One very small positive thing about this season for the Hurricanes is that they have avoided the embarrassment of being shutout for the most part. Tonight's 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers was only the third time that the Canes have been shutout this season as Jose Theodore stopped all 34 shots thrown his way. Some might say that this was a "strong effort" by the Hurricanes because they outshot Florida 34-33 and had some good chances, but they definitely looked off for a good part of the game. A team is expected to look sluggish when playing the second night of a back-to-back and that was certainly the case with the Hurricanes tonight. They outshot the Panthers, but they were outchanced 16-17, showing that they were a bit off tonight and were not the better team. When your best player isn't at 100% and your third line is the most active offensively, it's hard to win a lot of games. That seemed to be the case tonight.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Florida's are in white
It is pretty easy to tell that Carolina was playing their second game in 24 hours as they looked very sluggish out of the gates and were outchanced 5-1 in the first five minutes of the game. It looked like another game where the Canes would put themselves into an early hole but they managed to escape the third period with no damage done despite getting outshot 14-5. They finally began to get their legs in the second period and were much better at generating chances then. Part of this is due to them playing a stronger transition game and turning Florida's miscues into great opportunites, especially when they were playing shorthanded. Unfortunately, Jose Theodore stopped all of those chances and Florida made good use of their first scoring opportunity of the priod as Tomas Fleischmann scored on a shot that Cam Ward will probably want back.
Carolina had a few good chances to tie the game in the second but they apparently used up all of their energy during that frame because they looked dead tired for most of the third. Florida defended well but the Canes looked like they were running on empty for the last 10 minutes of the third period and did not test Theodore that much. Their penalty kill producing more scoring chances than their powerplay was also a problem. I feel like we have one of the most inconsistent special teams units in the league with the way things have been going as of late.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Patrick Dwyer +4
Worst EV Forward: Eric Staal -4
Best EV Defenseman: Jaroslav Spacek +5
Worst EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason -4
The third line of Nodl-Sutter-Dwyer have been a lot more active in the offensive zone this week and they were our best line tonight when it came to creating chances. Dwyer had himself a very efficient game as he was on ice for six with 11 minutes of ice-time and had two shorthanded chances, as well. These three also combined for 17 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. All three of them had chances that could have easily been goals, as well which is pretty great for a line whose main job is defense. Although, an interesting note about this game is that they were not matched up against Stephen Weiss' line and spent most of thier time against Shawn Matthias, Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Kopecky instead. Eric Staal's line got the Weiss matchup instead, which is interesting. I'm willing to bet that it had something to do with Muller not getting the last change but he's avoided that in the past.
Staal probably could have benefitted from an easier matchup because he looked exhausted tonight and it's obvious that he isn't at 100%. Muller said that he was playing through an illness last night which helps explain why he hasn't looked like his usual self the last couple of games. Tuomo Ruutu was carrying this line as he generated both of their chances but Ruutu can only do so much. Samson, once again, was not much of a factor at all when playing five-on-five
After the game, I thought Jeff Skinner was the team's best player as he looked a lot stronger in the offensive zone than anyone else and seemed to be the only top-six player that was creating chances. However, the scoring chance data does not agree with this observation as it appears that he wasn't producing much offense. He, Jokinen & LaRose blew away the rest of the team in possesison tonight, but evidently, many of their shots weren't translating into scoring chances. Jokinen was especially guilty of this as he had five shots alone that missed the net and LaRose had four. They had no problem getting into the offensive zone but they had trouble getting to the main scoring areas. It's funny because the Sutter line was able to crash the net a lot more than the Jokinen line, which is probably why they ended up with more chances.
The fourth line had a productive night given their expectations and Bowman rightfully earned a promotion to the top line. Brent also had a solid night and finished on the positive side of the ledger in scoring chances. Stewart was somewhat invisible and didn't play a shift in the third period. I don't know if it was an injury or Muller benching him.
I'm usually easier on Allena nd Gleason because they start so many shifts in their own end and tonight was no different (Gleason had 11 d-zone starts) but being on ice for zero scoring of your own team's scoring chances is never good. They made up ground for this by limiting the Weiss line but I felt like they were a non-factor for most of the game. Gleason did have four blocked shots, though. Meanwhile, Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison continue to produce a good amount of chances at even strength while giving up a ton at the other end. It's an improvement over their last two games but these two have been spotty at best with the play in their own end as of late.
Spacek played only three shifts in the third period but still ended up being the team's highest rated defenseman and he did play a good game tonight. His best moment came in the first period where he managed to deny a Florida goal by sacrificing his body at the front of the net. Spacek's been primarly an offensive weapon for the Hurricanes, but it's always nice to see him make plays like that in his own end, too. Both him and McBain played their roles well tonight, which is pretty much what they have been doing ever since Muller paired them together. More on that later.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- The Weiss line really ran the show against us tonight as they outchanced all of their matchups. I actually thought they weren't much of a factor outside of Fleischmann's goal but I guess I was wrong. Also note how they were completely kept away from the Sutter line. I wonder what the story is behind that.
- Sutter's line had a hell of a night and outchanced all of their matchups. They may have been kept away from the Weiss line but they did a great job against everyone they were matched up against. Just about all of Florida's other lines could not do much at all when these three were on the ice.
- Interesting that Gleason & Allen were killed against Florida's top line & defense pairing but they neutralized just about everyone else.
- Shawn Matthias' line were held in check for most of the game.
- Brian Campbell & Jason Garrison completely shutdown our top line and had some success against Skinner's line, as well.
- The fourth line was actually very productive tonight when it came to creating chances.
- Keaton Ellerby & Mike Weaver did a fine job at keeping most of Carolina's lines quiet while Erik Gudbranson and Ed Jovanovski did the exact opposite of that.
Florida Panthers Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Wojtek Wolski & Tomas Fleischmann +7
Worst EV Forward: Kopecky, Santorelli & Matthias -3
Best EV Defenseman: Brian Campbell & Jason Garrison +6
Worst EV Defenseman: Mike Weaver & Erik Gudbranson -2
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