Raleigh, NC — After winning a storybook game in Toronto 6-3 with EBUG (emergency back up goalie) David Ayres and all the trades on Monday, the Hurricanes, fell to a better Dallas Stars team by the same score of 2 weeks ago, 4-1 in front of another almost sellout, loud, crowd.
The Man, The Myth, the Zamboni-Driving Legend
David Ayres and his wife were in attendance after another full day of interviews and activities. Having met the affable Zamboni driver, who actually put down a sheet of ice at the PNC Arena earlier in the day, I can tell you he’s a real down to earth, normal guy just taking this all in and doing it with class and an approach that he knows this is a once in a lifetime happening.
His wife is a peach of a lady with a broad smile, better personality and has embraced the Caniacs also praising the Canes as a first-class organization, for supporting and honoring her husband. She said this wearing one of the Ayres tee shirts, and loved seeing hundreds of them scattered throughout the crowd with some proceeds going to Ayres and some going to a local kidney foundation. During the first TV timeout, the video board had Ayres as an emergency fill-in for Elizabeth Gardner for the game update of WRAL weather.
Skjei, Trocheck, Vatanen Join Canes
Monday was a busy day for Canes President Don Waddell who made 3 big trades, getting Vincent Trocheck, who the Canes have tried to get in the past, big defenseman Brady Skjei and Sami Vanaten, who is currently injured.
The Canes paid big for Trocheck as they sent Erick Haula, Lucas Wallmark and 2 strong Checkers for the right-handed center who scored over 30 goals two seasons ago.
The Canes called up both goalies from the Checkers with both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer out, with Rod Brind’Amour giving Alex Nedeljkovix the start. Even though everyone is a professional, jitters and nerves still happen and early in the game those played a factor as a weak attempt for a clear in their defensive zone led to a turnover right onto to sharpshooter, Tyler Seguin’s stick who was wide open due to a missed coverage. Seguin went in on Ned, took a shot from 4’ out with Ned making the save but kicked the puck back to Seguin who has quick hands and sent the rebound in with less than a minute gone.
Not the start the very partial home crowd was hoping to see.
A few shifts later, the Canes had the puck in the Stars’ zone with Haydn Fleury tossing a puck from the left point towards the goal. Jordan Staal, using his size and strength, twisted and made a great tip that had eyes for the goal but former Canes goalie, Anton Khudobin, probably the funniest goalie ever to don pads for the Canes, made a great save.
A few minutes later, newcomer, Skjei (pronounced SHAY), made a nice pinch to the goal getting off a shot that went wide. The Stars picked up the missed shot and had what was a virtual 4-on-1 the other way with Jaccob Slavin the lone defender and Warren Foegele turning on his jets to help. Slavs timed his flop on the ice with his stick extended at the perfect time thwarting what looked like a sure goal.
That feel-good moment was short-lived as Roope Hintz scored late on a powerplay that was nothing less than a great effort ending up with a pretty goal. The Stars scored in the last minute of the period on what could be half due to the Stars effort and half to the lack of the Canes effort which Roddy had to address during the intermission.
Aho, Svechnikov Keep Point Streak Alive
Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov started the game with the 2 longest point streaks in the NHL with 12 and 10 games respectively. Those streaks were extended when Seabass converted a pass from Slavin after Svech won a battle behind the net. The Canes had their second powerplay of the game right after that goal giving them a prime opportunity to get back in the game.
Like the first man advantage in the first, this powerplay was weak and disappointing to watch. Overall the Canes were getting shots off but very few would be serious scoring chances. Both Trocheck and Skjei had great chances but it may have been those jitters or grabbing the stick too hard.
The Canes had an extra jump in the second and the next goal would be critical.
When the Stars dumped the puck for a change, Ned went behind the net, stopped the puck and sent a backhander into the near corner for the defense to handle the clear. Joel Edmundson had trouble settling the bouncing puck that Denis Gurianov picked up and dragged through the slot untouched before sending a wrister past Ned for a tough 4-1 Stars lead.
Plenty of Shots, No Goals
The Canes threw everything but the kitchen sink at Dobby in the third with very few shots categorized at tough shots. The Canes fourth line of Jordan Martinook, Ryan Dzingel and Brock McGinn had their best play in the third. Fourth lines are typically energy lines and all 3 are high energy players, attacking both on offense and defense.
The hope was that energy would ignite other lines but I give the Stars defense credit. They were not flashy or exciting but they were highly effective in keeping the Canes on the perimeter all game. The Canes got off 19 shots in the third while allowing just one, almost perfect to the plan Roddy set up. Perfect would have been putting a few in the net, though.
As far as scoreboard watching goes, the Blue Jackets also lost but the Islanders gained a point losing in OT. The Canes are in a decent position with 3 games at hand while 2 points behind the Jackets. Big game this Friday against a strong Colorado team. Be there!