Another week has past and the Canes managed to only win one game and pick up three points in the standings. All thee losses were by one goal (I usually don’t count empty netters) and you could say that the Canes had a chance to win every game this week but a closer look at their performance proves otherwise. After a week where they actually outplayed most of their opponent’s, it was the opposite this past week as they were outshot 99-87 at even strength and outchanced 51-45. The overall numbers look better due to a lot of powerplay chances (thanks Ottawa) but overall, they were outplayed for most of this week and that includes the game they won against Philadelphia. I’m thinking that Paul Maurice was fired at the right in terms of the team’s future because why the team doesn’t seem to be playing that bad by the eyes, they are still getting dominated at even strength and that can’t continue. It’s not all Maurice’s fault but with his contract expiring and the team struggling, I think it was the right move to do.
The Canes did record 19 chances on the powerplay but nine of those came against Ottawa where they had eight opportunities with the man advantage so the data is skewed a bit. They scored only three times with the man advantage and came up empty handed in eight attempts against Montreal and Winnipeg. The penalty kill, however, was solid this week as they allowed only 6 scoring chances on 14 attempts but they also gave up two goals. I’m curious to see what improvements are made to the special teams with Kirk Muller taking over as coach. It was said that he basically took over the Montreal Canadiens when they were down 3-1 in their first round series against the Washington Capitals two years ago and I think we know how the story ended there. He was noted for improving their PK and powerplay which were both very successful in that series. However, he had nothing to do with turning Jaroslav Halak into a Super Man which was the main reason the Habs won that series.
After the jump we’ll single out some performances from over the past week.
Corsi Rel QOC vs. Zone Starts
Again, not much has changed here except for Brent’s zone starts getting tougher now that he’s been bouncing between the third and fourth lines. You can also see how Joslin’s small sample size makes it look like he’s getting mega sheltered but I would expect that to stay roughly the same once he plays in more games. Allen, Gleason, Sutter & Dwyer are still getting the toughest assignments and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Faulk’s assignments have been above average but not quite the toughest on the time and he’s been receiving somewhat easier starts than McBain. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice this but LaRose has really been getting some tough assignments this year and he’s managing to produce in all areas despite that.
Bryan Allen: The guy has been a stud on defense and is actually out-performing Tim Gleason now. He is still getting really tough assignments and managed to only surrender seven scoring chances while being on ice for 12 of the Hurricanes’ chances at even strength. His chance differential of +5 was the best on the team this week and he was only on ice for one goal against. He’s been a rock.
Brandon Sutter: A goal and two assists this week and he’s really been showcasing his offensive upside as he was on ice for 14 of Carolina’s scoring chances while taking 15 shots on goal. He was also 59% effective at the faceoff dot this past week. He was also on ice for only two goals against at even strength which is great with the workload he’s been taking on this year. I just hope he can continue to produce offensively while beating out his matchups because it seems like it’s been or the other for him this year.
Chad LaRose: Was tied for the team lead with four points this week and fired 13 shots on net, as well. Was also one of five players who had a positive scoring chance differential. He’s been so consistent in that department this year it seems.
Alexei Ponikarovsky: It’s a little odd to put him here because he didn’t do much at even strength and finished the week with a -2 scoring chance differential but he scored three goals (all on the powerplay) and recorded an assist so it’s hard not to put him in this category. He was also on ice for 11 scoring chances on the powerplay and had one of the strongest corsi ratings on the team. Hope he can keep this up and have some more chances at even strength.
Justin Faulk: Faulk had the worst scoring chance differential this week and was on ice for seven of the opposing team’s goals. He hasn’t quite looked like he did when he was first called up but it’s worth noting that he was given some very tough assignments and could possibly be in a little over his head with that. He also had a brutal corsi rating of -20, which was the worst on the team.
Tomas Kaberle: Once again finished sub-.500 in scoring chances for the week and earned himself a spot in the press box for Sunday’s game against Ottawa. I don’t think he has played nearly as bad as everyone has been saying but it’s obvious that we were expecting a lot better from him. At least he recorded a point this week.
Jussi Jokinen: Had two points and 11 scoring chances on the powerplay but is still getting buried at even strength for whatever reason. Maybe it’s time for a reunion with one of Skinner or Ruutu? Something to get him out of this rut.
Cam Ward: Had three quality outings in four starts this week and finished with an even strength save percentage of .918. He had to stand on his head in a couple games to keep the Canes in it as he’s slowly coming back into form. Slowly being the key word there.
Eric Staal: Finished on the positive side of the scoring chance spectrum again and scored a goal. He played well but not good enough for me to consider him a top performer yet.
Jamie McBain: Another player who won his scoring chance battle but he was also on ice for six of the opposition’s even strength goals. Hopefully that gets better.
Tim Gleason: Was only on ice for two goals this week and had a solid corsi rating of +13 but he’s getting pummeled in terms of scoring chances. That’s how it’s been all year with him for whatever reason.
Jiri Tlusty: Scored two goals and recorded three points and only took three shots on net. I would consider him a top performer but he’s not doing much else other than score when he decides to shoot the puck. Not that it’s a bad thing but it would be great if he could create more chances and shoot the puck more often.
Patrick Dwyer: One goal and two points for him but Dwyer is still playing poorly at even strength as he was on ice for 13 opposing chances and only 9 of the Hurricanes. He was also on ice for every shorthanded chance the Canes gave up last week.
Anthony Stewart: Scored a goal and had a good game against Montreal which was followed by two lackluster performances against Winnipeg & Ottawa. This statement could apply to any fourth liner not named Brett Sutter, though. Speaking of which…
Brett Sutter: Recorded two assists this week and had good games against Montreal and Ottawa. I was considering putting him in the tope performer category because I don’t have too high of expectations for him but a player who is getting outchanced & outplayed territorially as much as he has shouldn’t be in that category.
Tuomo Ruutu: Quietly had a solid week with two assists and finished even in terms of scoring chances.
Jeff Skinner: Scored a dazzling goal against Philadelphia and had an excellent game against Ottawa but he was actually outchanced at even strength this week. Skinner can create offense but his defensive game still has a ways to go. This has been a problem with him ever since he entered the league.
Joni Pitkanen: Returned to the lineup and made his presence felt by being on ice for six powerplay chances against the Senators.