For the sixth time since January 18, the Hurricanes entered a game following regulation loss. For the sixth time, the Hurricanes rebounded immediately with a win.
There are many explanations for the Hurricanes current position in the standings, but the team’s ability to avoid any kind of losing streak for more than two months is definitely a factor.
Carolina Hurricanes Recap
Saturday’s game between the Hurricanes and Wild started on pretty even terms with fairly cautious play. Neither team really had an extended advantage. And neither team really had much for grade A scoring chances. After one period, the game seemed destined to be a low-scoring, tight nail-biter.
But the Hurricanes would strike twice quickly early in the second period. First, Teuvo Teravainen would make a nifty backhand to forehand shift and saucer pass to Faulk. Faulk then did a nice job getting the puck to the front of the net where it deflected off of Jordan Staal’s skate. Barely over two minutes later, Brett Pesce beat Devan Dubnyk with a laser from the face-off circle after a heady pass from Justin Williams. Eric Staal would get one back on the power play on a rare miscue by Petr Mrazek who managed to convert a puck flung off net into a goal through his five hole. But the Hurricanes were steady down the stretch in the second period and for the second straight game exited the second period with a one-goal lead.
Whereas the Hurricanes faded and lost going away on Thursday, the team continued to push and won going away on Saturday. Teravainen worked more magic to put the puck on Andrei Svechnikov’s stick for a point blank chance and goal. Then Lucas Wallmark scored when Micheal Ferland threaded a pretty pass through traffic to Wallmark on the other side of the net for a quick snipe and goal. Finally, Teravainen scored one of his own when he made Dubnyk look silly on a missed poke check and then just tapped the puck into the vacated net. Playing a team that needed a win just as much as the Hurricanes did, the Hurricanes dominant third period was impressive.
The only downside to Saturday night was the fact that not much will likely be gained in the standings. Montreal and Pittsburgh both won as did the New York Islanders. The Hurricanes did add two more points over Columbus. And most significantly, with the Hurricanes currently in playoff position, pushing another game deeper into the season with the status quo is not a bad thing.
Player and other notes
1) Teuvo Teravainen
He was utterly phenomenal in the win. He made his usual share of small plays, but more significantly continues to surge as a playmaking wing. His second on the assist on Staal’s goal could easily be underappreciated, but if you watch it again in detail, it is pretty impressive. He manufactured a passing lane that was not there by going forehand to backhand and then quickly saucering a pass right to Faulk who quickly put it on net. He then generated two grade A scoring chances for Svechnikov from between the face-off circles. Svechnikov finished the second one. Then he capped off his stellar night by undressing Dubnyk for a breakaway goal.
That line in total was great with Teravainen as the catalyst/driver with 11 shots on goal and three goals.
2) Most complete effort in some time
The scoring outburst was fun, but what stood out to me most was how steady the Hurricanes were for a full 60 minutes. The Hurricanes had a handful of avoidable penalties, but otherwise played their most complete game in some time. Mrazek was solid but unlike a few other recent wins did not need to be a difference-maker. Here is hoping that this game kicks off a burst of peak Canes hockey for the playoff stretch run.
3) Justin Faulk
On a night when many played well, he still stood out. He had a knee or shin guard save early when the game was still being decided, and his ability to shovel the puck quickly toward the net despite the fact that it was not flat on the ice led to the all-important first goal.
4) Brett Pesce
He was on the ice for all five Hurricanes goals in Saturday’s win and continues to just be solid on a nightly basis.
5) Balanced ice time
Slavin played north of 24 minutes, but otherwise ice time was pretty balanced which should bode well for tomorrow’s quick turnaround against the Canadiens. Sebastian Aho led the forwards with 17:39 of ice time which is low for him lately.
Up next is a huge tilt on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena.