This was a game that I would like to erase from my memory permanently if it were possible, but I have a job to and am here to share all of the ugly details of the 4-0 shutout the Canes endured at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. I don't even need to get into scoring chances to illustrate how ugly this game was for Carolina because through the first 30 minutes, they were being outshot 25-6. They were going up against a team who is dressing three rookie defensemen, including one who was playing his first NHL game, and could only manage six shots through 30 minutes. Let that sink in for a minute. That is unacceptable no matter what team you are. The final stats don't look as ugly because the Canadiens decided to sit back in the third period while the Canes tried to muster up any offense they could to break the shutout. There's not much you need to do when you're leading 4-0 and outshooting a team 32-12 through two periods of play.
TSN color commentator Ray Ferraro called Carolina's play "one of the worst defensive efforts he has ever seen" and I am inclined to agree with him. Although, I felt that the forwards are much more to blame than the defense corps. So many forwards were guilty of lazy back-checking (Skinner on Subban's goal, for instance) and completely forgetting to tie up Montreal players in the neutral zone and it forced the defensemen into a lot of bad situations. To make things worse, the powerplay was lifeless yet again and Carolina wasn't creating much offense at even strength either when the game mattered. It was a pathetic game all-around and hopefully a wake-up call for a team that's now lost six of their last seven.
We'll revisit the disaster after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Montreal Canadiens 10/17/11
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Montreal's are in white
Yes, you're reading that correctly. The Hurricanes had zero even strength chances in the first period. They also had only four shots on goal compared to 16 by the Canadiens. When you get off to that bad of a start, it's hard to build any momentum and create a comeback. The chances were even in the second period but this is due to the Canes trying to mount a comeback after being down by three and Montreal capitalizing on their mistakes. The awful defensive play by pretty much everyone on the ice on Travis Moen's goal was the final nail in the coffin for this team.
Yes, they held Montreal to no even strength chances in the third but the Habs were collapsed into a defensive shell for the entire period and didn't need to do much of anything. The only great chance the Canes had in the third was Eric Staal's on the powerplay which was stopped by Price. Nothing else was of too high quality. In the words of Homer Simpson, Carolina just plain sucked last night.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Chad LaRose, Jeff Skinner, Patrick Dwyer, Tim Brent, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tuomo Ruutu EVEN
Worst EV Forward: Zach Boychuk -3
Best EV Defensemen: Bryan Allen & Tim Gleason +1
Worst EV Defensemen: Tomas Kaberle -2
Carolina had no real standouts in their forward corps which is what you would expect after such a horrible offensive showing. However, I will say that Staal and LaRose were the team's best players tonight. They were creating the most pressure out of anyone and while they weren't resulting in chances, they looked a hell of a lot better than anyone else tonight. I also thought Skinner had a decent game but his defensive shortcomings really hurt the team.
The fourth line has been struggling to earn ice-time and they got a little more in this game due to things getting out of hand early. Unfortunately, Boychuk and Dalpe were on ice for two Montreal goals and the latter looked particularly bad on that Moen goal I mentioned earlier. Tomas Kaberle is really beginning to test my patience. His underlying numbers are declining and his play on the ice seems to be getting worse with every game. Harrison was also pretty brutal in the first period as he was bumped off the defense pairing after being on ice for four of Montreal's even strength chances then along with two goals. Maybe he just isn't meant for that kind of role?
Head-to-Head at even strength
So yeah...not a lot of good things to say about this. The only players who won a matchup convincingly were the second line and the Kaberle/Harrison pairing, which is odd because those two were awful against everyone else. Allen and Gleason had a solid night overall in a game that was full of defensive errors so it's nice that our best healthy defensemen are playing well when the rest of the team isn't. I saw some people defending the fourth line tonight and I honestly don't know why. I watched this game twice and they had maybe two good shifts. Sure, they were getting the puck into the offensive zone but they were not sustaining any pressure at all. Then again, I could count the number of Carolina players who had good nights on one hand so it's not fair to single them out completely.
Okay, now let's forget this game ever happened and get ready for Buffalo.
|MTL||1||4:44||Weber - GOAL||6||16||30||36||44||14||31||51||67||68||72||4v5|
|MTL||2||13:47||Subban - GOAL||15||30||36||44||51||53||26||31||51||67||72||76||5v5|
|MTL||2||0:38||Moen - GOAL||11||22||23||30||44||51||11||26||31||32||76||81||5v5|