I think most would agree that the Hurricanes dominated last night's game in just about every area. They shutout the Caps 4-0, had a huge advantage in even strength shots were most of the game and outworked them for most of the game. The only area that the Canes did not have a distinct advantage in was scoring chances. While they did crush Washington territorially, the Canes defense was still a bit leaky and gave up quite a few transition chances to the Caps. Most of these were one-and-done and the Canes ended up with a 20-17 advantage overall, but the defense gave up a lot of dangerous shots to Washington and had trouble dealing with the speed of some of their forwards.
The Hurricanes gave Justin Peters plenty of support last night with a three (eventually four) goal cushion, but he had to do a lot of work to earn his second career shutout and earned the first star honors. In addition to Peters' excellent performance in net, there were plenty of other things for Hurricanes fans to be happy about last night and the play of their second line should be near the top of the list.
Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals 3/12/13
This was sort of a "fire-wagon" type game for the first two periods going by the scoring chances, but the Hurricanes were the better team when it came to building a sustained attack. They dominated the offensive zone more, created more shots and ended up getting the advantage in scoring chances at even strength. The only problem was that they coughed the puck up at the blue-line a little too much and it led to the Caps creating a lot of their offense on the rush, especially in the first period. Washington never had many moments where they controlled possession in Carolina's zone, but they made the most of their opportunities and could have made this a closer game if it wasn't for Peters.
Carolina could have established more of an advantage in the scoring chance department with how often they had the puck, but the Caps did a good job of getting into the shooting lanes to deny their opportunities and blocking shots. That might look fine when it comes to preventing scoring chances, but the 21 shots they blocked compared to the 26 they got on goal shows how much the Hurricanes dominated them territorially. The only time Carolina wasn't controlling this game was in the third period where they chose to sit back with a three goal lead, which has becoming a trend with them lately.
Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Jussi Jokinen & Jordan Staal +5
Worst EV Forwards: Eric Staal & Alexander Semin -4
Best EV Defensemen: Justin Faulk & Jamie McBain +2
Worst EV Defensemen: Joe Corvo, Bobby Sanguinetti & Tim Gleason EVEN
It's a shame that neither Jordan Staal, Jussi Jokinen or Jeff Skinner got on the board last night because they were fantastic. They had a remarkable shift towards the end of the first period where they generated three scoring chances and just kept bringing it to the Capitals after that. This line is designated to be a scoring unit but in addition to that, they are also relied on to carry the play territorially and they did a hell of a job of that last night. Jokinen actually looks like a good fit on this line too since he isn't relied on to carry the mail as a winger.
The one line who did cash in on their opportunities was the third line of Riley Nash, Drayson Bowman and Patrick Dwyer, who produced two of the Hurricanes even strength goals last night. They were as active offensively as the second line, but they did a fine job of controlling possession and ended up getting two goals as the result of hard work by both Dwyer and Nash. Drayson Bowman also had his best game in quite awhile, even though he got the stuffing beat out of him in a fight with Steve Oleksy.
Both Eric Staal and Alexander Semim both recorded assists on Corvo's bank-shot goal but neither were much of a factor offensively. They've managed to get on the scoresheet despite being underwater in scoring chances in many of the last few games, so I'm not sure if they'll continue to score at this high of a pace for the rest of the season. Normally they are much better at driving the play so I'm not too concerned but I'd still be on the lookout for their scoring numbers to go down if this continues to happen. Hopefully the terrific play of Jordan Staal's line can help make up for that.
The defense corps' numbers reflect the rest of the team's pretty well. Faulk/Harrison dominated the Ovechkin line territorially, but were guilty of being on-ice for quite a few scoring chances against. The same thing can be said about the Gleason/Corvo defense pairing, only they started much more shifts in their own end, which makes their performance look a little more impressive than it appears here. McBain/Sanguientti had a very good game offensively and did a great job of keeping plays alive in the offensive zone, but they also struggled a bit in defending the Caps on the rush, mainly in the first period.
Captials Individual Scoring Chance Numbers
Best EV Forwards: Alexander Ovechkin & Marcus Johansson +3
Worst EV Forward: Jason Chimera -5
Best EV Defenseman: Jeff Schultz +5
Worst EV Defenseman: Karl Alzner -4
Ovechkin and Johansson started this game on the same line but they didn't really do much until they were separated sometime during the second period. Reuniting Ovechkin with Backstrom seemed to spark #8 a bit, as four of the five chances he was on-ice for came when he was on a line with Backstrom and one of Wolski or Chimera. That should be something for the Hurricanes coaching staff to keep an eye for the next game.
I know that most of the negative publicity in Washington after this game was directed towards Ovechkin and his zero shots on goal but many other players on their team had worse games. The worst offenders being their third line of Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and Matt Hendricks, who were crushed in the scoring chance department.
I'd also like to point out that Wojtek Wolski played only 10 shifts last night and managed to create four scoring chances despite that. His line with Mathieu Perrault and Jay Beagle were the ones who were throttled by Jordan Staal's line in the final stages of the first period and yet, Wolski managed to come away in the black in scoring chances. Why did he play only 10 shifts again?
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
Defensive depth was going to be an issue for the Caps with the injuries they had and that showed up in a big way with Alzner & Kundratek getting mowed over by the Jordan Staal line. The Caps were able to keep Eric Staal's line in check, but his younger brother exposed a favorable matchup in a big way to help make up for it. The Canes third line also did a great job of winning their matchup against the Ward-Hendricks-Chimera line of the Caps.
|2||CAR||14:03||Nash – GOAL||20||39||21||27||44||35||26||42||25||45||61||70||5v5|
|2||CAR||1:34||Nash – GOAL||20||39||21||6||77||35||9||90||42||55||74||70||5v5|