This was certainly a strange week for the Canes when you compare their shot data to scoring chances because while they were heavily outshot this past week, they actually outchanced their opponents overall. A large reason for this is because of the 47-save shutout they had against the Bruins last Thursday. That was a game where they were outshot by a wide-margin but a lot of the Bruins’ shots weren’t high quality chances and the scoring chance numbers looked much closer. The same thing goes for the game against the Kings. Either way, Carolina went 2-1-0 this past week and owned 51% of the scoring chances…and only 43.6% of the shots. Like I said, it was a strange week but the Canes started February off on a strong note either way. Let’s take a closer look at the past week for Carolina and single out some people.
It has been awhile since we last looked at the team’s OZ QoC chart so we’ve got a few changes here. One of the more noticeable changes is Andreas Nodl now facing much tougher competition as he continues to play on a line with Brandon Sutter & Patrick Dwyer. These three have been studs defensively for the past month, so I would expect them to stick together unless something goes horribly wrong.
Another change is that Jamie McBain is playing soft minutes and it makes sense with him being demoted to the third pairing with Jaro Spacek and/or Derek Joslin. He is still taking a lot of draws in his own zone but he’s generally used for competition against opposing third/fourth lines now. Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokienen are also being matched up against weaker competition now, as well with Jokinen being used against below average opponents. I like to think that this is a sign of Muller finally using the second line in easier situations like they should be, but it’s also a bit discouraging because of how well Jokinen did against tougher competition earlier in the season.
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison are both being used against second-tier competition and are getting decent zone starts which has led to a lot of success to them as they’ve been playing very well the last couple of weeks. This is the role I’d like for them to play for the rest of the year.
Riley Nash got some extremely soft minutes during his AHL debut and that isn’t terribly surprising given he was on the fourth line with Brent and Stewart.
Cam Ward: He had one lack-luster performance against the Islanders followed by two stellar games against the Bruins and Kings. He ended the week with a save percentage of .958, continuing his terrific play from January.
Brandon Sutter: Two goals and an assist for the week and the Canes outchanced their competition with Sutter on the ice the past week. Considering he was matched up with the likes of John Tavares, David Krejci and Anze Kopitar, that’s very impressive. The one area he struggled in was the face-off dot but I’m willing to let that slide.
Justin Faulk: He was on ice for zero opposing goals, had the best scoring chance rate on the team, a positive corsi rating and six shots on goal. He may have been kept off the scoresheet but the rookie had a terrific week otherwise.
Jay Harrison: As Justin Faulk goes, so does Jay Harrison as he had a similarly good week with a +10 scoring chance differential and a +2 goal differential.
Andreas Nodl: Continues to be a stud defensively as the Canes gave up only six scoring chances in three games with Nodl on the ice and he added an assist to his point total. He was also one of the few players with a positive corsi rating.
Eric Staal: One goal, one assist and the Canes had 63% of their scoring chances go in their favor with Staal on the ice. Great week for him.
Jiri Tlusty: Another player with a positive scoring chance and corsi differential and he scored a goal on a brilliant individual effort against Los Angeles. That gets him a plus.
Tim Gleason/Bryan Allen: Were on ice for all three powerplay goals the Canes gave up and the Canes were outchanced by a pretty wide margin when these two were on the ice. They’ve seen better games.
Jussi Jokinen: Had only one assist and had some pretty bad underlying numbers, as well. Both him and Tuomo Ruutu were pulled off the first powerplay unit last Tuesday in favor of Anthony Stewart and Riley Nash, which is a sign that you aren’t playing too well.
Jamie McBain: He is facing easier competition and still getting shelled at even strength. Thankfully he wasn’t on ice for any goals against but he certainly gave up a lot in his own end otherwise.
Tim Brent: He was the team’s worst possession forward last week and was on ice for only one even strength scoring chance for the Canes. Yes, he scored a big powerplay goal against the Islanders but Brent is going to have to learn to play better at even strength.
Patrick Dwyer: Did a great job at even strength along with Nodl & Sutter but was on ice for two powerplay goals against.
Riley Nash: Played three games and only saw significant ice-time in Tuesday’s tilt against the Islanders and even then he was demoted to the fourth line halfway through. Nash had some good looks on the powerplay but his game at even strength was very uneventful. Sign that he could learn more in the AHL.
Chad LaRose: Played one game and got injured again. He’s back with the team now and let’s hope he can continue to do what he does best: drive possession. It’ll be key on the fourth line since it appears that is his role now.
Drayson Bowman: Picked up a point against LA but didn’t do much otherwise. The team was outchanced with him on the ice so that isn’t a good sign but let’s hope he can turn it around nthis week.
Anthony Stewart: Had an assist against the Bruins and was pinned in his own zone for most of the other games. Hence why he is on waivers now.
Tuomo Ruutu: He scored a great goal against Boston and played well against Los Angeles, but his defensive game was pretty weak. He created a lot of chances but he gave up a lot in his own end, unfortunately. Still, hard to discount his 8 shots on goal against LA because he looked like the team’s best forward then.
Jeff Skinner: Similar to Ruutu in the sense that he was good offensively but gave up way too much in his own end. Skinner was on ice for 16 of the scoring chances that Carolina gave up, which was one of the highest on the team. He did have the game winning goal against the Kings, though.
Jaroslav Spacek: Returned to the lineup Thursday against Boston and had a scary moment where he took a puck to the earn but he appears to be okay now. His defensive play, unfortunately, wasn’t too great this past week as he was outchanced despite playing third pairing minutes.
Derek Joslin: Played against the Islanders and was sent back to the press box after Spacek returned. With Spacek struggling and the trade deadline coming up, we could see Joslin make a return to the lineup.