Brief recap of the Hurricanes 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers
After a horrid start in Monday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Hurricanes started much better on Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes were not dominant early, but they were sounder and probably had a slight advantage in early play. Just when it looked like a fairly even first period was going to end even at 0-0, the Hurricanes continued recent positive trends of scoring late in periods and also scoring in rapid succession. First, Jordan Staal continued to milk everything possible from whatever deal he cut with the devil when he received a nifty Warren Foegele pass and sniped a perfect shot bar in on the far side. Only 22 seconds later, Sebastian Aho deftly tipped a Brett Pesce point shot finding the net to suddenly put the Hurricanes up 2-0. That is how the first period ended.
The second period was pretty even and also pretty eventful with good pace and chances in both directions. In general, both goalies stood tall, but Florida did pull to within a goal at 2-1 when Jonathan Huberdeau sniped a shot off the rush beating Alex Nedeljkovic cleanly to the far side. Despite decent number of chances, neither team would score after that and the period would end with the Hurricanes clinging to a 2-1 lead.
The third period saw a couple Hurricanes errors cost them dearly. First, Jonathan Huberdeau made an absolutely phenomenal whirling pass that went by Jake Bean and beat a slightly late Brady Skjei to a rushing Panther at the far post for a tap in goal. Then Nedeljkovic let a weak backhand from a horrible angle find passage through his pads and into the net. Just like that, two errors erased a one-goal lead and turned it into a one-goal deficit. But after being close to the score sheet all night, Vincent Trocheck finally broke through against his former team when he directed an Andrei Svechnikov power play pass up into the net without even receiving it. That 3-3 score is how regulation would end.
Toting a perfect record in overtime and shootouts into the game, the Hurricanes got away from what worked a bit. The general recipe for success had been placing tremendous value on puck possession in overtime being careful with passes and accepting only grade A shooting chances. On Wednesday, the Hurricanes got into a bit more of a track meet settling for a few lower quality shots and giving the puck away a few times. The game ended when Jake Gardiner had a pass intercepted by Alexander Barkov who fed a streaking Jonathan Huberdeau who worked over Nedeljkovic for the overtime game-winner.
Player and other notes
1) Level of play
In most ways, I actually thought Wednesday’s game was better in terms of soundness of play. The Hurricanes did make a couple costly mistakes in the third period but in terms of both extended stretches and sheer volume of errors, the game was much better. Missing was the ability to just outrun/outgun any mistakes.
2) Jordan Staal continues
He only had one point which is actually a step down, but his goal was a pretty one labeling a nearly unstoppable shot from in close for the far side post and in.
3) Alex Nedeljkovic
In each of his three starts, Nedeljkovic has seemingly been close to a strong performance and let it get away late. On Wednesday, Florida’s third goal that leaked through his pads when the Canes were trying to claim a win late was a bad one. He also continues to struggle a bit with breakaways at NHL speed. In overtime, Huberdeau seemed to get him twisted and leaning before finishing into an open chunk of net. Nedeljkovic does have a perfect 3-for-3 in a shootout win to his credit, so I guess maybe that is a mixed bag. Nedeljkovic was not bad overall on Wednesday, but he could have been better and that better would likely have resulted in a win.
4) Vincent Trocheck
Against his former team, Vincent Trocheck was arguably the Hurricanes best forward. He had jump all night and was involved in more than his fair share of decent scoring chances and near misses in addition to his skilled deflection finish.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a more standard 2020-21 two-game set against the Blackhawks starting on Friday and continuing on Saturday.
I saw the game a bit differently. I thought the Canes had a strong first period. The puck was on their sticks a lot and they were moving well. That changed in the second. The Canes were chasing the game in the second and third periods. Losing battles and taking penalties. Trying all the pretty plays and turning pucks over. Nedeljkovic did let in a terrible goal late, but he made quite a few great saves to keep the Canes in the game.
Huberdeau put on a show. It looked to me like the Panthers saw something on film when Yandle made the stretch pass to Huberdeau who had gotten behind Pesce. Still would like Ned to stop the ones he can see, but that was a bullet. It was also Pesce who Huberdeau made look silly on that spin-a-rama pass. High end stuff, but wouldn’t have happened if Martinook hadn’t made a soft play in the neutral zone.
Frankly, I think this was the same Canes team we have been watching all year. They are running and gunning on all cylinders at times, but the soft and fancy plays come back to bite them. That will get you a lot of wins, but when the good teams playing at the top of their game come around, it will fail. They need to tighten up defensively in all zones. Take the simple play when it’s there, and then they can close out games like last night.
This is interesting, we all seem to see different things. What I see correlates to what RBA says and partially correlates to what players say.
When any of them say “we are trying to establish a brand of hockey here, and we need to get back to it” good things happen. Or “We need to play Carolina Hurricanes hockey” that is good. This translates to “Run the system that we practice”, and has made us successful so far.
As RBA said after the game, somewhere mid-second period the canes got away from that game. But exactly how did they get away from it? That’s where opinions seem to diverge. Did they get too fancy or too simple? What I saw was not fancy hockey.
What I heard and then saw: “we need to simplify the game” and “get the puck in deep”. The canes started just flipping the puck in deep – where no team mates were present – causing a simple turnover. Instead of moving the puck methodically up the boards, players were taking it to the middle. While simple, that is not the brand of hockey RBA is teaching not what makes the canes successful. Once they get away from the intended game, mistake avoidance takes precedence over exerting the will of the canes on their opponent.
“Simplify the game” translation: “forget that stuff the coach tells us, and just throw the puck towards the other end. Then throw everything at the goalie, who knows, he may let one go in”.
It wasn’t until a called play on the PP that the canes got back to crisp passing, movement with and without the puck, and a tip-in goal. It was the opposite of “throw everything at the goalie”.
Congrats to FLA, they got the CAR players to abandon their system and lose.
Rant over. Hopefully they get back to the system taught by the coach and that makes them successful on Friday against the Blackhawks. If they get back to it, we should see 5 or 6 goals again.
I see your point, but “simplify the game” doesn’t mean just throw the puck to the other end. It means a lot of things. It means straight lines to the puck/man on defense. It means making sure you get the puck out/in instead of making some fancy play. If you throw the puck up the middle you had better be damned sure it’s going to get through. Martinook’s turnover was a great example. It looks like he’s trying to make a backhand pass, or spin around and do I don’t know what instead of moving it up the boards to an open player who could get it in the zone. Led to the last goal, not the second as I erroneously stated above.
All the dumping had more to do with the Canes being slow and outworked. Hard to make a play when you’re chasing the game, but you are right that to score you have to make plays. It’s just when and where you take that chance. The Canes have been taking those chances a bit too much lately in the wrong places. Counting on scoring 5 or 6 a game to cover that up is unsustainable.
Well said. We ultimately lost to a great team in overtime and got at least 1 point out of it. I think we could’ve won, giving away two goals that we’d like back.
But overall, close second place in the league with a record of 10, 3, 1 is pretty acceptable.
We need to make sure to tighten up and get at least 3 out of 4 points against the Blackhawks.
Good to see old Canes friends do pretty well down in Florida.
Lusty wasn’t tearing it up but he played pretty well in his role.