Cary, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes opened their home preseason with a resounding 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, September 19, 2018. Prospect Jane Kuokkanen with one goal, two assists, and Captain Justin Williams with three assists, led the way with three points a piece, but this was a total team effort.
Williams Sets Up Kuokkanen I
It took the Canes the first half of the period to finally get on the scoreboard with the Canes on a power play Justin Williams carried the puck down the right side of the ice centering a perfect pass to the slot with Kuokkanen parked in from and managed to evade his defender allowing his blade to deflect the puck in the net. Very pretty play indeed.
The play of several new players was impressive. Dougie Hamilton used every bit of his large frame to pummel Yanni Gourde several times in the first period. Who knows, there may have been some bad blood between those two over the years but good to see some physicality initiated by the Canes.
Scott Darling started in goal and looked far better in this game than he did at anytime last year. He fumbled the puck on one weak shot but quickly covered it up while last year most Caniacs recalled similar plays resulting in a negative way.
Late in the period surprise signee, Calvin de Haan and Teuvo Teravainen had a pretty back and forth pass play that had Teravainen take a hard shot from the right circle. Didn’t result in a goal but was a sign of good things to come.
Canes Connect for Two in the Second
The Canes broke the game open with two goals late in the second period. Hamilton took a shot from the left point into traffic that found its way into the net. Point taken here was the amount of traffic in front of the net. Shortly afterward, Justin Faulk took a shot from about as far away from the goal on the right point. Rookie Martin Necas somehow got around a defender and was able to deflect the puck into the net from about 15 feet out. Very impressive tip in.
The Canes penalty kill looked very good and killed off a short 5-on-3 then the subsequent 5-on-4. Rookie hopeful Warren Foegele looked very good on the PK and in fact looked very good the entire game. He was fast on the puck on both ends of the ice and not afraid of digging hard along the boards.
Another rookie hopeful, Julien Gauthier, had an excellent game. Midway in the stanza, the Canes turned the puck over in their end resulting on a 2-on-1 breakaway for Tampa Bay. Gauthier was down on the ice deep in the Canes end but got up to help on defense thwarting any attack. Can’t help but think not only are these rookies doing what it takes to make the team, but also believe this is the Rod Brind’Amour style of hockey.
Canes Put Game On Ice
The Canes blew the game away in the third with Michael Ferland, Gauthier and Jacob Slavin all scoring. It’s typical in the preseason that the home team will have more veterans than in away games and that was the case in this game with the Canes having half the roster with players having NHL experience. In the game the night before in Tampa Bay, the Bolts had more veterans including their entire top line. Both games had complete effort from the initial drop of the puck to the final buzzer and will be very interesting how the next four preseason games go as it will make decisions on who stays that much more difficult.
The Canes are a fast team and will once again be one of the youngest in the NHL and if last night was an indication of the new identity, will be playing with a little more sandpaper than in the past. Wonderful start and let’s hope this is how every game will be played.
The Canes are helping with the Hurricane Florence relief by giving two FREE tickets for donations. Donations of cleaning suppliers, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, canned food etc. can be dropped off at the PNC Arena lobby and also to pick up tickets to Friday, September 21, 2018’s game against the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals at 7:30 PM. Be there!