Last night's 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins was easily the most frustrating loss for the Hurricanes in this young season. The team got off to a poor start and fell in a 2-0 hole but managed to battle back and had the Bruins right where they wanted them at the second intermission. Unfortunately, they could not capitalize on this opportunity and came out flat for the third period which resulted in them being stuck in their own end for most of that frame and the Bruins eventually taking advantage of it by scoring a late third period goal. It was a classic case of one team playing to win and the other simply trying not to lose. Whether this was due to the Canes top players being worn out from playing too many minutes or simply being outworked by the Bruins is something that's up for discussion but either way, it was not pretty to watch.
Scoring chance breakdown coming after the jump.
Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes 1/28/13
The Hurricanes had a slight upper-hand at even strength for the first forty minutes, but that was ruined by their terrible performance in the third period. Combine that with a miserable performance on the powerplay and you have a recipe for a loss. It's frustrating because the Hurricanes had a chance to possibly at least earn a point despite their bad performance on the powerplay but the better team won in the end. It's kind of hard to win when you give up that many chances shorthanded anyway. Losing the special teams battle wasn't the main reason why Carolina lost this game (see the third period) but it certainly played a huge factor.
Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Alexander Semin +4
Worst EV Forwards: Jeff Skinner & Chad LaRose -4
Best EV Defensemen: Jamie McBain & Joni Pitkanen +5
Worst EV Defensemen: Jay Harrison & Tim Gleason -6
Once again, the top line did their job last night of winning the scoring chance battle and Alex Semin had a terrific night by being on ice for over half of the chances the Hurricanes manufactured. Every other line struggled, though as Jordan Staal had a rough night defensively as did Jeff Skinner. It's also getting really frustrating watching the Canes third line because they haven't played much of a factor at all this year offensively. Patrick Dwyer and Drayson Bowman seem to be the only bottom-six forwards who are carrying the play at all and that needs to improve. Not that their contributions aren't appreciated, but Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen need to be a lot better. Scoring depth wasn't supposed to be an issue for this team but the top two lines aren't going to carry the mail every game, so the bottom-six needs to step up eventually.
On defense, it was a similar story as the guys playing the most minutes had the strongest outing last night. Joni Pitkanen and Jamie McBain actually looked like a legit first-pairing, which is something we haven't seen in quite a long time. They were creating a high amount of offense, not giving up that much to the Bruins second line and contributing in both special teams areas. The only blunder I noticed from them last night was McBain losing an edge at the blue-line which led to a shorthanded chance against. Other than that, he had a pretty solid night.
The return of Justin Faulk can not come soon enough. Gleason is clearly struggling without him and Jay Harrison looked very poor as a replacement for him on the shutdown pair. Having Faulk back would also take some pressure off McBain and Pitkanen since they probably won't have to play 25-30 minutes every night. Not that they aren't capable of it, but the team looked worn down and tired by the third period and a large part of that was due to the top players being forced to do everything. If Sanguinetti and Corvo were playing better then maybe this wouldn't be an issue but this is what Carolina's defense is right now and they have to do their best to make the most of it.
Bruins Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Chris Kelly +4
Worst EV Forwards: Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille -3
Best EV Defenseman: Dougie Hamilton +4
Worst EV Defenseman: Andrew Ference -3
Kirk Muller did a pretty good job with utilizing the last change last night. He was able to get the top-six out against Boston's bottom defense pairing of Ference and Johnson a few times. You can tell from the numbers here who won that battle. Unfortunately, none of Carolina's third liners could not do anything against the Peverley-Kelly-Bourque line and the B's second defense of Hamitlon & Seidenberg pretty much rolled anything Carolina threw at them. Peverley also did some great work on the PK for Boston.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
Bergeron's line didn't win the matchup against either of the Staal units but they were able to neutralize Carolina's top-six whenever they were on-ice against each other. Eric Staal's line also did some great work against the top line from Boston every time they were on-ice against each other. They were also able to outchance Chara/Boychuk at even strength, which is no easy task. Unfortunately, Jordan Staal's line lost their matchup against that same unit and struggled to do much of anything when they were on-ice against the Bruins top-nine.
In other news, let's forget the Gleason/Harrison pairing ever happened.
Scoring Chance Script
|1||BOS||16:44||Marchand – GOAL||19||59||36||4||77||30||37||63||33||55||35||5v4|
|1||BOS||13:46||Chara – GOAL||19||37||4||25||30||19||46||18||17||33||35||4v5|
|1||CAR||5:10||McBain – GOAL||12||19||28||4||44||30||46||63||18||33||55||35||5v5|
|2||BOS||4:08||Horton – GOAL||11||22||53||6||44||30||46||18||17||33||55||35||5v5|
|2||CAR||2:05||Skinner – GOAL||11||53||28||24||77||30||11||20||22||21||45||35||5v5|
|2||CAR||1:15||E. Staal – GOAL||12||19||28||4||25||30||23||49||48||27||44||35||5v5|
|3||BOS||1:50||Krejci – GOAL||53||59||36||6||44||30||46||18||17||27||44||35||5v5|