CanesWild110913

Game 17 By the Numbers: Wild at Hurricanes

The Hurricanes losing streak against Western Conference continued this past Saturday as they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Minnesota Wild. This was one of those games where the Hurricanes did a lot of good things and had plenty of opportunities to win, but they simply could not finish and the game ended up going to a skills competition. People can talk about how poorly Carolina has faired in shootouts recently, but the fact that their games keep getting to that point is more of a problem in my eyes. Scoring has been a pretty big issue all season long and while the Hurricanes have put together a nice point-streak, they are still starving for goals right now and it is really holding them back. 

You don't need to be a powerhouse to win in the NHL, but the Hurricanes are currently averaging fewer than two goals per game and only the Flyers have fewer total goals on the season. That obviously isn't going to get it done and Saturday's loss was a fine example of that. The game wasn't all bad, as the Hurricanes managed to hang tough against one of the Western Conference's better teams but they have to start getting the offense going if they want this point-streak to go any further.

This begs the question: Are the Hurricanes scoring woes a matter of the team not being able to finish or has their offense on the decline from last year? In the case of this game, it was a little of both.

Fenwick Timeline from Extra Skater

The Wild are one of the best possession teams in the NHL and the Hurricanes did a pretty good of staying with them in a close game. Scoring issues aside, that is very encouraging. It was also nice to see the Canes have a good response after the Wild scored on their first shot of the night and not have that disrupt their game plan. Carolina really took it to the Wild in the third period and had plenty of opportunities to jump ahead late, but most of their best chances either missed the net or were stopped by goaltender Josh Harding. They were some phases in this game where the Canes looked off, but they did a pretty good job overall at even strength and could have earned two points instead of one if they did a better job of finishing.

Scoring Chances

Period Total 5v5 PP 5v3 SH 3v5 4v4 EN
1 2 5 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 5 5 4 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 5 3 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
OT 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0
Totals 13 13 11 10 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0

Carolina fell into an old bad habit by coming out slow in the first period but managed to escape the frame with the score tied thanks to Ryan Murphy getting a bit of a lucky bounce on his goal. Their performance in the rest of the game was much better and they came out really strong in the third period. However, one gripe I do have is that they still aren't creating that many chances. The Wild are known for sucking the life out of the opposing team's forecheck, but in a game that was tied for 85% of the time, the Hurricanes should have created more than 13 chances with how much zone time they had compared to Minnesota's. This has been a reoccurring problem for them this year and this helps explain their scoring troubles, as well.

Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH 4v4
4 Andrej Sekera 20:15 4 4 1:22 0 0 2:41 0 0   0 1
7 Ryan Murphy 17:11 3 6 3:37 2 0 0:07 0 0   1 2
11 Jordan Staal 12:59 5 3 1:10 0 0 2:53 0 0   0 3
12 Eric Staal  18:34 4 3 3:48 2 0 0:22 0 0   1 0
14 Nathan Gerbe 13:36 5 3 1:58 1 0 1:54 0 1   1 0
15 Tuomo Ruutu 9:29 1 3 0:59 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
18 Radek Dvorak 10:58 2 2 0:09 0 0 2:31 1 1   0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty 16:47 3 1 2:28 0 0 0:00 0 0   1 2
20 Riley Nash 10:15 1 2 0:00 0 0 2:13 1 1   0 0
21 Drayson Bowman 10:25 1 2 0:09 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
22 Manny Malhotra 11:16 1 2 0:41 1 0 3:03 0 1   0 0
27 Justin Faulk 19:18 5 3 1:38 0 0 4:31 0 1   0 1
28 Alexander Semin 18:00 4 3 3:56 2 0 0:16 0 0   0 2
39 Patrick Dwyer 12:07 5 3 0:03 0 0 2:48 0 0   0 1
44 Jay Harrison 12:21 2 6 0:00 0 0 1:45 0 0   0 0
58 Chris Terry  9:28 1 2 2:04 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
65 Ron Hainsey 17:43 4 1 0:14 0 0 3:34 1 2   0 0
73 Brett Bellemore 15:31 4 1 0:12 0 0 3:22 1 1   0 0
35 Justin Peters  51:12 11 10 5:07 2 0 8:00 1 2   1 3

