I watched after hours after holiday/family time, so my comments will be brief and skip the full recap.
An impressive win
Last weekend, the Hurricanes took a shot at division-leading Columbus and came up woefully empty in a 4-1 loss. Wednesday’s game was against a similarly strong opponent and yielded a significantly different results. The two points are critical, but how the Hurricaes went about it also adds some points.
I thought this was his best game of the season. He netted only a mop up empty-net goal on the score sheet, but I thought he was especially good. He touched the puck battling around the net three times before Trevor van Riemsdyk goal. He had a similar flurry in the second period that also saw him make a pretty pass to Jordan Martinook on the rush (the shot bounced off the cross bar). He had eight shots on goal in the game. In addition, his hard hat and lunch pail style of play around the net show that he is hungry to score and willing to do the dirty work to do it.
Calvin de Haan/Justin Faulk
The duo has grown to become the team’s steadiest defense pairing and the one that Brind’Amour justifiably tries to lean on the most. Kudos to Calvin de Haan for being a strong complement for Faulk, and kudos to Justin Faulk for being equally strong in his own right. As someone who has been incredibly hard on Faulk’s defensive play over the past two years, it is important that I give credit where it is due.
The good version of bad in the second period
After a crazy shooting gallery of a first period, the Hurricanes mostly failed to launch for the second period. But unlike tough periods of Canes past that usually featured defensive coverage break downs and bunches of goals against, the Canes did a tremendous job of not allowing puck possession to automatically translate to grade A chances. In addition, the penalty kill gave up only one medium chance on two power plays in keeping Toronto off the board in the second period.
The first period shooting gallery
I am not gonna lie…When John Tavares scored to convert a 29 to 11 first period shot advantage to only a 2-1 lead, the game seemed destined to be yet another Canes classic where the team dramatically out-shot the opponent but lost. But this time the hockey gods smiled down and rewarded the Hurricanes. That 29 shots on goal in a single period is nearly unfathomable. Half of that is a very good period.
Justin Williams leads the way again
Since the team faced a bit of adversity in the Columbus lost, captain Justin Williams has scored in the first period of each of the next two games to get the team off to a good start.
…and right now that is Curtis McElhinney. He would want the second goal that beat him from a tough angle back, but otherwise he was solid all night, and two goals against is what was needed to win. The watch point for him going forward is how he looks in a run of games. As a 35-year old who has not played more than 20 games in a season in awhile, his norm is playing a game or two and then getting a significant break before taking the ice again. But at least for now, he is the starter, and the team should just be taking it a game at a time.
With fourth line minutes, he did not do anything spectacular, but he did not look overmatched by NHL pace either. I count Wednesday’s game as a decent building block as he plays his way back after missing the first 20 games with an injury.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a pivotal (ref Tripp Tracy) for the current home stand. With a win, the team notches an impressive 4-1-1. With a loss, it looks much more like .500 hockey at 3-2-1.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING CANIAC NATION!
This game should bring out the latent manic depression in many of us.
“I am not gonna lie…When John Tavares scored to convert a 29 to 11 first period shot advantage to only a 2-1 lead, the game seemed destined to be yet another Canes classic where the team dramatically out-shot the opponent but lost.”
The scoreboard has us stuck on 29 shots until ~4:45 left in the 2nd and all we seemed to do was clear the puck out of our end … I kept waiting for the next TOR goal. It never came.
Special shout-out to our special teams and PP: the real turning point was the 3rd goal.
Great way to go into Thanksgiving.
As you said special teams were huge. The 2 2nd period Leafs power plays actually sapped momentum and forced a restart when they mustered nothing. Then Ferland’s goal short-circuited any last second heroics. For any who missed the game, the Canes had 2 empty-netters, so it was really a 3-2 game, so +1 on special teams was the difference.
That was impressive. I had been down on Faulk and was looking for a trade. Not now. He may not be lighting the scoreboard up but his defense has been awesome. He made several plays last night that could have turned into very bad situations. This is the Faulk of old who can play defense.
Omg, svech was a beast. If he continues that he is going to be a real pain for the opposition.
