Once again, the Hurricanes were involved in a game where they were playing from behind and ended up having a huge lead in shots and scoring chances partially because of it. Don't get me wrong, Carolina having an advantage in shots and scoring chances for yet another game is a good thing in the long-run, but it's still very early in the year and I'm not sure how much stock can be put in these numbers since the Hurricanes are being forced to play catch-up in almost every game they've played in. The good news is that Carolina had the slight upper-hand at even strength when the game was close and that should lead to more wins down the line. The bad news is that it may not matter as much if their special teams continue to be as bad as they've been this season.
Even strength play is often what leads to more wins but it's worth noting that there are more penalties being called this year, so special teams play could have a bigger impact than usual. Not being able to score on the powerpaly or kill penalties could be the difference in a team making the playoffs and the Hurricanes are currently on the wrong end of that.
Scoring chance breakdown coming after the jump.
Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers 2/2/13
The funny thing about Carolina's struggles on the penalty kill is that they were able to create three shorthanded chances and only allowed three against. Unfortunately, the three chances they allowed ended up in the back of their net. Bad luck? One could argue that but the penalty killers were at fault for every goal they allowed. They let Kurtis Foster have an open shot from inside the faceoff circle ont he first goal, couldn't keep Danny Briere from getting to the front of the net on the second one and allowed Tye McGinn to effortlessly screen Cam Ward on Claude Giroux's goal. Sure, it looks like the Hurricanes are running into some bad fortune when you look at the raw numbers but Carolina's struggles on the PK are more self-inflicted than anything else.
Same goes for their powerplay which generated five scoring chances…in over eleven minutes of ice-time.They only created one scoring chance on three powerplay opportunities in the second period but added on four in the third when they were playing down three goals. It was at that point where the Flyers could survive by blocking shots and simply icing the puck without any penalty. The Hurricanes did a good job of trying to battle back while the Flyers were playing in conservative mode and they managed to at least score one goal on the powerplay, but it's bad that they were in that situation to begin with.
Carolina's play at even strength is acceptable but they need to stop digging themselves into holes on the powerplay.
Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Jeff Skinner +4
Worst EV Forwards: Drayson Bowman & Patrick Dwyer -1
Best EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason +4
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -1
The Flyers were in a defensive shell for the entire third period, which led to the even strength numbers being skewed in Carolina's favor. Some of these players did play as well as their underlying numbers indicate, though and one of them is Alexander Semin. He led the team with six shots on goal and fired 10 total shots at the net last night. This wasn't even one of his best games because the Flyers blocked three of his shots and they forced a good few of them to the perimeter. Despite that, he was still very effective in the offensive zone along with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty. If there is one player who is due for a scoring outbreak, it's him.
Another player who had a strong night going by scoring chances is Jeff Skinner, who was on-ice for seven of the 12 scoring chances Carolina created at even-strength. His line with Dalpe and Jordan Staal were the ones on-ice for Braydon Coburn's goal but they had a few very good shifts together including one where they produced three scoring chances. I've had my doubts about Skinner playing tough minutes but he looked a lot better in this game, poor back-checking aside. Zac Dalpe also looked solid on this line and Kirk Muller eventually swapped him with Chad LaRose for some reason. I'm hoping that move was only temporary because Dalpe was much more effective offensively than LaRose.
The third line had a poor outing at even strength going by the numbers but the errors by the forwards were more egrigious on the penalty kill than at even strength. Dwyer, Gleason and Brent were on-ice for all three Flyer powerplay goals and Dwyer didn't look good at all on the first two. It's also worth pointing out the first penalty kill unit were the ones who were on-ice for all three powerplay goals against, while Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty yielded no shorthanded chances and produced three of their own. Pretty easy to see where things went wrong there.
Justin Faulk and Tim Gleason were able to keep Giroux's line in check at even strength and played a good game overall, but the one mistake they made ended up being a goal for the Flyers. Faulk misplayed a pass by Dan Ellis, which led to Mike Knuble scoring on a wrap-around. Young defensemen are going to make mistakes no matter how good they are and Faulk made a huge one there. Bobby Sanguientti and Jay Harrison also ended up being on-ice for more chances than they gave up, but they were guilty of a bad play that resulted in a goal against. A failed dump-in by Harrison and a bad pinch by Sanguinetti led to a transition chance the other way and Coburn scoring on a rebound. It's unfortunate that this is going to be what they are remembered for more than anything else.
Joni Pitkanen and Jamie McBain were the only defense pairing that weren't on-ice for a goal against and they were also on-ice for all three Carolina goals with Pitkanen scoring the first one. They are certainly doing their jobs in terms of producing offense but they are still giving up a lot at the other end. McBain was on-ice for half of the Flyers even strength scoring chances and Pitkanen ended up being only even. Pitkanen also had six of his shots blocked, so he had plenty of opportunities to create offense, but he just couldn't seem to get much past the Flyers defense.
Flyers Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Max Talbot & Jakub Voracek +1
Worst EV Forward: Danny Briere -6
Best EV Defenseman: Kimmo Timonen +3
Worst EV Defenseman: Bruno Gervais -3
The Flyers top line took a beating while the rest of their top-nine did alright at even strength. Their defense also had a rough night overall aside from Kimmo Timonen, who always seems to play well against Carolina. I wonder how much score effects have to do with Briere, Giroux & McGinn's numbers looking so poor because I don't remember them playing much in the third period.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
A matchup I was interested to see was Jordan Staal against Claude Giroux and it looks like J. Staal got the better of it. I think a lot of it was due to that one shift in the second period where Jordan's line produced three scoring chances against the Giroux line but it was good to see them show that kind of effort. Carolina actually did a fine job of shutting down Giroux at even strength, they just couldn't do much about the Flyers second and third lines, which is pretty bad. Pitkanen & McBain had a lot of trouble with the Flyers second line according to this chart as they were outchanced by two. I was expecting more out of the Bowman-Jokinen-Dwyer unit after their performance against Ottawa but they couldn't produce much offense last night.
Let's hope that Carolina's efforts at even strength can start to translate into more wins soon, because it's getting tiring seeing everything good they do be wiped away due to poor special teams.
Scoring Chance Report
|1||PHI||14:52||Foster – GOAL||37||39||6||44||31||10||14||9||24||3||30||4v5|
|1||CAR||11:13||Pitkanen – GOAL||12||19||28||4||25||31||10||25||93||5||27||30||5v5|
|1||PHI||5:33||Coburn – GOAL||11||22||53||24||44||31||10||25||93||5||27||30||5v5|
|1||PHI||4:35||Briere – GOAL||37||39||6||27||31||48||28||93||15||44||30||4v5|
|1||CAR||4:03||E. Staal – GOAL||12||19||28||4||25||31||14||9||24||5||22||30||5v5|
|2||PHI||19:08||Knuble – GOAL||12||19||28||6||27||31||14||9||24||22||44||30||5v5|
|2||PHI||7:17||Giroux – GOAL||37||39||25||44||30||48||28||93||15||44||30||4v5|
|3||CAR||16:31||Dwyer – GOAL||11||53||39||4||27||30||25||26||5||8||30||5v4|