puck loose and just out of Klas Dahlbeck’s reach. The puck instead found Chimera coming forward to pick up the puck and beat Ward.
As they say, it was a brand new hockey game to start the third period with a 2-2 score. Ward played his best hockey of the game in the third period making a number of good saves to hold the Islanders at 2 goals. And Thomas Greiss was also good in busy period that saw the Hurricanes take 12 shots on goal and the Islanders 13.
The game ended quickly in overtime when a couple of minor miscues compounded as can happen quickly in 3-on-3 hockey. Firs, Jaccob Slavin turned the puck over. The Victor Rask and Jaccob Slavin failed to quickly enough sort out who had whom. The result was that the wrong player, John Tavares, received a drop pass from Ho-Sang and had the time and space to dust it off and fire from the middle of the face-off circles beating Ward for the game-winner. As tremendous as Slavin has been in general, this shift is 1 he would like to have back as he gave up the puck and then mostly just floated backwards to be a screen for Tavares to shoot through and past Ward.
‘What I’m watching’ follow up
If you missed the game preview and want to check the details, you can find it HERE.
1) More of the same?
I would rate Tuesday’s game as loose defensively but not quite as much so as Monday. If Monday’s game was a 10 for loose defensive play especially in the neutral zone, Tuesday was probably a 7 or 8. The biggest difference was probably the goaltending. On Monday, no one stopped much of anything. Greiss and Ward were much better on Tuesday night.
2) Lucas Wallmark
Whereas I thought Wallmark’s NHL debut was ‘meh’ on Monday, I thought he did more to impress on Tuesday. He had a role winning the puck on the Nordstrom goal. He also had 2 good scoring chances himself include a grade A chance with open net to shoot at. When Wallmark was unable to get the puck up, Greiss dove across to rob him with his arm along the ice. But gaining scoring chances is a positive, and if a player does it enough, the goals usually come eventually.
3) Eddie Lack
The expectation even from team sources was that Eddie Lack would get the start in the second half of the back-to-back set especially after Ward’s mediocre play on Monday. Peters surprised everyone and went right back to Ward. I thought Ward was better on Tuesday. The hockey gods seemed to be on his side when he was beaten cleanly from wide of the face-off circle just like on Monday, but the shot clanged off the cross bar and out. He faced a high volume of shots and held the fort under some duress in the third period. And 3 goals in regulation would have been enough to win, so this is not a game that I would pin on Ward.
Too many missed chances: The Hurricanes had a high number of scoring chances that the right shot would have been a goal. Patrick Brown shot back into a lunging Greiss on a 2-on-1. Wallmark failed to get his shot up. In addition to the goal he did finish, he had another point blank chance and seemed to miss the net. Skinner failed to score on a breakaway. The chances were there for the Hurricanes to get to 3 or 4 and win in regulation.
Lee Stempniak: He had the best game I can remember from him in awhile. He had an individual rush to the net and the assist on the Nordstrom goal in the first period and generated a couple more high-quality scoring chances later in the game.
Noah Hanifin: After a run of solid games defensively, his game was more of a mixed bag on Tuesday. He was a bit off his angle and tried unsuccessfully to play a puck at his defensive blue which resulted in an Islander in alone on Ward. He also had and Isles player walk right around him from wide of the face-off circle and all the way to the front of the net.
Next up for the Hurricanes is the return of Eric Staal when the Minnesota Wild make their lone appearance in Raleigh on Thursday night.