This may have been one of the worst performances that the Hurricanes have turned in this season. Not only were they shutout 5-0 by the Devils, but they looked just flat-out pathetic in doing so. Carolina had only six even strength scoring chances through two periods of play and that was with them playing from behind. The 'Canes getting outchanced every game is something that I am used to, but this is the first time under Kirk Muller where the Canes looked like they weren't even trying. They took careless penalties, were lazy in all three zones and committed some horrendous turnovers that led to chances and goals for the Devils.
I know that they were "officially" eliminated from the playoffs and played a game last night, but this was a completely lazy and uninspired performance from the Hurricanes and I know that Muller will not stand for this. It's a little hard to get too upset about this kind of performance because all losing does is effect the team's draft position but if the Canes are going to lose out, I'd rather it be from lack of talent than lack of effort like we saw tonight. A high draft pick isn't going to magically fix a team and it certainly won't fix the Hurricanes if they put together another performance like tonight.
There's three games left in the season and I hope the Hurricanes can put together some stronger performances than this. Win or lose.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, New Jersey's are in white
The even strength numbers do not look that bad but the Hurricanes were climbing an uphill battle for two periods and could only muster seven scoring chances and five at even strength. The Devils bottled Carolina up in the neutral zone for the last 30 minutes and prevented the Hurricanes from creating any sort of offense. This game was out of reach by the third period but Carolina could only create two even strength scoring chances and had only nine total shots on goal during that frame, which speaks volumes about the amount of "effort" they put into this game. You can blame this on fatigue because the team played last night, but I've seen the Canes play better on back-to-back road games than they did tonight.
Fatigue might actually be a plausible reason for the Hurricanes lackluster performance because they actually got off to a decent start and had a 4-1 advantage in scoring chances through the first five minutes of the game. Penalties are what got them in a hole and the two consecutive minor penalties that Jeff Skinner took at the end of the period didn't help matters. Carolina was absolutely torched on the penalty kill and it played a huge factor in the Devils taking a 2-0 lead. Carolina had a few good chances to start the game but they either went wide or where shut down by Martin Brodeur. Things MAY have been different if they converted on one of those chances, but that still does not excuse them from this performance. It also didn't help that most of the Devils chances were going in and while I can't put too much blame on goaltender Brian Boucher, he wasn't at his best tonight. The guys in front of him, however, were much worse.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Eric Staal & Drayson Bowman +3
Worst EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen -4
Best EV Defensemen: Tim Gleason & Bryan Allen +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk -3
No player had a good night offensively at even strength and the only line that seemed to have anything going was Staal's line with Tlusty & LaRose. LaRose produced two scoring chances and Drayson Bowman was also moved up to this line. He definitely earned the promotion as he was was one of Carolina's better even strength forwards and seemed to be one of the few players who could establish any kind of forecheck. Jiri Tlusty also had a relatively good night and produced more chances than he gave up. Unfortunately, the only Devils scoring chance he was on-ice for was Zach Parise's goal and the FS-Carolinas cameras got a great picture of him gliding back into his own zone while Tim Gleason & Bryan Allen were stuck defending a 3-on-1. Images like that stick with you.
Once again, the Hurricanes ran into the problem of having one of their top-six lines slacking as the Ruutu-Jokinen-Skinner night had a very bad line at even strength and the latter two were especially bad. Jokinen made a few careless turnovers and lost a face-off which directly led to Petr Sykora's goal. Muller's been holding players accountable for their mistakes and he clearly noticed that Jokinen didn't have it tonight, which was probably why his ice-time was reduced. Skinner was great on the powerplay and created five Carolina scoring chances but the two consecutive minor penalties he took at the end of the first period really hurt the team. The Devils scored on both of their powerplays (the Kovalchuk goal might as well been a PPG) and put the 'Canes in a 2-0 hole which they could not get out of. The penalties he took were also very unnecessary and showed his immaturity. He's only 19, so this kind of stuff is expected from time to time but it showed in a really bad way tonight.
I want to say that Brandon Sutter played well defensively, which he did, but an odd thing is that he wasn't matched up with Kovalchuk & Parise's line much. Sutter's line played about 3 minutes against Kovalchuk and less than that against Parise. Instead, they were matched up with Patrik Elias' line, which is understandable since they were New Jersey's best line at even strength tonight but that line seemed to excel whenever they weren't matched up against Sutter and company. Over half of that line's chances came against the Jokinen line including the goal they scored off a face-off. Maybe keeping that line out there for a d-zone draw wasn't such a good idea.
There's a reason why the notes say that Allen & Gleason were the team's best EVEN STRENGTH forwards because they were destroyed on the penalty kill. The Canes gave up seven scoring chances with the man down and these two were on ice for five of them. They were relied heavily on the PK, but they also got burned badly. In their defense, not many players killed penalties well tonight. Staal, Tlusty, Pitkanen, Brent, Jokinen and Faulk all gave up at least one scoring chance per every minute they spent on the PK. Dwyer, Bowman and, strangely enough, Skinner were the only ones who were preventing chances on the killl.
Yet another rough game for Justin Faulk as he was exposed by the Elias line more than a few times. He wasn't at fault for eitehr goals he was on ice for but he didn't have a great night in his own end when it came to even strength play. He and Jay Harrison were on ice for at least half of the Devils even strength chances. He also played fewer minutes at even strength than any other defensemen. On the flipside, McBain played the most minutes.
Head-to-Head at five-on-five
- Score effects are a bit deceiving here because I would be hard pressed to say any of these players "won" their matchups at even strength. Staal's line produced a couple chances when the Hurricanes were already trailing and most of them were against Henrique's line.
- The only line that one their matchups convincingly was the Elias-Zubrus-Sykora line and they all played around 9-11 minutes at even strength. Shows how much Faulk & Harrison struggled tonight.
- Bryce Salvador played very well tonight.
Devils Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Patrik Elias +3
Worst EV Forward: Ilya Kovalchuk -3
Best EV Defenseman: Anton Volchenkov +3
Worst EV Defenseman: Mark Fayne -2
|NJD||1||0:22||Clarkson - GOAl||5||6||12||19||33||2||9||17||23||26||30||4v5|
|NJD||2||18:19||Kovalchuk - GOAl||21||25||28||33||36||2||8||14||15||17||30||4v5|
|NJD||2||16:42||Carter - GOAL||5||6||13||27||33||37||6||16||18||20||28||30||5v5|
|NJD||2||2:31||Sykora - GOAL||15||28||33||36||44||53||8||10||15||26||28||30||5v5|
|NJD||3||18:45||Parise - GOAL||5||6||12||19||33||59||6||9||17||19||29||30||5v5|