The hockey gods giveth and they taketh away. I feel that phrase sums up tonight’s game well as the Hurricanes suffered their second consecutive overtime loss and this time the game-winner goal came with less than two seconds left in overtime. To make matters worse, Carolina had a 38-28 even strength shot advantage and controlled this game for a good 40-some minutes but a few defensive breakdowns, two soft goals and a lackluster third period led to them taking the loss. The optimists will say look at how the Canes have earned points in both games of their Western Conference road trip but the way they lost both games will leave a bad taste in fans mouth for awhile. Tonight’s loss probably hurts more because the Canes let a good start and solid road effort go to waste and the only ones they have to blame are themselves.
However, the Canes do have some positive things to look at despite two heart-breaking losses. This is the second game in a row they have outshot a team at even strength, and on the road nonetheless. The problem was that it wasn’t a full 60-minute effort and they made some horrible defensive mistakes, Justin Faulk’s turnover to Ryan O’Reilly that caused the game-winning goal being the one that everyone will remember. Faulk screwed up there and he knows it but to put the entire blame on his shoulders is wrong because what doomed the Canes in this game was their effort after the first two periods. That’s all there is to it. The good news is that the Canes should win more games if they can continue to outshoot opponents on a regular basis.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Colorado Avalanche 2/10/12 Scoring chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina’s chances are in red, Colorado’s are in white
The Hurricanes were actually outchanced at even strength, which shows that a lot of their shots came from the perimeter or outside the scoring chance area. Getting shots on net is always a good thing but Carolina struggled to get into the prime scoring areas for all of the third period and overtime. I don’t know if it was the altitude or what but Carolina seemed to just fall off a cliff after the second period and couldn’t do anything offensively. They were forchecking strong for the first two periods and easily getting chances on Jean-Sebastian Giguere. It looked like a game that they should have won, but they didn’t play with that same intensity in the third period. They were playing not to lose the game while Colorado was playing to win and that was evident on their final powerplay opportunity.
The Canes gave up three chances in one shift while they were on the powerplay and that is just inexcusable in a tie game. The Avs could have easily ended it in regulation then if it wasn’t for Cam Ward making three great saves. Like I said earlier, the hockey gods giveth and they taketh away, which was the case when O’Reilly scored in overtime with less than two seconds left on a goal that Ward probably wants back. The Hurricanes failure to show up in the third period and capitalize on a late powerplay chance came back to haunt them big time. It’s yet another one goal loss and the eleventh one to happen in overtime or the shootout this year. Some might say the team is cursed but go back and look at each game you’ll see that there is a perfectly good reason for why they are losing these close games.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jiri Tlusty +4
Worst EV Forwards: Jeff Skinner & Jussi Jokinen -4
Best EV Defensemen: Bryan Allen & Tim Gleason +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Jaro Spacek -3
One thing that I hope isn’t overlooked is how good the first line played tonight. This line alone produced six of the team’s even strength chances when they played together as a unit and they also had two goals to show for it. Tlusty in particular played a great game as he was constantly driving the net and creating room for Ruutu and Staal. His season has had a lot of ups and downs and it’s looking like he’s going through another hot streak right now. Speaking of hot streaks, Ruutu might be the hottest player on the Canes right now as he was by far the team’s most effective player in the offensive zone tonight. He picked up two assists and led the team with nine shot attempts. Staal also played well as he scored his 14th goal of the season and was good offensively. Unfortunately, he ended up surrendering a lot of chances in the other end, too.
Another line that was particuarly strong in the offensive zone was Nodl-Sutter-Dwyer as they produced 13 shots on goal and had 20 shots attempted. They were also on ice for at least four scoring chances as a unit, which makes me wonder how they were kept off the scoresheet completely. They didn’t play that great defensively but the offensive is a welcomed addition, especially with the second line being held completely silent tonight. Skinner was mostly a non-factor at even strength and he did most of his work on the powerplay. Jokinen and Bowman were completely invisible and were caught in their own zone on that Hejduk goal.
Tim Brent had a strong game at both even strength and on the powerplay. His shooting percentage is unseasonably high right now but he isn’t playing bad so I’m not as concerned about it as I should be. He is doing well on the powerplay too. Honestly, his shooting percentage is in the teens and he still has only eight goals on the season so it’s not like the team is going to fall into a rut if he goes through a dry spell. I do wish that he would shoot the puck more, though. Chad LaRose on the other hand has an abysmally low shooting percentage and his underlying numbers are going in the completely wrong direction right now. I wonder if being on the fourth line has anything to do with it? Being on the fourth line certainly had nothing to do with him giving up three powerplay chances, though. I think it is safe to say that.
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison ended up seeing most of the O’Reilly line at even strength tonight and they both gave up a lot of scoring chances, as you could probably guess. They were also on ice for a lot of the Canes’ chances, too so they are at least pitching in at the other end of the rink. Faulk’s defensvie game really showed it’s flaws tonight, though.
Speaking of defensive games showing flaws, Spacek looked awful tonight and could have easily been on ice for at least two Avlanche goals instead of one. His footwork and defensive zone coverage was spotty at best tonight and it’s really going to be a problem down the line.
Gleason and Allen played well at even strength despite being on ice for two Avs goals. The first goal wasn’t necessarily their fault since Gleason did his job at forcing Landeskog to the outside and Ward gave up a weak goal. The second goal they were stuck defending a three on two because the Jokinen line got caught deep in their own zone and there was only so much they could do about it. They actually defended the Stastny line well for the most part as they were held silent outside of that goal.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- Like I said earlier, Gleason and Allen’s defense of the Stastny line was actually very good as those three did most of their damage against the Faulk/Harrison defense pairing. Conversely, Faulk/Harrison appeared to do a good job against O’Reilly’s line while Gleason/Allen struggled with that line.
- The McClement line was used a lot against the Staal line and they didn’t exactly mitigate Carolina’s big three at all. Neither did Colorado’s tough minute defense pairing of Jan Hejda and Ryan O’Byrne.
- Bowman and Jokinen failed to win any of their matchups while Skinner won only one of his. Erik Johnson & Kyle Quincey did a fine job against them.
- Impressive work from the Nodl-Sutter-Dwyer line as they outchanced nearly everyone they were put up against.
- McBain/Spacek were kept away from the Avalanche’s better players yet again. There’s a reason why they are on the third pairing.