Ferland has been amazing. Not sure if he will keep up the goal pace but he has s lightning quick release and puts himself in scoring positions. The biggest thing is his physicality. He provides protection for aho and tt. When he hits you he rocks the boat. Opposition forwards have to be aware of him rather then taking cheap shots at aho. What a tremendous addition. It’s the physicality we never had, plus he is offensively dangerous.
Mc is our best goalie. When watching the game I had said if darling was in we would have lost. Mac actually stops goals. If we get to a point where we cannot hold 3 goalies, send darling to the ahl if they have room. I do not think we need to worry about him failing to pass waivers.
Rask looked good. He will get back into the swing of things. He is s good two way center, just hope he can start scoring this year.
I wish we could put that team on the ice every night.
McElhinney is a proven backup, year in year out. He should be expected to be no more. Establishing himself in that role on this squad is essential to team success. Today’s NHL requires 2 good goalies. We still need Mrazek to find his way back to the starter he has been in his career. I’d love to see him in Charlotte for 2 quick rehab starts and then back in the crease here to prove he can be “above average”.
Good call on Ferland. His goal was huge obviously, but just as significantly he brought physicality (9 hits) against a team that would rather play a free-flowing skill game.
Fifth in the NHL in hits, plus 11 goals? Yeah, I’ll take that. Love Ferland.
Ferland brings more than hits and scoring. He is a bad man. Probably aren’t 5 NHL guys that are in his league. Intimidation is still part of the game. What teams used to do to Skinner in Carolina, and have tried to do a bit to Aho, is what Ferland limits. This would be amplified if the Canes made the playoffs. He’s incredibly valuable.
This was a night and day difference with the last game I saw at the arena (CBJ) – as you would expect when you play like you care. All the mistake types the team has been making were cleaned up – Svech was a beast. I didn’t think that, other than his goal, Williams was really visible or that line effective. That might have been me though and, if it was, I wouldn’t mind having it pointed out to me what I didn’t see that I should have.
Interestingly, I ran into Waddell in the concourse – I have met him a few times at other Canes events but have never seen him in the concourse before. Chatted briefly with him before I realized my words sounded like I was fishing for info – which I definitely wasn’t! So he is not my inside source! 😀
Necas had a 2-goal night last night in Checkers, including the gamewinner in OT. Interestingly, Vellucci moved him to wing for the game (not sure who centered him – Brandon?). According to Vellucci after the game, “a little less responsibility defensively, and I think that just freed up his mind to be able to show his skill and his offensive ability. It was a good first day on the right wing and he was able to get some big goals for us.” and Necas seemed to thrive and, after the game, spoke appreciatively of it. Without a doubt, if Necas becomes the star we all hope he does we can thank Vellucci for being in the right place at the right time for the organization.
tj. Necas was playing with Roy–at least in the third period, which I watched after the Canes game.
Apparently someone told the rookies that they belonged. I noticed on the fourth line’s first two shifts that Foegele was back to disrupting the puck in Toronto’s zone. He looked like he did in preseason and the first 5 games. As mentioned, Svechnikov played like advertised on draft day. Even Wallmark looked fully confident that he belonged and could contribute every shift whether on offense or defense.
The defensemen contributed on the first two goals. That is always a good sign. However, speaking of d-men, if there is a trade it really should be Hamilton. He has a good shot, but in pretty much every other aspect of the game he is not helping. On the Kapanen goal he looked like he was doing a drill where he was supposed to skate backward with the opposing forward but never engage. I keep expecting him to live up to his reputation. However, the top pairing isn’t working very well. Faulk is playing as well as any time in his career, Pesce/Slavin are a known top pair. Moving Hamilton for a scoring/playmaking forward makes the most sense.
I am torn on McElhinney. His history suggests that he should play only every fourth day. But he looks so good right now. I don’t know if anyone including the staff knows the correct answer.
Overall a fun game to watch and a good win.
Kapanen’s speed is remarkable. Off the charts. Given open ice north/south he makes everyone look slow, not just Hamilton. Great release, too. He has taken full advantage of Nylander’s contract hold out. Imagine that line up with Matthews healthy and Nylander under contract. There has to be a trade that improves both the Canes offense and the Leafs defense.
Penalty kill looked its best. TVR and Faulk were used the most. Both were solid. I wonder if this is a long-term change. Maybe with less open ice to cover those two are actually better defensively than Slavin and deHaan.