It's a new year, which means that it's time to restart our regular breakdowns of the Hurricanes scoring chance numbers. Wish that I could begin this on a happier note but the Hurricanes didn't get off to the start they planned last night, losing their season opener 5-1 to the Florida Panthers. I know that breaking down the gruesome details of a blowout loss is never fun, but it's a necessary evil that us statisticians have to do and the numbers from last night's game actually aren't as the score indicates. This was something I refuted a few times in the recap and on Twitter, but Carolina played a fairly strong game at even strength and ended up on the ugly end of a loss thanks to terrible discipline, penalty killing and sub-par goaltending. It would have been a completely different game if a few more breaks went their way in the second and third period. That's just the way the puck rolls sometimes, though.
Scoring chance breakdown is coming after the jump.
For those who need a memory refresher, a scoring chance is a shot on goal that comes from what is considered a "dangerous scoring area," which is defined by this diagram. Unfortunately, Vic Ferrari's scoring chance scripts have not been updated for this season, but I was able to do the same breakdown manually using Excel and NHL.com's play-by-play sheets.
Hurricanes vs. Panthers 1/19/13 Scoring Chances
Carolina's chances are in red, Florida's are in white
The first period was pretty even during 5v5 play but Florida jumped out on top thanks to a few powerplay opportunities that they took full advantage of. Carolina was the better team at even strength the rest of the way, mostly because they were playing from behind but they were doing more than just firing blanks at the net. Jose Theodore really had to go out of his way a few times to maintain Florida's strong lead because the Canes had more than a few great chances in the second and third period.
Both the powerplay and penalty kill should be a major cause for concern for the Canes if this continues. They were shorthanded a little less than five minutes last night and gave up seven scoring chances, which is pretty atrocious. Four of them came while they were playing at a two-man disadvantage, though and that's usually tough to overcome no matter what. The powerplay creating only three scoring chances in 10 minutes of 5v4 may have been just as big of a problem, especially with the stronger top-six the Canes have now. Florida constantly handed Carolina chances to get back into this game by taking dumb penalties and they couldn't take advantage of it. That needs to change.
Carolina Player Breakdown
Best EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen +6
Worst EV Forward: Zach Boychuk -3
Best EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk +9
Worst EV Defensemen: Jay Harrison & Bobby Sanguinetti -2
The new third line proved to be a moderate success as Jussi Jokinen, Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose were creating chances left and right while playing relatively soft minutes. I'm not sure how long this unit will stay together, though because one of them could be promoted to the first line after how Zach Boychuk played on Eric Staal's wing last night. Staal didn't exactly have a great game himself either as he didn't register a chance until the third period and was ineffective offensively. This wasn't the case for Semin, who had some success while playing away from Eric.
Pitkanen and Faulk were all over the place last night. They had a terrific game in terms of creating scoring chances but their high-risk style of play nearly cost the Canes a few times last night. Pitkanen seemed to jump into the play every chance he got and while it did work for him this time, it may not work out so well in a games that aren't blowouts. Faulk also had a couple of questionable decisions in his own end but he managed to bail himself out before they turned into anything dangerous for Florida. I was expecting Harrison and Sanguinetti to have a stornger offensive performance but they turned in a very rough night in sheltered minutes. Yikes. Harrison was also torched on the PK, as were Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal.
Florida Individual Chances
Best EV Forward: Mike Santorelli +2
Worst EV Forwards: Tomas Kopecky & Scottie Upshall -5
Best EV Defenseman: Filip Kuba +2
Worst EV Defenseman: Brian Campbell -6
This is generally what most individual scoring chance numbers will look like when your team is outshot 33-16 at even strength. The most shocking line here might be Brian Campbell's -6, but both of his goals came on the powerplay and saw a lot of time against Skinner & Jokinen. Filip Kuba actually did a better job at playing in his own end as he was very good on the PK and kept Carolina's first line in check for the most part.
Huberdeau, Kovalev and Mueller had a first period for the ages last night but they seemed to cool down a bit after that. Kovalev actually had a pretty weak night defensively despite the strong scoring line of a goal and two assists. I actually thought Weiss' line was relatively quiet other than a few good chances by Tomas Fleischmann but these three were some of the only Florida players to come out on the positive side of the scoring chance ledger.
Carolina outplayed Florida at even strength overall but the Hurricanes top-line could not get the job done in a head-to-head matchup with Florida's top unit. Carolina's other lines did a fine job when it came to creating scoring chances but they are going to need their first line to play a lot better than they did last night.
|1||FLA||16:23||Huberdeau – GOAL||11||22||53||24||44||30||11||88||27||51||55||60||5v5|
|1||FLA||13:18||Campbell – GOAL||12||19||25||44||30||11||88||27||82||51||60||4v5|
|1||FLA||3:13||Campbell – GOAL||11||6||27||30||9||88||27||14||51||60||3v5|
|1||FLA||2:33||Upshall – GOAL||19||21||6||27||30||11||88||19||14||51||60||4v5|
|2||FLA||16:25||Kovalev – GOAL||11||22||53||6||77||31||11||88||27||4||17||60||5v5|
|2||CAR||10:45||Dwyer – GOAL||12||37||39||21||25||27||9||13||14||23||62||60||6v5|