Every year, there always seems to be that one player who has your teams number whenever you play against them and for the Hurricanes this season, that player is John Tavares. The former number one pick scored two goals and had an assist tonight which now gives him six goals and twelve points in four games against the Hurricanes this year. Carolina has had some difficulty containing dangerous liines (Neal-Malkin-Kunitz come to mind) but none of them have come close to what Tavares has done. The Hurricanes aren't the only team that Tavares' line has walked all over this year, but his domination of them shows that the Canes defense could use some improvement. Gleason, Allen, Faulk, Nodl, Sutter, Dwyer & Harrison have all done a solid job this year but they have their limitations and we saw that tonight. It's a big reason why they lost tonight and why they are 0-2-2 against the Isles this year.
Aside from getting run over by the Islanders first line, the Canes played well tonight and had the advantage in scoring chances 19-17 despite taking the loss. Carolina didn't get off to a good start but they eventually shook off the cobwebs and were able to keep up with the Islanders for most of this game. A horrible stretch of play to begin the third period is what ended up dooming the Canes, though as they had to play from behind for the entire third period and couldn't do enough at even strength to tie the game.
Again, a good effort from Carolina even if it resulted in a loss (only the second loss in regulation in the last month) but the Canes had poor starts to the first and third period and it ended up hurting them. An injury to Cam Ward before the third period didn't help either.
Scoring Chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders 2/17/12 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, New York's are in white
The Canes didn't get off to a perfect start tonight. They gave up four unanswered chances to start the game, didn't register a five-on-five chance until around the 18 minute mark and looked asleep for the first ten minutes or so. Despite that, they still went into the second tied 1-1 thanks to a four-on-four goal by Brandon Sutter and a couple powerplays. Carolina looked much better in the second and had the advantage in scoring chances. They started out strong with a goal by Jiri Tlusty 15 seconds in (which extends his point streak to 15 games) and then a mismatch happened when Spacek & McBain were caught on ice against the Tavares line. Johnny T took full advantage of that and tied the game. Only a few minutes later, the Islanders struck on the powerplay off a beautiful passing play between Frans Nielsen, Tavares and PA Parenteau to take the lead. Carolina would not go away, though as Jaro Spacek scored quickly off an offensive zone face-off win to tie it at three.
The scoring chances reflected the pace of play pretty well as it was mostly a deadlock at even strength between both teams and no one seemed to have an advantage in the second period. The third was a much different story. Cam Ward had to leave the game with a lower-body injury and Justin Peters made his second appearance in net in as many days. A problem with Peters this year is that the Canes always seem to give up a ton of shots when he is starting. You would think that in a 3-3 game in the third period they would try to play better defense and protect the area in front of the net. That's not how it started. It took only one shift for the Islanders to take the lead as the Tavares line produced three golden chances right off the bat and #91 put home his second goal of the night off a rebound. Remember how Carolina got off to a poor start in the third period of last night's game? The same thing happened again and this time it hurt them a lot more. Carolina did their best to battle back and they nearly had the game-tying goal at the last second, but it wasn't enough and they are now winless in the season series against the Islanders this year.
Even strength play wasn't too much of a problem tonight. It was just a combination of poor stretches of play and not being able to score in special teams situations. Carolina had a couple good powerplays that they didn't score on while the Islanders produced only one powerplay scoring chance and guess what, they scored on it. Certainly not the worst effort we've seen from the Canes but far from the best.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen +8
Worst EV Forward: Jerome Samson -3
Best EV Defensemen: Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison +2
Worst EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason -3
After taking a beating at even strength last night, the Bowman-Jokinen-Skinner line was back with avengance tonight and they were by far the most active unit in the third period. Bowman had one hell of a third period as he produced four of Carolina's even strength scoring chances and looked like he would do anything to tie the game up. Jokinen also had a very productive game and nearly had the game tying goal in the last few seconds. Skinner also had a nice bouce-back performance after a couple of rough games.
As for Staal's line, they were good but had a lot of instances where they weren't playing as a unit due to Muller mixing things up with defensive zone draws. He didn't get the last change tonight and used Staal with a couple different linemates. Samson and Tlusty were also spread around in the lineup too and their numbers here show that they struggled away from Staal. Tlusty extended his goal streak tonight but his defense wasn't exactly good tonight and neither was Samson's. The latter had a rough third period as he was on ice for five Islander scoring chances and none of Carolina's.
A disadvantage of playing on the road is not always being able to get the matchups you want and that was the case tonight as Muller struggled to get Sutter, Nodl & Dwyer against Tavares' line and the results speak for themselves. As a unit, these three allowed four even strength scoring chances and that's not bad for a primarily defensive line. However, Jack Capuano was able to keep Tavares away from these three along with Tim Gleason & Bryan Allen a lot tonight and that played a big factor in the Isles winning. On another note, Sutter had one of his best offensive games of the year and recorded his 100th NHL point.
Anthony Stewart and Derek Joslin finally produced a scoring chance and they had a few good hits. Joslin had a particularly good one on Michael Grabner in the first period. These two make a mean line but they aren't exactly offensive dynamos so I have a feeling that will be a problem when it comes to depth. Their center, Tim Brent, didn't play much at even strength but he did some solid work on the powerplay again. I think he can officially be called a "specialist" there because that seems to be what he does best.
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison come out on top among defenders and they had a strong third period after a rough start to the game. Their main assignment tonight was the Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo line and they limited them to only three shots. They allowed that one early goal, which was likely due to Harrison screening Ward, but they played a solid game overall.
As you can probably guess, Gleason and Allen were stuck defending the Tavares line and they were hammered. They seemed to have trouble containing the Isles' big line and they were the defense pairing that was on ice for that disaster shift to begin the third period. I didn't think they played a horrible game because while they gave up a lot of chances, they were also on ice for plenty of Carolina chances, as well. A strange stat tonight is that neither had a blocked shot, or at least they didn't according to the Nassau Coliseum scorers. I trust them about as much as the ones at Madison Square Garden and that isn't a compliment.
It is always nice to score a goal after having a rough game and Jaroslav Spacek did just that tonight by getting his third goal of the year and playing a lot better than he did against San Jose. Unfortunately, he got exposed big time on that first Tavares goal, which was a huge mismatch and a disaster waiting to happen. Jamie McBain also had a relatively good game at even strength but a poor night on the powerplay.
- Tlusty, Samson, Gleason and Allen were all steamrolled by the Tavares line. As much as I like watching him, he is the reason why I am glad that Carolina is done with the Islanders this year.
- A little stat that went unnoticed in this game was that Skinner, Jokinen & Bowman did some serious damage against the Islanders main defensive line and could have easily had at least a goal tonight. Putting up a seven spot against Frans Nielsen is no easy task.
- Not having Travis Hamonic hurt the Islanders tonight. It would have been nice having him against the Skinner line instead of Eaton & Jurcina.
- Carolina struggled to do much against Mark Streit and Andy MacDonald. I felt that those two were quiet tonight but they were solidly effective at keeping our first line in check.
- Harrison/Faulk actually did a respectful job against Tavares' line and dominated the Nielsen line. Good game from these two.
- McBain/Spacek did well when they were protected. When they weren't, things got ugly. See the Islanders second goal.