What a time to be alive as a Hurricanes fan. Even when the team puts forward a B effort, the result is still regularly an exciting win.
The Hurricanes were not horrible on Thursday night, but it was far from their best effort. The team had stretches where it had the upper hand territorially and/or in terms of possession but did not do enough to generate grade A chances. Coupled with a couple net front presence goals by the Predators and the Hurricanes were down 2-0 late in the second period and seemingly destined for a loss. But a series of a mini-power play-fueled scoring burst, a couple cat with nine lives near misses when Nashville hit the post late in regulation and again in overtime and the team’s usual overtime heroics converted the effort into the team’s sixth win in a row.
Player and other notes
1) Special teams
The difference in the game was special teams. In a game heavy on power play time, the Hurricanes scored two goals on six tries with the man advantage, while holding the Predators scoreless on five tries. That two goal advantage was the totality of the Hurricanes regulation scoring and was enough to get the Hurricanes to overtime.
2) Jordan Staal
Who is starting to believe my assertion that Jordan Staal cut a Robert Johnson-like deal with the devil during his COVID layoff likely when sneaking out late at night in Chicago to wander the streets looking for answers? Is there a better explanation for Staal’s sudden ability to pick even the tiniest of corners with sniper-like precision. He was the difference-maker on a lesser night for his team with a perfectly placed power play finish into the far upper corner of the net and then his bar in shot far side in overtime to finish off the win.
3) Alex Nedeljkovic
Both of the goals against were through screens. Part of a goalie’s job is to find sight lines through traffic, so I do not completely give goalies exemptions on shots through traffic. But they are goals against that are much easier to live with, and aside from those two through traffic Nedeljkovic was perfect.
4) Martin Necas
Necas was not on the score sheet, but his comfort level playing with the puck on his stick and using his skating ability to push pace and pressure the defense continues to rise. Increasingly, he is seeking and finding opportunities to push into the teeth of the defense instead of just to the outside. His transformation to becoming a high-end playmaker even if doing from the wing position.
Next up for the Hurricanes is what could be a heated rematch on Thursday at PNC Arena.