Oftentimes I review my game preview after a game is completed, and often parts of it missed the mark.
But today, I think my third point in the game preview cuts through the details of Thursday’s loss and hits the mark on where this team is right now and has too often been in recent years.
3) Dialed up intensity
In games where team has been challenged with adversity it has generally risen to the occasion in terms of dialing up the compete level. But the key is to be able to play desperate when things are actually not desperate to extend winning streaks even on off nights. With three days off, a couple team holiday activities and the approaching holiday season, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can negate any distractions and dial things up on the ice at 7pm tonight.
First giving credit where it is due, the Hurricanes did come out with the right level of intensity in the first period. But when not rewarded, they first dropped off task and later seemed to drop off in terms of a ‘find a way’ attitude.
As noted, the Hurricanes started strong. Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho both had breakaway attempts but did not score. Justin Williams had not one but two tip chances that skittered just wide of the net. And Sebastian Aho and Jordan Martinook had a couple near misses. But via lack of random luck on a couple near misses and a few big saves by Jonathan Bernier, the Hurricanes were not rewarded on the scoreboard. With Niklas Kronwall scoring through a screen on the power play midway through the first period, the scoreboard unfairly showed 1-0 Red Wings at the end of the first period.
The Hurricanes finally received just reward early in the second period when an Andrei Svechnikov laser finally found the net behind Bernier. From there, it is not clear if the team just let up or maybe was still pressing a bit in a tie game, but the second period was sub-par from a Hurricanes standpoint. The team had another bout of being sloppy with the puck and just lacking intensity at times. The game also took on an all-too-familiar ‘just keep shooting at random’ mentality that has become a telltale sign that the team is pressing and very often is a component of a disappointing loss. About midway through the period, Detroit scored its second net front presence goal when Frans Nielsen waltzed right past Dougie Hamilton to park in the shooting and tip a puck into the net minus any hindrance from Hamilton. Detroit would carry that 2-1 lead into the third period.
When the Wings scored their third net front goal early in the third period, the air seemed to come out of the Hurricanes. Whereas the second period was disappointing mostly because of its sloppiness and lack of attention to detail, the third period was disappointing because of the team’s lack of ‘find a way’ mentality. And instead of pushing harder down two goals, the team seemed to fade. The Hurricanes had a couple decent chances to pull within a goal late but never did and ultimately lost 4-1 after an empty-netter.
With the loss, the team is now 1-3-1 through the first five games of a stretch of six out of seven at home. And the team is suddenly back to the .500 mark where it started the season.
With tough opponents at home for a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday crunch time for the 2018-19 season is officially here.
Player and other notes
1) Continue to need more ugly goals
Justin Williams had two near misses in the first period, so the result could have been significantly different, but in a results business the Hurricanes were outscored 3-0 in net front goals and reverted back to ‘shoot at random’ without enough traffic once they were down in the second half of the game. For a team that lacks a ton of high-end scoring talent, the inability to consistently generate traffic and the ugly goals that come with it are a massive Achilles’ heel.
2) Dougie Hamilton
He continues to struggle. He lost a puck battle on the boards and then let Frans Nielsen waltz right by him across the top of the crease and to where the shot was coming from with no obstruction whatsoever. The result was a tip goal with Hamilton as a spectator. He also chose to keep checking to see if someone coming on a potential icing. Sure enough, because he decided keep checking instead of using his speed to fly at the puck, he ultimately lost the race. The biggest concern with Hamilton is that his struggles lately seem too often to be effort/intensity-related.
3) Andrei Svechnikov
He continues to be a bright spot right now. His goal was a laser of the goal scorer’s goal variety where he just flat out beat Bernier from a ways out.
4) Justin Williams leading the way
He did not get the results for it, but he is one player who did consistently go to the front of net and had two near miss tip attempts in the first period. A slight bounce another way, and this could have easily been a game where we extolled Williams leadership and willingness to do the dirty work to score.
5) Too many missed nets
Another side effect of struggling to score is the volume of times the Hurricanes had decent looks and missed the net altogether trying to be too perfect. The team’s scoring woes are starting to regularly creep into the mentality of how the team plays.
6) Desperately need to find a higher gear
With the team now back at .500 and traditional playoff teams rising, the Hurricanes desperately need to find a higher gear quickly before they find themselves in a traditional spot with a sizable deficit entering January.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a home match up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
Again, I am glad I was there on “free” (i.e., Black Friday STM voucher) tickets than having paid to see this game.