Best EV Forwards: Jordan Staal, Jiri Tlusty, Patrick Dwyer & Nathan Gerbe +2

Worst EV Forward: Tuomo Ruutu -2

Best EV Defensemen: Ron Hainsey & Brett Bellemore +3

Worst EV Defenseman: Jay Harrison -4

Jordan Staal's line had another night of solid play and not much to show for it. The FS-Carolinas broadcast crew was complementary of his play and rightfully so. The Hurricanes had the Wild pinned into their own zone whenever he, Gerbe & Dwyer were on the ice, outshooting them 20-8 when Staal was on the ice during five-on-five play. This is hasn't been anything out of the usual from Jordan and it was resulting in some more chances this time around. Unfortunately, Dwyer was the one who had the majority of those chances and he hit the goal-post on one of them and was stopped by Harding on his others. Saying that this line did everything but score would be an accurate assessment because they played a very good game and went home empty-handed.

One player who did get rewarded for his play was Jiri Tlusty. He was benched in the first period after taking two penalties but aside from that, he had one of his better games of the season. He scored his third goal of the season after a centering pass by Alex Semin deflected right to him at the front of the net and did a pretty good job at controlling scoring chances. The only negative side is that him, along with Eric Staal, were crushed on the shot clock at even strength. This is a little strange because both had solid games by scoring chances but their territorial play was off for their standards. The fourth line was also destroyed territorially but they had the burden of starting the majority of their shifts in the defensive zone, so I won't be too hard on them. 

Two players who were on the receiving end of some poor luck were Brett Bellemore & Ron Hainsey, who played a fantastic game and on the ice for only one Minnesota scoring chance during five-on-five play. That chance was Justin Fontaine's goal and neither of them were at fault for it, as it came off a deflection in the slot right after Minnesota's power play expired. Bellemore's had a couple of rough games since returning from injury, but he looked solid last night, playing well in his own end and making a key keep-in on Tlusty's goal. He also seems to be jumping into the play and shooting the puck more, as two of Carolina's scoring chances came off his stick. Perhaps he is looking to add another dimension to his game to stay in the lineup? That would be nice, but I think he has earned a spot on the lineup for now and that shouldn't change soon.

The trouble pairing for the Hurricanes was Ryan Murphy & Jay Harrison, who were abused at even strength and Murphy didn't do much to make up for it on the power play either. Murphy caught Harding napping on his goal and gave the Hurricanes a lift in the first period, but he along with Harrison had a lot of problems outside of that. The latter was torched on Jason Pominville's goal and the two just seemed to be scrambling in their own end for most of the game. Minnesota's third line seemed to get the best of them more times than not and that nearly came back to haunt Carolina a few times.

Minnesota Wild Individual Scoring Chances

# Player 5v5 PP SH 4v4
3 Charlie Coyle 13:33 2 3 4:02 2 1 0:00 0 0   1 0
6 Marco Scandella 15:12 5 6 0:32 0 0 1:46 0 0   0 0
9 Mikko Koivu 15:10 2 4 4:02 2 1 1:29 0 1   1 0
11 Zach Parise 15:48 2 3 4:02 2 1 0:46 0 0   3 0
14 Justin Fontaine 12:45 3 2 1:26 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
15 Dany Heatley 9:55 3 5 3:42 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
17 Torrey Mitchell 8:25 2 2 0:00 0 0 0:44 0 0   0 0
20 Ryan Suter  29:19 4 4 3:44 2 1 2:25 0 2   3 1
21 Kyle Brodziak 15:12 5 3 0:16 0 0 3:06 0 1   0 0
22 Nino Niederreiter 10:36 1   2:32 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
24 Matt Cooke 13:21 5 4 0:16 0 0 2:45 0 2   0 0
25 Jonas Bordin  24:57 5 5 2:33 0 0 1:48 0 0   0 0
28 Zenon Konopka 9:45 2 2 0:00 0 0 0:40 0 0   0 0
29 Jason Pominville 13:26 2 2 4:02 2 1 0:00 0 0   0 1
39 Nate Prosser 10:05 1 1 0:00 0 0 1:22 0 0   0 0
46 Jared Spurgeon 16:44 3 4 1:55 0 0 1:46 0 0   2 1
55 Matt Dumba 7:37 2 2 3:14 0 0 0:00 0 0   0 0
64 Mikael Granlund  13:42 1 3 3:42 0 0 0:44 0 0   2 1
37 Josh Harding  51:53 10 11 8:00 2 1 5:07 0 2   3 1

