For the third consecutive week, the Carolina Hurricanes stumbled early in the week but won the last game of the week to gain back some of what was lost. The Hurricanes hockey .500 record and six-point gap (based on games above .500) below the final playoff spot is still not a good place to be heading into the break, but the win did at least offer one holiday home win and a bit of a break from too much losing.
The formula was actually fairly simple. The team’s top line went off to the tune of four goals combined from Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Once the top scorers produce that, the microscope on everything else goes away and a game can hold a reasonable number of errors and still generate a win.
The win was made more impressive by the fact that the Canes survived an early two-goal deficit and did not collapse/wither under the pressure.
The past few weeks clearly illustrate that it takes more than an intermittent good win to be a turning point and chart a path upward, but any chance of a turnaround has a better chance starting at one win than at zero.
Player and other notes
1) Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho
The game was easily Teuvo Teravainen’s best of the 2018-19 season. His first goal was more lucky than good, but he made plays on the puck throughout the game and then made quick and simple decisions once he had it. He was decisive, and he also finished into a corner when given the chanc. Sebastian Aho was similarly assertive, productive and impressive. While the team could definitely benefit from a scoring run by the top line, it does still need to find more scoring from other sources.
Ironically, the fluky bad angle goal off of a Boston defenseman combined with Aho’s soft goal right through Tuuka Rask could also prove to be a huge positive going forward. Both could encourage both players who lean ‘one more pass’ too often sometimes to more often just put the puck on the net.
2) Jordan Martinook
More than any other player on the team, Jordan Martinook gets the pulse and situation of the team. In games where the team needs to come out with a bang to fight through whatever self-doubt it enters with, Martinook is Johnny on the spot. In Sunday’s win, he blew up a Bruins defenseman with a huge hit on his first shift and then continued to lead the way early on with hard skating and rugged play.
3) Clark Bishop
He is not the most gifted option depth-wise, nor does he have the highest ceiling offensively. But he gets what he needs to do when he is on the ice. He was the net front presence on the Faulk goal and filled that role for at least two other near misses as well. His ceiling might be that of a fourth-liner, but when given NHL ice time, he makes a strong case for filling this role.
4) Calvin de Haan and Justin Faulk
The team’s top defense pairing had another strong game. Faulk’s goal through the Bishop scree was the highlight, but more than anything, they just continue to play pretty solid hockey.
5) Whaler day
As someone who adopted the franchise when it arrived in North Carolina in 1997, I am not qualified to comment on the controversial situation except to say that I hope at least some Whaler fans enjoyed the return of the sharp Whalers uniforms and the bit of nostalgia.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a three-day break for the entire league followed by a road-heavy stretch that starts with a tough road match up against the Capitals on Thursday.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention the first sighting of the Svetch-Aho-TT line … so I will. It looked like a going concern. I also liked Svetch’s feistiness in the crease and after the whistle – although that might have been as much BOS being BOS.
Even though he didn’t score, Dougie seemed to be more engaged. Needless to say, if his play picks up …
Up and down the ice with a lot of chances for both teams. An entertaining game to watch. And we scored 5 goals and the Bergeron-Marchard line had two (secondary) assists and no goals. And we were missing JStaal … hmm … Maybe he wasn’t 100% against PIT and (like Ferland) came back too soon.
Another thing to mention is just how good the combination of Aho and Turbo on the PK is becoming. Two SHGs last night, of course. Their combined presence on the PK tends to tilt the ice the other way.
I really didn’t get the controversy about Whaler night. I wouldn’t have come up with the idea myself but comments like Wesley made on Twitter I thought sounded bizarre to say the least. It’s great marketing, of course, with a big surge in product sales. That’s business. Most current fans have only known the franchise as the Canes. And, if I am not mistaken, this is the first time in major sports history that a franchise did a throwback to it’s former team identity. That, in itself, is disruptive in a commendable sort of way – the same way the post-win Storm Surges are.
I guess the boys didn’t like being accused by their captain publicly (as a team; not individually) of lacking mental toughness.
Whoever thought of this strategy must know how to deal with these young human men. But it couldn’t have been Roddy or any of his assistants. They are too stupid. And none of them have any experience as NHL head coaches. Willy has no experience as a head coach, so it couldn’t have been him.
I know! It had to be the guy who heads up our statistics department. Everybody knows that stats people are hockey geniuses. Never having played the game themselves, they are not encumbered with the antiquated notions by which the likes of Roddy and Willy are guided.
I am so relieved! We are saved by a genius. The robots will now perform as we want them to perform. Roddy and Willy will soon be forced to resign.
Statistical analytics will save us all!
Of course, taking the humanity out of the game will make it too boring for me.
