Cary, NC – After a bad loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the start of the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes regrouped and played a tremendous game against the New Jersey Devils, all ahead of their big game against the Toronto Maple Leafs the day before Thanksgiving.
Canes Fall Hard In 4-1 Loss To Blue Jackets
The holiday season may be approaching when oodles of good food and sweets will be abound but no sugar coating this one: the Canes were outplayed in every aspect in a 4-1 loss to the Metropolitan division leaders, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After full four days off, the Canes were flat and not in game shape. Cam Atkinson had a hat trick, while also assisting on the other goal and to make it worse, two hats were tossed on the ice. You just don’t throw hats on the ice when an opposing player has a hat trick.
Jackets Start Fast and Early
Scott Darling, going 2-0-1 in his last three games, was challenged very early in the game and made an outstanding save using his size to block a majority of the goal openings. At the other end of the ice, captain Justin Williams,who has been struggling lately, was forechecking hard along the corner coming away with the puck. He made a pretty pass to Michael Ferland charging the net but Ferland flubbed the shot and slapped his stick to the ice in disgust as he knew it was a pretty set-up and he should have buried the shot.
Rookie Andrei Svechnikov was battling Seth Jones along the side boards and came away with the puck from the All Star defenseman passing out to Jordan Martinook to allow the Canes to keep possession and a shot. Winning that puck was an indication of the strength and hopefully good things to come from Svech. Atkinson scored his first when he was left alone by Sebastian Aho and had all day to pick a spot to put the puck past Darling. Darling almost made a dynamic save puck trickled in barely making it over the goal line.
Aho Gets Canes On The Board
Almost before many of the fans were back in their seats from the intermission, Atkinson scored his second of the evening. The Canes’ Jordan Staal brought the puck in the Jackets’ zone with his wingers in position but were covered. Staal used the defenseman as a screen and sent a hard wrister with Sergei Bobrovsky making a stick save sending the puck to the corner.
The Jackets defense picked up the loose puck and methodically went in the other direction. Just as the Jackets crossed the Canes blue line, Trevor van Riemsdyk initially blocked a pass but couldn’t get it back over the blue line. Artemi Panarin got control then passed down to Atkinson who went through the crease with a chip shot at Darling. Darling made the initial save with his skate but Atkinson flipped the rebound in off a backhander.
At just over the six minute mark, Seabass tried to jump start the Canes as he kept the puck on his stick while circling the goal then did a wrap around that went in just inside the far post. Many times the first goal scored after a two goal lead is a turning point in a game but not this time. Fewer than two minutes later, the Jackets scored on the only goal not scored by Atkinson when Zack Werenski knocked one in from the mid slot area with no one in front of Darling. Atkinson finished off his hat trick during a power play after Svech got called for a high stick right in front of the Jackets bench.
The Canes had two gifts when the Jackets were called for delay of game after an icing and right after that penalty was over, had a bad shift charge and got called for too many players. The first part of the first penalty looked good but the rest was powerless.
Caniacs Restless in the Third
The Jackets, coached by one of the best and certainly one of the most entertaining coaches, John Tortorella, really know how to play with a lead. They know possession is key but when they don’t have possession, their job is to minimize any severe threat. Sure, that’s a full game plan, but the Jackets tightened up their forechecking in the third while the Canes forechecking went dormant. Ferland seemed to be the only able body to get in the dirty area in front of the crease when the Canes were on the attack.
Darling’s play reminded me of an Olympic ski jump, maybe the one on the old Wide World of Sports intro, he started out high, looking real good, then went down hill real fast only to go up a bit then fall off. His reaction after at least three of the goals was one of “dang, I should of had that.” The Caniacs were letting Darling know his play was not good by cynical cheering when he touched the puck behind the net.
The Canes defense doesn’t get a bye here, they weren’t that good but I would say Justin Faulk and Calvin de Haan had decent games. The Canes are a bigger team than they’ve had in years but were out muscled far too often to sit well with the coaches. Expect changes for the next game.
Canes Rebound, Beat Devils 2-1
After their worst game of the season the night before, the Canes got redemption and a much-needed win over the New Jersey Devils, 2-1, led by captain Justin Williams and Michael Ferland with goals in the first 30 seconds of the game. To a player, there were no excuses for the abysmal play the night before.
There was no bow that was going to make that game pretty in any fashion; it was just bad. However the great thing about schedules is the Canes play the next night and would quickly have to forget, as much as possible, and concentrate on the next game.
Williams, Ferland Strike Early
Before everyone were in their seats, Jordan Staal won the opening face off and the Canes immediately went on the attack. Staal got the puck back to Justin Faulk who passed owner to Calvin de Haan along the Canes blue line. Rather than the typical gain the red line and dump it in, de Haan passed over to Brock McGinn in the neutral zone, dishing it off to Staal at the Devils’ blue line.
Out of the corner of his eye, Staal saw Justin Williams gaining speed in the center, threading a pass to his stick. Willie deeked and twisted between two defenders, making a bee line to the goal and knocked one in with a purpose with just 22 seconds gone. What a statement by the captain that got the crowd and rest of the team engaged.
Sebastian Aho won the subsequent faceoff drawing the puck to Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton passed up to Ferland, who made a quick pass to Teuvo Teravainen on the right wing. Teravainen had his eyes up, holding the puck looking for a teammate. Ferland made a quick cut to the goal and Teravainen made a perfect cross ice pass right to Ferland’s tape for a tip in on the back door just eight seconds after the first goal. Blink and you missed a two-goal lead by the Canes.
The quick start got the crowd into the game and this night, it was the Canes that had the extra step. Forechecking was back on the agenda as was getting a body in front of Cory Schneider who has been snake bit since last season that at the end of the night lost his 15th game in a row going back to last season. Six minutes later, the Devils scored on a nice transition from their D-zone up ice into the Canes end with Pavel Zacha having the extra step over Ferland for a tip in past Curtis McElhinney.
Canes Limited to Just Five Shots
The Devils came into the second period with a different game plan as they were forechecking in all three zones and were in the face of every Canes wherever they were on the ice. By the 17 minute mark, the Canes were able to only muster three shots, none of which really challenged Schneider. When the period ended, the Canes had a season low five shots in the period.
The Canes’ forechecking was decent, certainly better than the night before, but not what it was in the first period. The Devils got off 11 shots with few were serious threats to McElhinney who was very effective in kicking the paddle for deflections to corners. The Canes penalty kill was very effective all night going three-for-three in the man down situation.
Rookie Andrei Svechnikov got a high sticking penalty for the second game in a row and not that it was intentional, the game in North America is called tighter than in most other leagues. Bank on coach Rod Brind’Amour or offensive coach Jeff Daniels having a talk with the impressive forward.
Canes Learn to Play With the Lead
The Canes played the third with tight defense and very few errors in the offensive zone. They had more shots (seven) in the period but ended the game with a season low 25 and were out shot for just the second time. Staal had a very solid game overall while winning all seven faceoffs in the first period, going 15 for 22 for the night.
As the game was in its final seconds with Schneider on the bench, the puck was on its edge rolling towards the open net with Staal escorting it however the puck took a slight turn in the last few inches, and Staal just couldn’t get to the puck quick enough for a tip in. The Canes’ game-winning celebration was a new one with Jaccob Slavin leading the charge and the Canes riding their sticks much to the approval of the Caniacs. These game winning celebrations are still the talk of the NHL and staying for these is a must for home games as is hearing the announcer say Brock McGinn’s name on a goal or assist.
Next game is Wednesday, November 21, 2018 against the rebuilt and stacked Toronto Maple Leafs. Be there!