On Friday night, the Hurricanes won a spirited game over the Blackhawks by a 6-3 margin. The wild game saw six goals scored in the first period, a rare fight and group meetings in both penalty boxes. Whether it was because the Hurricanes ran out of a four-goal lead or because of the volume of meetings in 2020-21, the game was incredibly chippy in the second half.
Other than more scoring in bunches, I am not sure there is a ton to keep from this game, but the game was definitely great entertainment for a Friday night.
My notes follow.
Most significant was Antti Raanta finally playing after six starts for Frederik Andersen. The risk was that a long wait ending with killing a winning streak would immediately put a monkey on Raanta’s back. And early on, that seemed possible when he was beaten twice early. In total, he struggled a bit being beaten twice from odd angles and overplaying into shots a few times but getting away with it. In the end, he notched a win, and any imperfections were buried beneath a win.
Derek Stepan also scored his first goal, and Ian Cole collected his first point.
2) Steven Lorentz
He is close to finding a higher gear offensively using his size and speed to get scoring chances off the rush. He had the great goal winning a puck battle for a chance and goal in close and has had at least three more chances off the rush since then. He reminds me a bit of peak Kevyn Adams who similarly had a knack for finding himself ahead of the pack with the puck on his stick. But also like Adams, Lorentz has not been able to finish on the last couple. But if he can continue to find those kind of chances and net a goal per week, that would be 20-25 goals for the season which would be a huge number for a fourth-liner who does not get power play ice time.
3) Tony DeAngelo
DeAngelo made a good read to get open on the back door for a goal in his second consecutive game and later added a couple assists and a fight. As advertised, he has his moments defensively, but he has been a positive on the first power play unit, a going concern offensively and good enough defensively for his role.
4) A bit of puck luck
No doubt, the Hurricanes are playing well, but they are also in the midst of one of those stretches where everything seems to be going their way. In consecutive games, they have had a cross ice pass go off a defender and straight into the net. Thursday’s game also saw a Sebastian Aho pass blocked only to wind up in his wheel house for an immediate scoring chance and goal. The key is to ride the wave as long as you can and bank a ton of points which the Canes are doing obviously.
5) Jaccob Slavin
Slavin continues to play well. With the departure of Dougie Hamilton, Slavin entered the season as key player needing to anchor a top four pairing, Thus far, the transition has been nearly seamless.
Next up for the Canes is a 1pm Halloween matinee on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes to close out what has already been a productive week at home.