I’ll be watching badminton.
Merry Christmas everybody!
My son and I were at the game–we are 3-0 over the past two holidays.
My perspective is that the game was an inversion of the season to this point. Outside of the Martinook hit that Matt mentioned, the Canes looked to be replicating the Pittsburgh game. Then Teravainen got a lucky bounce and everything changed. As the first period ended my son was concerned that the Bruins would score on the PP to open the second. I said jokingly that the Canes were due for a shorty. Teravainen seemed to have a weight lifted due to his fluke goal. He was fast, physical, and downright dominant on that penalty kill and the entire second period. Most folks rightly worry that Teravainen is dependent on Aho. But last night it seemed like TT took charge, which elevated Aho’s play. By the way both the Finns don’t get enough credit for being good defensively.
I agree with dmiller that Hamilton looked much more engaged and used his strength, which I hadn’t seen much this year. I have been quite skeptical, but if he plays that style of hockey he will be a regular contributor.
Victor Rask also had some noticeably good shifts. tj mentioned that he is likely still gaining full use of his injured fingers. He may yet become the Rask of 15-16.
The unavoidable question is becoming what to do with Jordan Staal. With the excellent blue line (and Wallmark’s and Bishop’s play) Staal’s defense is not as essential as it was the past two seasons. His ability to create scoring is becoming a problem. Maybe it is time to test his market value.
I really like Jordan – he has true and is a gentleman to the fans, and he is well respected on ice and in the locker room. I really likes what he brings to the team.
But in the past several weeks my thoughts have started drifting the same way. He has been the horse that has carried us, but he still has high market value and either by himself or as a package he could net a huge return. And as much as he may say he wants to stay in Charlotte, I cannot imagine he would not to be on a team that is an immediate playoff/cup contender. In that sense it is not a repudiation, but a reward for his hard work here.
We will see how it plays out.
Stay in Charlotte = Stay in Raleigh. What a whoopsie on my part! LOL!
I’m disappointed, Matt. There is an alarming lack of Pucky the Whale in this recap.
After a “here we go again” first period, this game was awesome to watch.
I have zero problem with the throwback, going to a game is more than watching a team play, it should be an experience, and theme nights and special event nights provide something different.
Trip and John were seriously nostalgic on the broadcast, you can tell this meant a lot to them personally.
I think the team should seriously explore what they could get for a package of Jordan Staal and an RHD (or individually).
This home stand was at least 2 points short of adequate, I’d say 3 points, and we’re dangerously close to “too little, too late” area for the season, but watching the game without that context was great, our Finish had some Finish, our D did the job, for the most part, Mrazek was all right in goal (better than Tuka) and the Canes didn’t let up big time in the third.
Svech took two penalties I think and this was not his best game, but the kid is learning. Nice that some guys actually went to the net, Faulk and Hamilton were playing good games too, Mr. H has to figure it out with his new team, he can be an offensive dynamo when he’s in the zone.
Team played well (everybody) and RBA seems to have gotten the word to the boys that they need to pick up the tempo. Maybe Rod is better communicating with the guys in the locker room than he is after games with the press. Anyway, congrats to the entire coaching staff for righting the ship.
The stands were full and the atmosphere was sensational and the team really put on a fine show. Win or lose, if they can reproduce this type of effort on a regular basis, then I’m with them all the way.
Regarding the comments of other contributors:
1. dmilleravid…good points as usual. Just would highlight that Hamilton played a “whale” of a game. Alright, as far as humor goes I’m not a Foxworthy. Maybe I’m more along the lines of a Dangerield. I get no respect. The wife has a term for me when it comes to humor (only humor I think)…its “dud.” Come to think of it, she did use the term to also describe my level of hockey intelligence.
2. raleightj…I agree with his comments entirely. I too don’t get what the controversy is about. It was a great atmosphere in the arena.
3. pwrlss…I think he was right about Roddy and the staff getting the word to the team. I don’t understand the point of the rest of his comments.
4. ctcaniac along with raleightj’s comments… good points IMO from both as usual. Regarding Staal, I have the same views as those expressed. My buddy at the game and I discussed this very issue at the game. Believe me. Staal rates very high with me and my buddy. We discussed the possibility of trading him to accomplish two things. First, to bring needed assets in return and secondly, as just as important to us, was to give Jordan a chance to play on a Cup contending team again but only if Jordan wants to go elsewhere for this purpose. He has been carrying the Canes on his back for several seasons now without much help. It looks like its going to take the Canes a season or two more to be Cup contenders at the soonest.
5. Brandon…having some fun I assume. Nothing wrong with that.
6. breezy…hit most of the highlights. Good comments IMO.