Best EV Forward: Kyle Brodziak +2

Worst EV Forwards: Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu & Mikael Grandlund -2

Best EV Defensemen: Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Nate Prosser & Matt Dumba EVEN

Worst EV Defensemen: Marco Scandella & Jared Spurgeon -1

The Hurricanes did a pretty good job of keeping the Wild's best players quiet at five-on-five, but their depth ended up coming through for them. Minnesota gave their third line of Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cooke & Justin Fontaine all of the tough matchups and they responded by outshooting & outchancing the Canes at even strength. Brodziak was probably their best forward, creating five shots on goal and winning the territorial battle despite taking nine faceoffs in his own zone. I always thought he was really underrated and this game didn't do anything to change my opinion.

As for the Wild's best player, that honor probably goes to Ryan Suter, who was on the ice for only four of Carolina's five-on-five scoring chances despite playing nearly 30 minutes. He also made a great breakout pass for the Wild's first goal and did a good job of not letting Carolina's first line do too much when they had the puck.

Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five

Muller had the matchup game going in this game and it produced some mixed results. Jordan Staal's line had a good game but their primary matchup was against Koivu and they came on on the losing end of that. Meanwhile, Eric Staal's line lost their matchup against Brodziak and did most of their damage against Granlund. Carolina's fourth line also lost the battle against Minnesota's and so did their third defense pairing. Although, the fact that the Wild used them with Suter & Brodin helped them a little. That said, any time the Hurricanes got away from their key matchups, they seemed to do a lot better. This is evident when looking at Jordan Staal's numbers against the Wild's fourth line and Eric Staal's numbers against Koivu. I also find it interesting that Bellemore & Hainsey did a better job against Koivu than Faulk & Sekera.

5v5 Zone Entries

Hurricanes

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Sekera 10 6 5 5 5 1 0
Murphy 4 1 1 1 3 0 0
J. Staal 3 0 2 0 1 0 0
E. Staal 3 1 2 1 1 0 0
Gerbe 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Ruutu 2 1 2 1 0 0 2
Dvorak 2 1 0 0 2 1 1
Tlusty 6 1 1 0 5 1 0
Nash 3 1 1 0 2 1 1
Bowman 5 4 2 1 3 3 1
Malhotra 5 2 3 2 2 0 0
Faulk 4 2 0 0 4 2 0
Semin 4 4 3 4 1 0 0
Dwyer 4 4 3 4 1 0 0
Harrison 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
Terry 5 1 3 0 2 1 0
Hainsey 3 0 1 0 2 0 0
Bellemore 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Team 67 30 29 19 38 11 6

Andrej Sekera had one of the most active games in the neutral zone that I have ever seen from a Carolina defenseman. He led the team in zone entries and was carrying the puck in on half of them, which is something you don't see too often from blue-liners. This really helped Carolina get their forecheck going at times and it wouldn't surprise if Muller is encouraging more defensemen to do this with the team needing offense right now. The forwards aren't quite getting the job done, so having more defensemen pinch isn't a bad thing right now.

