I believe that most people would agree that tonight was the best game the Hurricanes played all season. The Canes accomplished a lot of things they struggled with in the last three games; they killed penalties, played excellent defense and most importantly, they kept up the pressure in the offensive zone even after they had a lead and didn't let the Hawks back into the game. Aside from Cam Ward, I think Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen are tonight's MVP's. They were able to completely shut down the Toews line and kept them from being a factor this entire game. This may have been the closest thing we've seen to a "perfect" game played by Carolina all year. Everything just seemed to work for them while the Hawks couldn't generate any kind of response.
I should also mention the Canes outchanced and outshot Chicago at even strength. First time we did both in consecutive games! Huzzah!
Scoring chances and more after the jump
Chicago at Carolina 10/28/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's scoring chances are in red, Chicago's are in white
I'll admit that it took a lucky bounce to get Carolina going (Gleason's goal went off someone in front) but it's really encouraging to see such a strong effort from the Canes at even strength. The Blackhawks didn't have anything going for them at even strength aside for a small stretch during the second period. I said it earlier, but Allen and Gleason were both outstanding tonight and both were not on ice for a single chance against at even strength. Carolina has outchanced teams this year, but it's usually due to them gathering half of their chances on the powerplay, that wasn't the case tonight. While Chicago did play undisciplined, special teams isn't what dictated this game and anyone who was paying attention will tell you that the Canes controlled most of the game at even strength. Chicago did get 30 shots on net, but a good chunk of them were from the perimeter or from a non-threatening area. Ward was impressive tonight but the defense in front of him deserves a ton of credit, too.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty, Jussi Jokinen +3
Worst EV Forwards: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jeff Skinner -1
Best EV Defenseman: Bryan Allen +6
Worst EV Defenseman: Joni Pitkanen -4
So great to see Ruutu have another strong game and Tlusty seemed to mesh in on the top line pretty well tonight. His main skill is finishing off plays so there could be some potential there but I'm still kind of iffy about it. Jokinen continues to be outstanding and he seemed to be the main catalyst on the second line. Brandon Sutter was also very impressive again in his role as he was put against the Toews line for most of tonight and ended up in the black against them. Even Carolina's "worst EV players" tonight weren't that bad. I thought Skinner had a great game by the eye-test but he did do most of his damage on the powerplay. Two of his chances alone came there.
I can't say enough good things about how Allen and Gleason played tonight. Just a brilliant effort from both of them as they kept Chicago's top line at bay when they were matched up against them. McBain and Pitkanen struggled again at even strength. That's reflected on both here and their corsi data. Kaberle/Harrison had an uneventful night but both seemed to perform well on the powerplay.
Head-to-Head at even strength
Again, Gleason and Allen were awesome. Won all of their matchups and dominated the Toews line. Ruutu-Jokinen-Skinner (or Skinn & Finns as some people call them) had a strong night against their main matchups. The Bolland line is known as one of the top defensive forward units in the league and our main scoring line did a pretty solid job against them. They also got to Brent Seabrook quite a bit and that isn't easy to do. Brandon Sutter's line not only did well against Toews, but they also had a pretty strong performance against Patrick Kane's line despite Staal's line struggling with them. In fact, almost all of our players had solid nights aside from Pitkanen and McBain. I will say that I'm kind of surprised at how much Keith was relied on in this game. He played over 27 minutes tonight and the next closest Hawks defenseman was Nick Leddy with a little over 19 minutes. Maybe it's time to spread the wealth and give Seabrook-Hjalmarsson more ice-time? Those two had trouble with our second line but Leddy came out negative against all of his matchups and Keith only won one of them.
|CAR||1||16:52||Gleason - GOAL||5||6||11||13||30||37||2||8||16||22||25||50||5v5|
|CAR||2||2:38||Staal penalty shot||5||6||12||30||36||7||10||36||50||81||88||4v5|
|CAR||3||14:21||Sutter - GOAL||4||5||15||16||30||36||7||10||15||19||50||81||5v5|
|CAR||3||4:53||Tlusty - GOAL