After coming off the high of the five-game point streak, the Hurricanes have now lost two straight and have been knocked back down to reality. That reality being that this team is not very good, or at least not the roster they sent out in Monday night's 4-1 loss to Boston. People can go on and on about how talented this team is and how the Canes problems are related to work ethic, but that isn't what I'm seeing. From my viewpoint, I didn't see anything wrong with the team's "effort" on Monday night and I think the Hurricanes did a lot of things to try to beat Boston. The problem is that you are not going to create much offense with the roster Carolina iced on Monday night.
Injuries aren't an excuse, but this roster is missing a lot of skill with Jeff Skinner & Alexander Semin out of the lineup and it showed in a big way last night. When Drayson Bowman is playing on your top line and Patrick Dwyer is in your top-six, then it's going to be tough to create/finish chances & carry the play, especially against a top team like Boston. With Semin being out of the lineup, Carolina tried to "keep it simple" against the Bruins and play a North/South type of game. It sounds like a good idea on paper but when put into action, it really wasn't effective at all. Boston was able to beat Carolina to most of the loose pucks and force the Hurricanes to play in their own end for extended stretches of time. There were some moments where the Hurricanes played well and were able to carry the play against Boston, but the Bruins had the edge for the majority of the game and the Hurricanes struggled to get through the Bruins defense when the game was close.
Maybe this team will get better once Skinner and/or Semin return to the lineup but right now, the Hurricanes are not a good team and they are going to get outplayed when going up against clubs like the Bruins.
Fenwick Timeline from Extra Skater
This game wasn't all bad. The Hurricanes were able to even things up with the Bruins after a rough start and they had an advantage in territorial play in the second period. Of course, that was all negated by their play in the third, where the Bruins went into lockdown mode after Johnny Boychuk's goal and gave the Hurricanes absolutely no room to operate. It was there that "keeping it simple" didn't help the Hurricanes at all. They were essentially giving the Bruins possession of the puck every time they dumped it into the zone and turned it over whenever they tried to enter the zone with control. That, along with the power play, is where Semin was missed the most.
It was a pretty even game in terms of scoring chances but this isn't too surprising since this has been typical for the Hurricanes as of late. They have been very good at preventing chances and keeping their opponents out of the scoring areas, even when they lose the possession battle. The problem is that they can't turn it into offense the other way and they end up spending way too much time in their own end. This was a game that the Hurricanes trailed for about 85% of the time and they created only 11 scoring chances despite that. I give some credit to the Bruins for playing well but the Hurricanes offense is in a miserable state right now.
Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances
Hurricanes On-Ice Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe, Drayson Bowman, Manny Malhotra & Patrick Dwyer +1
Worst EV Forwards: Mike Komisarek, Radek Dvorak, Riley Nash, ERic Staal & Chris Terry -1
Best EV Defenseman: Andrej Sekera +3
Worst EV Defensemen: Ron Hainsey & Brett Bellemore -1
The Gerbe-JStaal-Dwyer line created most of the even strength offense for Carolina but once again, they could not finish. They did a pretty good job considering they were going up against Patrice Bergeron but the Hurricanes need tog et more out of their "second" line and simply creating chances just isn't enough right now. The "first line" of Drayson Bowman, Eric Staal & Tuomo Ruutu were at least able to produce a goal but they struggled to do much outside of that. Perhaps Jiri Tlusty may have earned his way back onto this line, as he had a solid game, creating three chances & firing seven shots at the net while playing bottom-six minutes. Kirk Muller will probably try anything to get the offense going with Semin out, so it'll be interesting to see how things are jumbled around the next few weeks.
This was the first "off" game for the pairing of Brett Bellemore & Ron Hainsey. The former was beaten to the inside on Reilly Smith's power play goal and Hainsey was guilty of a few bad turnovers in his own end. He was able to bail himself out by blocking shots and getting the puck out when he had the chance, but he looked very uneasy with the puck on his stick and that has been rare from him this year.
Bruins Individual Scoring Chances
Bruins On-Ice Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Milan Lucic +4
Worst EV Forward: Daneil Paille -3
Best EV Defenseman: Johnny Boychuk +3
Worst EV Defensemen: Dennis Seidenberg & Dougie Hamilton -2
The Bruins first and third lines carried the way for them in terms of chances and it isn't too surprising when you consider that Muller went power-on-power for this game and the Hurricanes were icing 11 forwards.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five
The possession/shot attempt report looks very different but in terms of chances, this game was a stalemate. The only advantage Carolina had was when they were able to get Jordan Staal's line out against Gregory Campbell's. This line was matched up against Bergeron's for most of the game but they did most of their damage when getting away from that matchup.
5v5 Zone Entries
|# of entries||Shots generated||Carry-ins||Shots generated||Dump-ins||Shots generated||Failed Entries|
I mentioned this earlier, but the Hurricanes offense is lacking skill right now and as a result, the team played a simple game and dumped the puck in on most of their entries. The only time it worked is when the second line did it (see Dwyer's numbers) and they were essentially surrendering possession to Boston every other time. It's frustrating because the Bruins were performing a roadblock in the neutral zone for most of the third period, so dump-ins were Carolina's only option during that time. The first line also had only seven total 5v5 entries for the entire game, which simply will not cut it.
|Player||# of entries||Shots generated||Carry-ins||Shots generated||Dump-ins||Shots generated||Failed Entries|
The chances might have been even, but Boston dominated the territorial play and the zone entry report does a good job of illustrating why. They were able to gain the line with control on a regular basis and they made the most of their zone time. Boston's "first line" of Krejci, Lucic & Iginla had 18 controlled entries, which is only two fewer than the entire Carolina team had. Their third line also created had a solid game in terms of shots and even their fourth line was able to create some offense thanks to Jordan Caron and Dan Paille.
5v5 Zone Exits
Carolina's defensemen turned the puck over way too much and their forwards had a hell of time with getting out of their own zone. Against an opportunistic team like the Bruins, that is a recipe for disaster. Sekera & Hainsey were guilty of a few bad turnovers, the former committing two of them on the same shift.
Aside from Chara & Hamitlon, Boston's defense struggled to advance the play, but they made upf or this by deferring to the forwards on some of their breakouts. This strategy seemed to work out well for them, as the forwards advanced it on nearly 40% of their attempts.