Cary, NC – After a bad week away from the PNC Arena in which the Canes only garnered three out of a possible eight points, Coach Rod Brind’Amour was all smiles as the Canes had all cyclinders going for them in a solid 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was the first time in years in which the Canes had an afternoon game when the State Fair was in town across the street. Give credit to the parking attendants as all in all, parking and exiting the game was fine.
Svechnikov Gets First Career Powerplay Goal
The Blackhawks have two, possibly as many as four, future Hall of Famers and is still a solid team despite not making the playoffs the past couple of years. As with other teams that pay a few, usually very special players, a ton of money, it makes balancing the team with ample support a major challenge. This is the case with Chicago and a half dozen other teams. As good as the Canes are as a team and some individuals are, at this time, they really don’t have a solid future Hall of Fame player or a star that can take over a game, game after game. That allows for team balance and usually a better team.
The Canes started with pressure in the Hawks end early trying to get Corey Crawford off his game. At just about the one-minute mark, there were eight skaters laid out in Crawford’s crease that no blue was showing. After the ensuing faceoff, the Hawks had a headman pass allowing a quick breakaway by Kirby Dach with Dylan Strome on his right. Nino Niederriter turned on his jets and was able to make a great play erasing any serious scoring chance.
The Canes had the first powerplay and wasted no time converting. It was a set play totally dependent on winning the faceoff, Erik Haula started the play right by winning the faceoff over to Andrei Svechnikov along the near boards. Svech passed up top to Dougie Hamilton who carried the puck towards the middle then flipped the puck over a defender’s stick back to Svech who sent a wicked wrister from the top of the faceoff circle with Haula out front providing traffic. Svech sniped the puck into the top left corner for his first of many to come, powerplay goals.
Niederreiter Finally Connects
The second period was like watching sparring partners. The action was all end to end for the first 15 minutes with both goalies stopping anything sent their way. Both teams play fast and both teams had their A-grade forechecking games going strong, resulting in very few hard saves. The Canes’ Martin Necas had the only penalty of the period and that was at the midway point. The man down defense had their best game all season while Sebastian Aho and Brock McGinn were outstanding and both wound up with short handed shots on net.
Aho had his best overall game so far with his speed and control. He’s on the ice and knows best, but a couple of times he chose to pass rather than shoot. He’s paid to first win but along with that fans and coaches want him to score goals. The last five minutes of the period kept both goalies busy.
Mrazek had his turn of a pile up in his crease with the puck still alive but after several shot attempts, he managed to smother the puck for a faceoff. Fans have been quick this season to start the Petr-Petr-Petr chant which Mrazek quietly acknowledges. In the last minute, the Canes had pressure deep in the Hawks end and were able to keep it there as Jonathan Towes gave his stick to a defender that broke his stick. Jaccob Slavin and El Nino were playing catch, then El Nino took the puck into the far circle then sent a blister of a shot that nicked Crawford on his right side going into the net for a 2-0 Canes lead.
Staal Gets PP Goal, Svech Muscles In His Second of the Game
Roddy has the team practice powerplay situations at every practice. Last year’s powerplay was powerless and he’s made a vow to make that change. The Canes had their second man advantage situation early in the third.
After a few weak attempts for setting something up, they eventually got the crisp and fast passing Roddy wanted. El Nino passed down to Seabass who went left, turned and went right drawing a defender dropping a sweet pass to Jordan Staal in the dirty area of the crease who smacked the puck in for a formidable 3-0 lead. The Canes trailed on shot attempts most of the game but turned up the heat, continuing their strong forechecking and were taking better shots.
Late in the game, Jake Gardiner kept the puck in passing over to El Nino below the goal line, carrying the puck to the near boards then tossing a pass to Svech on Crawfords front door. Svech had two defenders dropped over him but was able to settle the puck and smack it towards the goal. Crawford made the initial save but Svech kept swiping at the puck, never touched it again but distracted Crawford enough to allow the puck trickle in for a 4-0 solid team win.
Great win in many aspects: a shutout, perfection on man down situations, 2-for-2 on the powerplay and most importantly, everyone played a 200 feet game.
Next game is Tuesday, October 29, 2019 against Calgary, coached by Bill Peters. Be there!