The Hurricanes managed to pick up three points in four games this past week when you consider how badly they were outplayed in all four games. They were outshot in all but one game (which was the one they lost, oddly enough), controlled only 41% of the even strength corsi events and 36% of the shots on goal which shows that they were struggling to control play and had a few bounces go in their favor the last week. Goaltending was one of the main reasons why they picked up five out of eight possible points last week as Cam Ward was outstanding in all four games. The Canes were also turning about 9% of their shots into goals, which definitely factored into them being in more games than they should have.
I’m willing to bet that the road trip had something to do with the Hurricanes being outplayed so badly as all four games were on the road and both were back-to-backs. Despite the tough conditions and rough defensive play (gave up over 60 even strength scoring chances) the Canes were still able to win two games and earn points in three, which is good but not promising in the long-term. Acquiring a first line winger might be the first priority this summer, but Carolina really needs to improve defensively if they want to be a better team next year.
After the jump, we will single out some performances.
There haven’t been too many changes with how Muller’s been using the players over the last week. The only thing that sticks out to me is that Jerome Samson is being deployed against tougher competition which is strange for a rookie. He hasn’t played on the first line that much over the last week so I’m not sure what the reason for this is.
Cam Ward: After a horrible week to begin March, Ward responded by stopping 152 of 161 shots in four games. Ward has been the definition of the word “streaky” this year with how on and off he has been but this past week was some of the best goaltending he’s done all season. Pretty impressive that he managed to have this kind of week with how bad the defense played.
Chad LaRose – Three goals & four points in four games for LaRose as he made an immediate impact when returning to the lineup. His line with Jussi Jokinen & Jeff Skinner were also the only group of forwards who could get the puck going in the right direction for the Hurricanes this past week. They had corsi and scoring chance rates well above .500, which is saying a lot when the rest of the team was well below that mark. LaRose was also on ice for five Carolina goals and only one against.
Jaroslav Spacek – He scored twice this past week including the Hurricanes only powerplay goal. Spacek’s +7 scoring chance rating was also the highest on the team and he wasn’t on ice for a goal against.
Jeff Skinner – He had a two-goal performance against Tampa Bay and three points on the week. He was also on ice for six of the Hurricanes even strength goals and only one of the opponent’s. Skinner also had 12 shots on goal and the highest corsi percentage among forwards.
Eric Staal – His 12 game point streak has come to an end and he has looked incredibly off in the last two games. Staal was on ice for only nine even strength scoring chances while giving up 25 in the other end. Given how well he has played over the last three months, a showing like this was very disappointing to say the least.
Bryan Allen – Was on ice for 32 of the opponent’s scoring chances and six goals against. He was also demolished in just about every category this week as his -18 scoring chance rating was the worst on the team and so was his 33.3% corsi rate. I usually cut Allen some slack because of the heavy-lifting he’s doing but when a player is on ice for over 40% of the even strength scoring chances that his team gives up, there’s a problem.
Tim Gleason – Had identical stats to Allen only his corsi percentage was slightly better. Still, he had a rough week.
Jiri Tlusty – He scored a pretty goal against Washington but aside from that, he was invisible. Was on ice for zero Carolina scoring chances in the Buffalo and Tampa Bay games and three goals against. Tlusty was also knocked out of the Tampa Bay game after taking a hit from Steven Stamkos and has an upper-body injury, which is unfortunate.
Anthony Stewart – The number of Carolina scoring chances Stewart was on ice for this week was the same amount of points he had against Tampa Bay last Saturday. Three. Stewart was also on ice for three goals against while contributing little to no offense despite getting some time on the first line. I had a feeling this experiment would come to an end soon.
Jamie McBain – Two assists in four games and played well on the third pairing with Spacek. Like his partner, he wasn’t on ice for an opposing goal.
Jussi Jokinen – Had three points (all assists) and was also killing it in terms of possession on the second line with LaRose & Skinner. Jokinen also led the team in faceoff percentage at 60.1%. However, he finished a -3 in scoring chances and had took three penalties against Buffalo.
Derek Joslin – Had a couple shots on goal and was somehow on ice for a goal against in the Washington game despite not playing much.
Drayson Bowman – Was on ice five Carolina scoring chances & five of Florida’s in the only game he played this week. I didn’t feel that he made much of an impact overall but I certainly didn’t think he played bad.
Patrick Dwyer – Among regular forwards, Dwyer was on ice for the fewest scoring chances against at even strength (16). He also played decent on the penalty kill and managed not to get burned defensively this week. This should be a pretty good week for him but he finished a negative in scoring chances and hasn’t been producing much offense. He has only two points since January 1st. I know offense isn’t his game, but wow.
Brandon Sutter – Scored a breakaway goal against Washington, was underwater in scoring chances and was tied for third on the team in shots on goal with 12. He was also 59% effective in the faceoff circle. Sounds like a normal week for Sutter.
Andreas Nodl – Was only a -4 in scoring chances, had no points and was on ice for only one goal against. He was also behind Sutter in shots on goal with 11 as he was much more active offensively this week than he ever has before. It’s a shame that he couldn’t record any goals or points despite that.
Jerome Samson – Had one assist, controlled only 36% of the scoring chances but had one of the best corsi ratings on the team. You be the judge.
Tim Brent – He wasn’t nearly as effective on the powerplay as he usually is as the Canes only produced three scoring chances when he was on the ice with the man advantage. They also failed to score a powerplay goal with him on the ice. Brent needs to be effective on the powerplay because he really doesn’t have much to offer at even strength other than winning faceoffs.
Tuomo Ruutu – Returned to the lineup against Tampa Bay, but wasn’t much of a factor in either game he played. Only on ice for two scoring chances while giving up 10. Ouch.
Jay Harrison – Had a rough game against Buffalo and Tampa Bay but was one of the team’s better penalty killers as the Canes gave up only 3 shorthanded chances when Harrison was on the ice. In a week where the team’s PK was torched, this salvages an otherwise off-week for Harrison.
Justin Faulk – Scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Caps and was great on the powerplay but his game at even strength was really lacking this week. He was torched in his own end against Buffalo and didn’t play that well against the Lightning either. Like Harrison, he managed to salvage it with a good special teams performance.