No intensity. Williams may have been net front some but he looked so slow and, like everyone else, out of sync. If ever a game needed a leader this might have been it??? With the puck on his stick Svech is all in – still finding the defensive hunger, which is I how I think Tripp put it during the game.
7 points behind Metro-3 with the Isles and Rangers ahead of us, 8 points out of the wildcard spot (and only 1 point above the ignominious Flyers???). That whooshing sound is the sound of our playoff hopes blowing past us.
Seriously, the better team won (and easily) tonight and if the Canes cannot rise to the occasion when things are slipping like this even with the change in coaching and team leadership that was supposed to make such a difference I don’t know what to say.
But Hurricanes hockey is not fun anymore.
You are correct the “better team” won. We can win stats all day long, but we just don’t capitalize (aka score). That’s why we lose to the Wings, Isles and other teams we statistically outplay (except on the score sheet).
Bottom line…’Canes are no better than the middling teams below the playoff bubble. I think management knows this more than ever and we could very well see some New Year changes.
Watching the Canes is a bit like suffering from constipation, same shit, different day (or rather same shit, different year).
I have officially lost all playoff opes for this season and if I were management I’d start the AHL auditions and do my best to tank mightily.
I’d say the Canes could try to execute a trade to boost the team, but the holiday freeze is on (plus people who trade with the Canes know they can get Canes players for peanuts, not even shelled peanuts at that).
Jordan Staal can’t score. He is not a fit for a team that is already 29th (maybe 30th) in goals and his return looks like a negative.
Rask cannot play in his condition, (maybe he can’t play at all, but he has a legitimate excuse) why can’t the Canes management/coaching see that?
The powerplay is anything but. The turning point in the game was the bonus powerplay the Canes got after the Red Wings unsuccessful challenge on the Svech goal which can at best be described at listless.
Hamilton doesn’t want to be here. He’s making yet another management trade look terrible. With these types of trades the team is never going to make the playoffs.
The second and third period were painful to watch. This team has lost “it.” Whatever they had in preseason and October is gone. Everything is great when you win, but now that they Canes aren’t winning….some players seem to be going in their own direction.
Brind’Amour was honest, and correct, with his comments. Individuals on the Canes start trying to do too much and it results in mistakes. Lots of them. On D it seemed everyone but Slavin and Faulk were out to lunch in the second and third. As far as playing hard enough, well, I’m not sure I’m with Brind’Amour there. Specifically, the forwards, with a few exceptions, aren’t willing to block shots. Justin Williams, I’m looking at you. Blocking shots isn’t optional in today’s NHL.
Apparently there was a big postgame players meeting. We’ll see how it goes, but I think it was a bad idea. With everyone angry and raw after the game it could have very easily devolved into finger pointing. Which brings me to Dougie Hamilton. Woof. This guy is killing the Canes. The team could have very easily turned on Hamilton in that meeting. The Canes need to somehow lift him up and get him to be part of the team and do things the right way. Berating him will just send him further down the rathole. Don’t know if you saw Faulk’s postgame interview, but that appeared to be Hamilton scrunching down and trying to avoid being on camera in the stall next to Faulk. If the Canes turn on each other now the season is over.
Whole team other than couple of players (Svetchnikov, ?) played a miserable game. I was there as usual and it was a bore made up of lousy execution by the Canes. Several players looked terrible led by Mr. Slavin. He was listless, slow, and it is easy to see why he is the worst in plus minus on the team. He refuses to skate with the puck and on one goal the Detroit player skated right around him and neatly tucked his shot into the net.
RBA after the game again gave us the “let’s stick to it” plug. Losses don’t seem to phase him. Of course, he isn’t paying for his seat. Guess that makes a difference. The team has no life on the ice and IMO RBA has no clue on how to coach a NHL team. We will be out of the race before January 1st the way things are going.
Sorry for the negativity, but I’ve given up on the management of this team from Waddell on down. There seems to be no desire to make any moves to shore up our weaknesses. We are over valuing our players IMO and seem afraid to make any move that would possibly improve this team. Players like DiG, McGinn, Foegele, Williams, Rask, etc. are just hangers on and don’t appear to have any potential to be anything but mediocre 4th line pluggers. RBA is in the process of mismanaging Ferland so that he too will follow Skinner out of town at season’s end or at the trade deadline even though he provides scoring and grit so badly needed. RBA has him not playing with Aho and TT where he was successful, but down on one of our two fourth lines playing with the pluggers.
Well, I’ve been silent for awhile, because if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything…