This is coming a few days late because of Thanksgiving throwing off my schedule but I wanted to get the chances posted for this game and I have a few things I want to discuss, too.
There are some who say that the two goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey because it's when teams begin to settle back and play conservative instead of building on a lead. That's what happened to the Hurricanes on Wednesday night. They scored less than 40 seconds into the game on an innocent looking shot from Jiri Tlusty from way past the face-off circle and continued to feed off that lucky bounce by capitalizing on the first scoring chance of the game with a goal by Anthony Stewart (which came six minutes into the game). After that, the Canes did next to nothing to generate pressure in the offenisve zone but it seemed like they would make it out alive because Montreal looked very off that night and couldn't forecheck for most of the first period. Then everything went wrong. The powerplay was lifeless and gave up a shorthanded goal, Montreal tied the game on a tipped-in point shot and Carolina could only seem to create chances in the 3rd period when the game was 3-3. Carolina went on to lose in a shootout for the second time this year and only take home one point in the standings in this game despite a strong showing in overtime. You could say that Carolina didn't deserve the two points but Montreal didn't exactly put together a good showing either.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Montreal Canadiens vs. Carolina Hurricanes 11/23/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Montreal's are in white
Two-thirds of Carolina's total scoring chances came in the third period and overtime, which shows how badly Carolina sat on that 2-0 lead for the first part of the game. This is a strategy that kills teams. The powerplay creating as many chances as they gave up probably didn't help either. Nor did them giving up a shorthanded goal among many other things. Getting off to a quick start is nice but not when you decide to sit on a lead.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Chad LaRose +4
Worst EV Forward: Jeff Skinner -5
Best EV Defenseman: Bryan Allen +3
Worst EV Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle -5
Chad LaRose was a key part in that second-half surge by the Canes in this game, he was actually very ineffective before that. He really showed up when it mattered the most, though but he, and his linemates, just couldn't finish them. Alexei Ponikarovsky was the team's most consistent forward in this game as he was constantly going to the net, creating traffic in front and doing his best to create chances. This is why I really like him on the second line and I think more goals will come to him as time comes. That is, if he could play like this every game. You never know with him.
The top line also seemed to awaken during the latter part of the game (specifically Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu) but I feel that they had a very weak performance compared to what they can do. Staal continues to be snake-bitten as he nearly had the winner in OT but it went right off the post. The fourth line had a pretty efficient game and got rewarded with more ice time as a result. Anthony Stewart seemed to be out there a lot and was getting involved in a lot of plays but not too many chances, unfortunately.
What's gotten into Brandon Sutter lately? Another game with a lot of chances for him and he managed to break even despite a lot of defensive zone starts too. Whatever it is, I hope he keeps it up.
Allen and Gleason both had a solid game with the former seemingly faring better on his own. I've noticed that his play has picked up a lot as of late and he is beginning to challenge Gleason for the throne as the team's best defensive defenseman. Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison both logged the most minutes and were involved with a lot of plays as a result. What's impressive is they were both matched up against Mike Cammalleri & Tomas Plekanec's line for most of the game and still broke even with scoring chances. Kaberle sucked and I don't think I need to evaluate on that.
Head-to-Head 5v5 Chances
What a mess. Montreal jumbled their lines around a lot and it's clear who was doing most of their damage as Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Travis Moen pummelled our top line and the third defense pairing. What's frustrating is that none of the Canes could take advantage of any of their matchups as most players came out on the negative end of the spectrum.