On Monday night, I benefited from finding a good video stream of the game that was broadcast by the Capitals. On Tuesday, no such viewing option was available (at least not that I found), so my recap/notes are limited and my best interpretation of Hurricanes radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Kaiton.
Brief Carolina Hurricanes game recap
The game featured a wonderful repeating formula of the Canes jumping out to the first lead. Last in the first period, Warren Foegele fed Brody Sutter for a short range goal to post the Hurricanes to a 1-0 leading heading into the locker room after the first period. The second period seemed to start slow but ultimately featured more Hurricanes offense. First, Janne Kuokkanen stole a puck from former and brief Hurricane James Wisniewski and assisted on another in close goal from Lucas Wallmark. Later in the second period, Jeff Skinner finished what Chuck made sound like a pretty pass from Lee Stempniak to post the Canes to a 3-0 lead. It sounded like Daniel Altshuller played pretty well under duress in the third period but did yield 2 goals including a sixth attacker goal late with 1:19 remaining to make it interesting. Ultimately, the Hurricanes held on for a 3-2 win to push to 2 wins and no losses in the preseason thus far.
My Hurricanes game preview ‘what I’m watching’ points (See preview HERE)
1) Jeff Skinner with Lee Stempniak
Without being able to watch the game, it is hard to evaluate the entirety of their work together, but here are a couple positive nuggets. First is that Skinner scored on a centering pass from Stempniak. That is exactly the result that is desired. I think Jeff Skinner’s ceiling is as high as 80 points, but to get anywhere close to it will require him to find chemistry with line mates that significantly boosts the volume of high-quality scoring chances that he gets. So this is an encouraging result. Also interesting and noted in the preview is the fact that Lindholm seemed to fit nicely with the duo. In the second period, Chuck Kaiton said that Lindholm was “playing very well” and also that he was “jelling with Skinner and Stempniak.” It is only a single preseason game but is still a positive sign and worth keeping tabs on.
I expected Noah Hanifin to at least start the preseason with Brett Pesce. Hanifin spent some time with Murphy in practice, and Michael Smith from the team web site offered a preview that suggested Hanifin would play with Ryan Murphy. But alas we are back to plan A. Defensenmen are even harder to grade without the visual, but let me offer a couple thoughts anyway. First, they were not on the ice for a goal against which is obviously a positive. Pesce logged an assist on the Skinner goal. And I do not recall anything in Chuck’s call that stood out out as a big ‘oops’ from either player. With mostly circumstantial evidence, I will declare the night a success.
3) Try out time
Warren Foegele: His was probably the most called name in the first period and popped up fairly regularly throughout the rest of the game. In the first period alone, he played a successful penalty kill shift, had a rush to the net with a shot and also a rebound shot, seemed to be on the puck regularly early, blocked a shot and had an assist with the centering pass on Brody Sutter’s goal. The surge called me to joke on Twitter during the first intermission that the team really needed to give him his entry-level contract. Foegele is still unsigned despite being a 2014 draftee and playing in Canadian juniors (started in NCAA). There is no hard deadline, but I have to believe that Foegele continues down the path to ultimately receiving his entry-level contract either as a reward during or after training camp or sometime before next summer.
Brock McGinn: His name was significantly less prevalent in the play-by-play call. Again, without seeing the game, this is not a definitive indictment, but being around the puck and in the play is a good sign more often than not. He did get onto the broadcast by picking up a slashing penalty late and then feeding line mate Phil Di Giuseppe for a chance off the rush shortly after exiting the penalty box.
Trevor Carrick: His name was mentioned early but less as the game wore on. Sometimes as a defenseman quiet can be good, so I will reserve judgement on Carrick until hopefully seeing him this weekend.
4) First NHL-level impression of Jake Bean
I mostly will declare this a who knows and wait for a chance to hopefully see him play either Friday or Saturday. Chuck Kaitin said, “Bean has played very well in this game subtly” which would obviously be a great endorsement of his debut.
Cam Ward: He matched Eddie Lack’s two shutout periods which is obviously a positive. From the sound of it, Chuck made it sound like he was tested reasonably well in the second half of the second period before yielding the net to Daniel Altshuller after 2 periods of work.
Janne Kuokkanen: He continues to impress now up another level in terms of competition. He was noted for an inside out move and great centering pass in the first period which I could picture from seeing the same in Traverse City and on Sunday. He pick-pocketed former Cane James Wisniewski and quickly fed line mate Lucas Wallmark for the Canes’ second goal.
Jeff Skinner: His positive on the score sheet was his goal. The negative included not 1 but 2 penalties taken both in the offensive zone and 1 while the Hurricanes were on the power play even. The first was a tripping or obstruction type penalty while on the forecheck. The second penalty was a tripping penalty while the Canes had the man advantage. His attention to small but important details defensively, not playing frustrated and avoiding costly mistakes was significantly improved for the 2015-16 season. It is reasonable to chalk Tuesday’s miscues up to preseason rust but also worth watching to see if he digresses from his strong 2015-16 season.
Next up for the Hurricanes is 2 days of practice followed by the team’s home debut on Friday against Tampa Bay and then finishes the week with a game in Minnesota on Sunday.