Wild

Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries
Coyle 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Scandella 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Koivu 2 1 1 1 1 0 0
Parise 3 4 3 4 0 0 0
Fontaine 8 5 2 3 6 2 1
Heatley 3 1 2 1 1 0 2
Michell 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Suter 4 2 1 0 3 2 0
Brodziak 3 3 2 3 1 0 0
Niederreiter 6 1 4 0 2 1 1
Cooke 3 1 1 1 2 0 1
Brodin 5 0 1 0 4 0 0
Konopka 2 1 0 0 2 1 0
Pominville 2 2 2 2 0 0 0
Prosser 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Spurgeon 2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Dumba 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
Granlund 4 0 2 0 2 0 1
Team 51 22 22 16 29 6 8

The Wild had a pretty ordinary night in the neutral zone with not too many standouts. Although Parise, Brodziak and Pominville had solid games with a limited amount of entries. It's a little interesting that they did next to nothing on Nino Neiderreiter's zone entries despite him leading the team in carry-ins, but that line had a poor night overall.

5v5 Zone Exits

Hurricanes

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
4 Andrej Sekera D 27 1 4 4 3 0
7 Ryan Murphy D 13 2 3 0 3 0
11 Jordan Staal C 3 2 0 0 0 0
12 Eric Staal C 11 1 2 0 2 0
14 Nathan Gerbe C 4 1 0 0 0 0
15 Tuomo Ruutu R 4 0 2 0 0 0
18 Radek Dvorak R 5 0 1 0 0 0
19 Jiri Tlusty C 6 2 0 0 0 0
20 Riley Nash C 4 0 2 0 0 0
21 Drayson Bowman L 8 2 2 1 1 0
22 Manny Malhotra C 3 1 0 0 0 0
27 Justin Faulk D 18 2 2 2 1 0
28 Alexander Semin R 11 3 3 1 1 0
39 Patrick Dwyer R 1 0 0 0 0 0
44 Jay Harrison D 11 0 2 1 1 1
58 Chris Terry L 4 1 1 0 0 0
65 Ron Hainsey D 12 1 2 2 0 0
73 Brett Bellemore D 21 1 2 1 2 1
  Forwards   64 13 13 2 4 0
  Defense   102 7 15 10 10 2
  Overall   166 20 28 12 14 2

Once again, Sekera is the star of the show here, advancing the puck on 1/3 of his attempts and giving the Hurricanes breakout game a huge boost. His passing wasn't that great, as four of his exits came without possession of the puck, but he was still able to advance the play and help Carolina get things moving in the right direction. Justin Faulk also advanced the puck on 1/3 of his attempts but he had a much smaller workload than Sekera.

As a whole, Carolina's defense seemed to be utilizing the glass and hard dump-ins for their zone exits, as they were able to successfully advance the puck without possession 10 times. I'm not a huge fan of this, but the Wild are a team that likes to clog up the neutral zone and this is one way to get around it. The downside to this strategy is that it doesn't result in much offense, which is partially why the Hurricanes had only 11 even strength scoring chances despite having 16 more entries than the Wild.

Wild

# Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing
3 Charlie Coyle C 10 0 1 0 2 0
6 Marco Scandella D 22 0 4 0 0 0
9 Mikko Koivu C 18 2 3 0 1 1
11 Zach Parise L 7 1 2 0 1 1
14 Justin Fontaine R 6 1 2 1 0 0
15 Dany Heatley L 6 1 0 0 0 1
17 Torrey Mitchell C 5 0 0 0 0 0
20 Ryan Suter D 41 3 8 1 0 0
21 Kyle Brodziak C 5 2 0 0 1 0
22 Nino Niederreiter R 7 1 1 0 0 0
24 Matt Cooke L 2 0 0 0 0 0
25 Jonas Bordin D 33 2 4 0 2 0
28 Zenon Konopka C 2 1 0 0 0 0
29 Jason Pominville R 5 0 4 0 0 0
39 Nate Prosser D 13 1 1 0 2 0
46 Jared Spurgeon D 19 1 0 1 2 0
55 Matt Dumba D 11 0 1 1 2 1
64 Mikael Granlund C 4 0 0 0 1 1
  Forwards   77 9 13 1 6 4
  Defense   139 7 18 3 8 1
  Overall   216 16 31 4 14 5

Ryan Suter was the only Wild defenseman who successfully advanced the puck on more than 20% of his exit attempts and he did it with an enormous workload. The guy is an animal and should be a finalist for the Norris Trophy again this year if he keeps it up. Brodin was also very solid compared to the rest of the defense.

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