Tonight's game is why you hear so many coaches say that they are more concerned with generating scoring chances instead of shots on net. The Hurricanes were outplayed for most of this game by the eye-test but outshot the Rangers 31-27 according to the game report. How many of those 31 shots were scoring chances, though? Nine. Yep, that's it. The Canes did have the upper hand in shots but most of them came from the outside and Martin Biron didn't need to do much to stop them. That or the official scorer at RBC Center was trigger-happy with the "home team shot on goal" button.
I wouldn't say that the Canes played awful last night but this definitely wasn't one of their better performances. They were able to score early but failed to do anything with their leads and either took silly penalties or tried to make Cam Ward do most of the work. Neither a good recipe for success when you're a team in a rut like Carolina is right now. It wasn't a complete meltdown like the last time we played the Rangers and the Canes had a couple bounces that didn't go their way, but I was expecting a better showing than this.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes Scoring Chances 12/1/11
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, New York's are in blue
The worst part of this game was the third period. Carolina had scored a goal late in the second to make it a 4-3 game and couldn't do anything to build off it. Actually that isn't true because the one scoring chance they had in the third came less than a minute in, but that's all they had. Then things snowballed when Mike Sauer scored on a long point-shot and the Canes could not mount any sort of comeback. They weren't that out of the game even after his goal but inability to turn any of their offensive possessions into scoring opportunities is what sunk them.
I would also rant about the powerplay but they had only one 5-on-4 opportunity and literally did nothing with it. I'm beginning to write the same horror story here so I won't bother evaluating.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Tuomo Ruutu +3
Worst EV Forward: Chad LaRose -5
Best EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk & Joni Pitkanen +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle -4
This is strange because the four players I highlighted sum up some Carolina fan's favorite players and scapegoats respectively. Both in their correct spots, too. Anyway, the top line has been on quite a tear the past few games and Jeff Skinner scored yet another goal. Ruutu might have another goal because I'm pretty sure Joslin's tally went off his skate but I'm not 100% sure about it. Also of note is that Eric Staal has four points in his last three games which is making me more confident about my prediction of him having an offensive breakout in December.
Unfortunately, the top line were the only forwards who played well last night. The entire team had nine chances and those three alone were on ice for six of them. The second line was awful with LaRose having one of his worst games of the year. Jokinen's decline is beginning to worry me a lot, too. Tlusty may have scored the first goal of the game but his line with Sutter & Dwyer did next to nothing offensively. The fourth line is guilty of that, too.
Justin Faulk had one of his better defensive games of the year as he wasn't on ice for a ton of chances. Him and Pitkanen were the best defensemen last night and I wouldn't mind seeing these two paired together at some point. Seems like pairing that we could use for years to come. Joslin had one of his stronger games of the year and he was rewarded with more minutes. It was kind of a mixed bag with him as he gave up as many chances as he created (and was on ice for two NYR goals) but he made a strong case to keep himself in the lineup. He was doing a great job at trying to create offense and played well on the penalty kill.
The case for Joslin to stay in the lineup becomes more convincing when you see how bad Kaberle played. For some unknown reason, he was given the second most EV ice time among defensemen and ended up being outchanced by a wide margin. It's even worse when you look at who he was matched up against. To be fair to him, Allen didn't play well last night either and he was put up against the same competition. He was also on ice for four Ranger goals, so that could be why he saw a reduction in minutes. Very disappointing showing from him after how great he played last month.
Head-to-Head at 5-on-5
Staal's line did most of their damage against the Richards' line and the Girardi-McDonagh pairing and that's a tough matchup any way you cut it, so good on them. Pitkanen and Joslin also shut them down completely as that line was ineffective for most of the night. Faulk also saw some time against them and played great. Speaking of Faulk, it's interesting when you compare how well he played compared to Gleason because he was paired with him for most of the game. Not sure what happened there but I do know that Muller put him with Joslin for a little bit.
The second line was completely ineffective against Gaborik, Stepan & Anisimov while the third line did their job against those three for the most part. Tortorella must have been able to get the matchup he wanted against Jokinen, LaRose & Ponikarovsky and took full advantage of it. Muller has also been utilizing matchups but it doesn't look like he used the last change to his advantage in this game when you see how badly the second line got torched by the Rags first line. Tortorella also did a good job of protecting Eminger & Woywitka as they weren't used in a lot of important situations and were free from harm for most of the game.
Allen and Kaberle lost all of their matchups and that includes their fourth line, who I thought played a great game.
|CAR||1||19:25||Tlusty - GOAL||6||16||19||28||30||39||4||10||21||38||42||43||5v5|
|NYR||1||18:18||Callahan - GOAL||5||6||30||36||59||4||10||19||21||24||43||4v5|
|CAR||1||0:09||Skinner - GOAL||12||15||25||28||30||53||5||8||19||24||27||43||5v5|
|NYR||2||11:06||McDonagh GOAL deflected off Joslin\'s stick||6||19||25||27||30||37||5||8||17||27||42||43||5v5|
|NYR||2||6:13||Avery - GOAL||5||16||23||27||30||59||4||10||16||21||38||43||5v5|
|CAR||2||2:13||Joslin - GOAL went off Fedotenko\'s stick||12||15||23||25||27||30||5||19||24||26||27||43||5v5|
|NYR||3||14:18||Sauer - GOAL screen in front||5||23||30||36||51||59||4||22||34||38||43||62||5v5|