I was going to wait until I finished double-checking the chances from the Devils game to post this but I figured it would be best to get it over with fast. Last night's game ended in yet another 5-1 loss as the Hurricanes took a tie game into the third period and collapsed after a series of bad bounces and atrocious defense. This is similar to last week's game against Washington where the Canes were hanging tough with the Rangers for at least the first forty minutes and then a series of ugly plays occured and next thing you know the game was out of reach. People will point to Eric Staal's high sticking penalty which led to a powerplay goal by Dan Girardi as the turning point but the Canes were failing to create chances all game. They arguably had the advantage territorially for the first two periods but they couldn't create and take advantage of them. That came back to hurt them in the end when the implosion occurred. Being outchanced 8-2 in the final frame and giving up four goals was just icing on the cake
More after the jump.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers 11/11/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, New York's are in blue
This looks eerily similar to the Canes most recent games against the Flyers and Capitals. Chances were somewhat even in the first two periods (although NYR had five unanswered during part of that frame) and then a total meltdown at even strength happened in the third. This narrative is getting tiring.
As for some observational thoughts, I thought the Canes had the upper-hand at even strength for most of the first and second period, they just weren't getting shots on net. The Rangers defense did a great job at keeping Carolina's chances to the outside but there were guys who were way to patient with the puck (Jussi Jokinen comes to mind) and passed up some good chances. There were also a lot of fanned and missed shots, which were beyond frustrating. Cam Ward also had a bit of meltdown in the third giving up four goals on 17 shots but the defense certainly didn't help him. Maybe that's why he decided to give Brad Richards the puck behind the net. Maybe a way of saying "this is what you guys did to me on the Dubinsky and Callahan goals!" I hope not. Either way, I'm thinking that he needs a rest with the mileage he's taken this year but that's easier said than done with how back-up Brian Boucher has played.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Zach Boychuk EVEN
Worst EV Forwards: Anthony Stewart, Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty, Tim Brent -3
Best EV Defensemen: Joni Pitkanen & Jamie McBain EVEN
Worst EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason -7
I thought the new first line of Boychuk, Staal and Ponikarovsky played well overall but they could have been a lot better. A line that starts only one shift in their own zone should have been able to create a lot more chances than they did tonight. They played extremley well territorially but, like the rest of the team, they weren't getting enough quality scoring chances on net. Still, they were the Canes best line tonight and I see no reason to separate them tomorrow. Let's see what this turns into. The Skin & Finns line also wasn't much of a factor but they didn't get the benefit of protection like Staal's line did. Speaking of protection, check out Chad LaRose's numbers now that he's playing tougher assignments. I'm going to be monitoring that because LaRose was put on that line to help the team's forward depth but if he was nothing more than a passenger on the first line riding on Staal's coattails (which wasn't the case), then this could end ugly.
Paul Maurice shook things up a bit with the defense. Jay Harrison and Tomas Kaberle were put up against Marian Gaborik's line for most of the game and didn't get the healthy dose of offensive zone starts like they usually do. I think it's a combination of the Rangers having the last change and the Allen/Gleason pairing being very ineffective tonight. I thought Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen were the team's best defensemen overall with a slight edge going to McBain for his offensive contributions.
Head-to-Head at even strength
Yeah....some ugly numbers here. Perhaps the most disheartening of all of them is the fact that Carolina could not win one single matchup against NYR's third defense pairing of Jeff Woywitka and Steve Eminger. I think it's fair to say that those are two pretty weak defensemen and at least one of Carolina's lines could have came out in the black against them. Although, Tortorella did a pretty good job at protecting them and didn't play either of them that much. Staal's line was good relative to how the rest of the team did but they did most of their damage against the Sean Avery line while being shut down by Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. Girardi's getting a lot of praise right now but I thought McDonagh played just as good if not better than him, especially for being so young. Just a note for Maurice when we play the Rangers at home: Michael Del Zotto is still very prone to mistakes in his own zone. Make sure to get one of our top two lines against him again. Gleason and Allen could not stop the Gaborik line at all which is probably why Harrison/Kaberle were put on them instead and they didn't fare much better. The fourth line proved to be not much use either as they lost all of their matchups when they were on the ice. Sutter, LaRose and Dwyer couldn't do much of anything against any line or defense pairing. I think that's partially due to them playing so few mintues as it's hard to create a lot of offense when you play only 8 minutes.