I could pull out all of the cliches in the world to describe yesterday's 3-2 overtime loss against the Florida Panthers.
"Carolina didn't put together a full sixty minutes."
"Carolina won in every category but the scoreboard."
"One or two silly mistakes cost them the game."
"Florida played to win the game while Carolina played not to lose."
All of those would more or less describe the game against Florida pretty accurately and I feel that the same thing happened in almost every game Carolina has lost in overtime this year. That's not to say the Canes played a bad game because they didn't and they actually had the upper-hand on Florida for a little over 40 minutes. Everything after the second period, though? Awful. The Panthers outshot Carolina 13-3 in the third period and overtime and could only muster up one scoring chance. This came after a strong second period where they were able to take a 2-1 lead but they showed little effort to build on that lead, took stupid penalties and couldn't establish any kind of forecheck.
The bright side? The Canes have earned points in three consecutive games and I suppose you can say that they've earned them.
Scoring chances & more after the jump.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Florida Panthers 12/18/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances in red, Florida's are in white
Carolina had the advantage in scoring chances for the first two periods but you can see where things went wrong in the third and in overtime. I honestly think that the Hurricanes played one of the poorest overtime periods that I've seen this year. Staal's turnover which led to Shawn Matthias' breakaway chance and eventually Kris Versteeg's game winning goal was just icing on the cake. Things like this have been occurring in overtime losses for the Canes all season long and you could tell that something bad was coming from a mile away. Hell, there was a point where I thought Carolina wasn't even going to get a point (right about the time Florida had that 2-on-1 with 20 seconds left) but Cam Ward was able to bail them out.
Just an ugly finish to what should have been a better showing by the Hurricanes.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Drayson Bowman +4
Worst EV Forward: Andreas Nodl -3
Best EV Defenseman: Jaro Spacek +2
Worst EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk -3
Bowman-Staal-LaRose has given this team the offensive spark that they've needed with Jeff Skinner on the shelf. Bowman had another productive game offensively and played better at the other end, too. I can't say the same for his two linemates but I would be hard pressed to not say that these three were the Canes best forwards against Florida. Staal is still having issues finding the back of the net and he made a brutal turnover in overtime but I feel that his offensive game is in full force right now. With a team leading five shots on goal, I think he'll begin to score more eventually.
I'm not sure what the deal is with Alexei Ponikarovsky because he was the team's best forward going by corsi but hiis line couldn't create that many scoring chances. This has been occurring all year and I'm still not sure what the explanation is. The Hurricanes had one line going for them last night and it was the one I mentioned earlier. Sutter, Dwyer & Tlusty could not produce much offense and the fourth line did next to nothing. Speaking of which, I'm not sure what Andreas Nodl is supposed to bring to this team if he's playing less than five minutes a night. It seems like he can be a useful player when he's in the top-nine but when he isn't, he's invisible. Another not e about Sutter; he had eight of his draws start in the defensive zone.
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison were the only defensemen with a negative rating and if you look at the face-off report, you'll see that they had more defensive zone starts than any other defense pairing. However, they were matched up with Marco Sturm's line the most so they weren't exactly put up against the best of competition. This was essentially Harrison's role last year, though and might be a good way to settle Faulk into the league even if he didn't perform that well last night.
Jaroslav Spacek is the team's top defenseman again but he was far and away the most sheltered blue liner on the team. In other words, he's replacing Tomas Kaberle just fine. Bryan Allen was sort of put back into his old role tonight as he was paired with Tim Gleason for a little bit because Kirk Muller was mixing and matching the defensemen all night. Overall, Allen played a strong game territorially (was the team's best player in terms of corsi) but wasn't as dominant in scoring chances. Gleason/McBain had a decent showing but had some big time miscues in the third period and overtime. Wonder if anything will come of that?
Head-to-Head at even strength
I made a big deal about Marcel Goc being out, but if Shawn Matthias plays as great as he did last night then Florida might have their perfect replacement for him. He managed to beat out all of his matchups despite starting seven of his draws in the defensive zone. Oh, he was also matched up against Staal, LaRose and Bowman for most of the game. What a performance. Florida's other lines didn't appear to do that much against us but Gleason/McBain were banged up pretty good against their top line and a good amount of that damage came in the third period. Also of note is that Faulk/Harrison were the only ones to outchance that line at even strength.
Staal, LaRose and Bowman were very good against everyone but Florida's second line and Campbell/Garrison who they were matched up with for most of the game, unfortunately. They were able to feed on the Panthers first line and Ed Jovanovski, though. This does show how little of a factor the Canes lines were aside from the top three. When the defense is outchancing most of your forward corps, that isn't a good sign.
|FLA||1||15:44||Bergenheim - GOAL||4||8||12||14||30||59||7||18||20||26||43||60||5v5|
|CAR||1||1:22||Gleason - GOAL deflected in front||4||6||15||23||30||36||16||22||51||52||60||82||5v5|
|CAR||2||6:15||LaRose - GOAL||12||21||28||30||44||59||7||9||14||32||55||60||5v5|
|FLA||3||14:13||Garrison - GOAL||16||28||30||39||44||18||26||52||55||60||82||4v5|
|FLA||4||1:52||Versteeg - GOAL||15||28||30||36||44||7||9||32||51||60||4v4|