Last night, I said the Hurricanes turned in a good effort in a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jackets but were on the receiving end of a few bad bounces & gave up towards the end. Some might say the same thing about tonight's 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings but I actually thought this was one of the worst games the Hurricanes played this season.Yes, they only lost by one goal to one of the league's elite possession teams but they also blew a 4-1 lead, were outchanced 25-10 and gave up over 50 shots on goal.
Something that may have been lost in this "playoff push" is that the Hurricanes are still a team that is rebuilding and going through growing pains. They are still one of the bottom-ten teams in the league in possession and it's hard to be a competing team when you're relying on third liners for most of your scoring and are giving up over 30 shots a game. A game like this was bound to happen and I think it was a humbling experience to say the least. After looking at the underlying stats for tonight's game, it's very surprising that the Canes nearly escaped Detroit with a win, but the better team was rewarded tonight. That's for sure.
As awful as these last couple of games have been, it's important to remember that the Hurricanes is some odd pieces away from being a good team and we saw that tonight as a legitimately great team picked them apart. Granted, Carolina was playing the second night of a back-to-back on the road but they've been outchanced more times than not this season. I just can't remember the last time it was by this big of a margin. Nothing left to do now but put this behind us and enjoy the two days off before Tuesday's showdown with Toronto.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Detroit's are in white
Aside from the first period, this was complete domination by the Red Wings. The Hurricanes were able to get a three-goal lead in the second period largely because they were able to quickly score on both of their powerplays and they were getting superior goaltending. Cam Ward was outstanding for most of this game and Ty Conklin was awful at the other end but if there's one thing we can learn from this game it's that great goaltending won't win you every game, especially against a team that's as talented as Detroit.
Ward had a bad game against Columbus and he responded by being a brick wall for the first two periods of the game but whenever a goalie is forced to make 50 saves, there's a good chance that his team is having a lot of problems. That was the case with the Hurricanes tonight as Ward was the main reason why the Hurricanes had the lead for such a long time and it could have easily been 8-4 if it wasn't for his terrific play early on. The Red Wings got poor goaltending but they were doing so many other things right that it didn't matter.
You could also point to score effects as a reason for the chances being so lopsided in Detroit's favor because the Hurricanes scored on their first shot in both periods, but whenever a team gives up 23 scoring chances at even strength, they aren't doing a good job defensively. We also saw a repeat of last night's game where the Hurricanes looked flat in the closing minutes and it was very frustrating to see them fail to create a scoring chance after Drew Miller scored to give the Wings a 5-4 lead. I think some credit has to go to the Wings for playing a great game but the Hurricanes really could have done a better job of leading a comeback even if they were getting destroyed at even strength for most of the game.
Individual Scoring Chances
I'm going to skip the "best/worst forward/defenseman" part of the recap because, as you can see, no one had a good night and everyone ended up being outchanced when playing at even strength. The only line I thought played well was the first line of Tlusty, Staal & LaRose as they produced both of Carolina's even strength goals and actually came out on the positive side of the ledger in corsi, which says a lot for a team that was outshot as badly as Carolina was tonight. I'm happy that Tlusty scored two goals tonight but holy moly did he give up a lot in his own end. The only bad defensive play I noticed him make was his back-checking (or lack thereof) on Zetterberg's second goal but it appears that he had more than a few defensive gaffes. Despite their defensive issues, I think these three deserve credit for their performance tonight as they were the main offensive catalyst but they need support from the other lines, something they didn't get tonight.
Jussi Jokinen had two assists, both of which were on the powerplay and his line seemed to be completely neutralized when playing at even strength. Skinner was able to break free for a couple chances but that was it and Ruutu ended up being benched for most of the third period. Kirk Muller made it clear that he wasn't satisfied with Ruutu's performance tonight and that's understandable because Ruutu's had maybe one good game since returning from injury. I feel that Ruutu is a player we need out there to win games but I also like Muller sending a message to those who are underperforming and I'd put Ruutu in that category right now. That said, I could see this becoming a non-issue by the end of the week.
Speaking of underperforming, Sutter's line had a very rough night. I'm used to them being outchanced but they were run over by the Zetterberg line and pretty much everyone the Wings threw their way. Dwyer had a solid game on the penalty kill but that's really the only positive thing I have to say about this line. Ugly performance from a usually solid line.
I can't think of a defenseman who had a good night but I will say that Justin Faulk played well until the third period when he was on ice for six scoring chances. He was doing a pretty good job at defending Pavel Datsyuk's line up until then but then the wheels came off and the Wings had their way with him and Jay Harrison. They were also on ice for four goals against with one of them glancing off Harrison's shin-pad. It was a perfect storm of poor play and bad luck for them.
In a game where the Wings top-six ran rampant and the Canes gave up five goals, Tim Gleason & Bryan Allen managed to not be on ice for any goals against. That was very surprising but you can see that the Wings definitely had plenty of chances when those two were on the ice, mostly Zetterberg & Cleary. Pitkanen & McBain also gave up a lot of chances in their own but slightly fewer than the other pairings. They were also given more ice time at even strength tonight and I'm interested to see if anything develops out of this.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- Not much to say about the team's performance against the Zetterberg line except that they were demolished. Same goes for their performance against Detroit's third line who also had a field day and produced the game winning goal.
- Staal's line started out the game matched up against Nick Lidstrom & Ian White. After they produced two goals against them, Mike Babcock switched things up and put Niklas Kronwall & Brad Stuart against them. You can see that worked heavily in the Red Wings favor. These two were phenomenal.
- When matched up head-to-head with Datsyuk's line, Staal & LaRose did a very solid job at creating chances and that line clearly wasn't Detroit's best tonight. Their second and third line's performances more than made up for it, though.
- Lidstrom & White pretty much destroyed the Sutter line whenever they were matched up against each other.
- Pitkanen, McBain, Steart, Sutter, Dwyer and Ruutu did not win any of their matchups.
- I actually thought Kyle Quincey played better than his number suggest. He was great at jumping into the play to create offense and looked incredibly poised when playing in his own end. He had a total of 11 shot attempts tonight.
Red Wings Scoring Chances
|CAR||1||19:43||Tlusty - GOAL||5||6||12||19||30||59||5||13||14||18||29||44||5v5|
|CAR||2||19:34||LaRose - GOAL||5||6||12||19||30||59||5||11||13||18||29||44||5v5|
|DET||2||14:50||Zetterberg - GOAL||5||12||19||28||30||59||23||26||29||40||51||55||5v5|
|CAR||2||4:22||McBain - GOAL||4||12||28||30||36||59||23||29||40||55||5v3|
|CAR||2||4:05||Tlusty - GOAL||4||19||25||30||36||53||5||20||27||29||51||5v4|
|DET||2||2:44||Bertuzzi - GOAL||4||15||25||30||36||53||5||13||14||18||29||44||5v5|
|DET||3||11:50||Stuart - GOAL||16||21||28||30||39||44||23||26||29||40||51||55||5v5|
|DET||3||8:25||Miller - GOAL||16||21||28||30||39||44||5||8||11||18||20||29||5v5|