The most recent week, there’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes with the Canes going 1-3-0 and putting on one of their worst performances of the year against the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday. They were also outscored 12-6 and shutout in two straight games which obviously put quite a draining on the fanbase. Believe it or not, the Canes actually had a strong Fenwick percentage of 56.1% with the score tied and the only truly awful performance they had was against Montreal. They outchanced both Buffalo and Toronto and were even with the Flyers when playing five-on-five. At even strength, Carolina was 55.3% in terms of scoring chances and I think it’s a sign of good things to come after the brutal start this team got off to. A weak powerplay (one goa and 13 chancesl in 18 attempts) and sub-par goaltending (.908 EV save percentage) are still keeping this team down, but they can improve in the coming weeks if they keep outshooting opponents like they did this past week, minus the Habs game.
OZone vs. QOC Graph
Nothing much has changed since the last time we did this. Gleason, Allen, Ponikarovsky and Dwyer are getting the bulk of tough assignments. One thing you will notice is Sutter’s zone starts shifting a lot more towards 50%, and that’s because he spent time on the first line centering Eric Staal over the past week. The experiment brought mixed results as Staal’s underlying numbers are improving but Sutter didn’t quite have an offensive breakout like some had hoped. Jay Harrison also began playing tougher minutes and was paired with Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen for a good part of this week. I have to think this was their attempt to replace Pitkanen as Harrison was logging some big time minutes during this time. Opposing teams are still sending their toughest line against Staal. Water is still wet.
Eric Staal - No goals, but three assists and he was an absolute monster when it came to creating scoring chances and driving possession. His corsi rating was in the 40’s, he had a scoring chance rating of above 60% and had over 10 shots on goal. I think it’s safe to say that he’s starting to look like the Eric Staal that we all know and love. Just have to wait for some more regression to set in.
Jeff Skinner - One goal and three points for him on the week and he was also above 50% in scoring chances, which is always a good thing. Skinner was also one of the few great powerplay performers this week although that isn’t saying much. He isn’t exactly driving possessoin as well as his teammates but he’s scoring goals and that’s what matters right now with the shape this team is in.
Bryan Allen - Still taking a boatload of defensive zone starts and was on ice for only 8 chances against at even strength, which is pretty damn great. He also added an assist to his point total.
Patrick Dwyer - Was on ice for more chances for than he was against for the first time in awhile, which I felt was worth mentioning. He was also only on ice for seven even strength chances against and was one of the team’s better penalty killers.
Jussi Jokinen - I’m thinking that he’s not at 100% because he hasn’t been good ever since returning from that brutal leg injury. He scored a goal and recorded an assist but he hasn’t been nearly as much of a factor as he was earlier in the season. He is simply getting dominated at even strength in every facet of the game and it’s making me think that he rushed back from his injury.
Cam Ward - He played well against Toronto but he gave up ten goals in three games, was chased against Philadelphia and finished the week with an .874 save percentage. I don’t even need to tell you that he can do better.
Tomas Kaberle - Okay, I’m finally going to be hard on him because he is actually playing bad right now. When you are one of the few defenseman on the team that’s getting the benefit of protection, you better make damn sure that you’re making the most out of that ice time. He was on ice for 12 total chances in four games, which doesn’t look bad….until you see that he was on ice for 20 of the opposition’s. He was also one of the main reasons why the powerplay struggled so much. I lost count of how many times him and McBain lost the puck at the blue line.