Riding a five-game losing streak while trying to hang onto their playoff lives, the Hurricanes were a team in desperate need of a win and they played up to this label last night against the San Jose Sharks. For the first 40 minutes, we saw the Hurricanes do a lot of things that have been absent for the last three games. Players were stepping up in the neutral zone to take space away from the Sharks forwards, defensemen were jumping into the play to create chances more frequently and most importantly, we saw almost every player finish their check and swarm on the Sharks whenever they had the puck. This kept the Hurricanes in the game through two periods, but after that things kind of unraveled.
Whether it was the Canes running out of gas or the Sharks finally waking up, San Jose really took it to the Hurricanes in the third period and had them playing in their own zone for basically the entire frame. It took a few big saves by Anton Khudobin (by few, I mean 16) and some key defensive plays to keep the score tied. This was the kind of performance we were all hoping to see out of the Canes on this Western Conference road swing and it's just a shame that they couldn't do this in the previous three games. The Canes had to weather a storm in the third period and were pretty lucky to get out of that unscathed, but they also did a lot of good things in the first two periods and were rewarded for it with a couple goals. That's essentially what you hope for when you're playing on the road against a superior team and Khudobin's performance in the third period helped them seal up a win in overtime.
At this point of the season, the Hurricanes need to go into every game with as much desperation as they did last night against San Jose if they want to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. It's a lost cause at this point, but a win like this can do wonders for a team's confidence, especially with most of the Canes remaining games being against the East. They'll need more of a full-60 minute effort if they actually want to pull off the miracle, though.no comments