The Hurricanes losing streak to the Rangers continued tonight as they dropped their third game of the year to them tonight 3-2. Despite the shot count indicating that the Hurricanes were grossly outplayed, this game was actually pretty close for most of its duration. Still, the Rangers were unquestionably the stronger team tonight as the Hurricanes struggled to create a lot of good scoring chances. Entering the offensive zone wasn't much of a problem for Carolina, the issue was that once they entered the zone, they ran into a wall of New York players and couldn't seem to maneuver around them. The lone exception being Jeff Skinner, who looked like the best player on the ice.
In the second period, I noticed more players were just opting to dump the puck in and hope something would come of it and that's not the best strategy to go with when you're playing the Rangers. They thrive on capitalizing on other team's mistakes and that's exactly what they did on all three goals. The first goal was due to a blocked shot leading to a turnover, the second goal happened because Derek Joslin could not clear the puck and the third goal was due to Jaro Spacek's clearing attempt hitting the linesman which led to an odd-man rush. The Rangers aren't a dominant possession team but they are very solid fundamentally and defensively, which means they will jump on every opportunity they get. Alll New York had to do in the third period was sit back and play good defense and they executed that strategy to a T.
Carolina played a good game for the most part, but the mental mistakes and terrible powerplay (1/5 with four chances) put them in a bit of a hole and they couldn't do enough offensively to lead a comeback. A regulation loss had to happen sooner or later.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, New York's are in white
The Hurricanes actually defended the Rangers well for most of the game aside from the second period. After Jeff Skinner's powerplay goal, the Rangers went on a 7-3 run and overpowered Carolina in the neutral zone. They didn't exactly dominate them but they were much stronger on the forecheck than the Hurricanes were and were getting more chances as a result. The second goal was a result of the Rangers strong forecheck paying off as they were able to keep Carolina's third line in their own zone for awhile and force a bad clearing attempt. That led to Gaborik getting a good chance on net and putting in his own rebound.
New York then got a gift in the first two minutes of the third period as Jaro Spacek's clearing attempt went off the linesman and it led to a 2-on-1 with Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle and of course, Prust scored on a lay-up. The Hurricanes definitely had their chances to make a game out of this, though. The Rangers were basically playing defense for the rest of the game and gave Carolina two powerplay opportunities, one of which was a double minor, but Carolina could not capitalize on any of them. You have to give the Rangers a ton of credit for playing great defense and shutting down Carolina when it mattered but at the same time, the Canes powerplay had a very bad game and should have created more than one scoring chance when they had a double minor to work with.
Missed opportunities were certainly a theme in this game.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Eric Staal +2
Worst EV Forward: Jeff Skinner, Tim Brent, Jussi Jokinen -1
Best EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk -1
Things are pretty even across the board, but Eric Staal is the one who came out on top in this game. By the eye test, he had a pretty good night with two points and playing like his usual self but he was a tad snake-bitten tonight. He had two great chances that both went off the goalpost and looked great on the powerplay. Staal was also heavily depended on in the third period playing 11 shifts and ended up logging a ton of ice-time as a result. You will also notice that he along with Skinner, Brent, Jokinen and Faulk were on-ice almost every time the Hurricanes had a powerplay. I'd like to see their shift lengths during the third period.
Speaking of powerplays, that's where Skinner and Jokinen were most effective. I thought Skinner was the team's best player tonight but he wasn't very active at even strength and did most of his damage on the powerplay. That seems to be the theme with him lately, though.
I am not sure if Derek Joslin is right for the third line because while his numbers do not look bad, he looked very out of place there and made some pretty bad plays, one of which led to a goal for the Rangers. I know Muller likes to reward players who work hard, which Joslin does, but we can't have a guy who is a 7th defenseman be playing in a key role on the top-nine.
Both Anthony Stewart and Jiri Tlusty were solid tonight and each had about three good chances between each other. Personally, I was hoping to see more from Tlusty, who seems to have cooled down a bit, but he seemed to handle the puck better than others tonight even if he wasn't generating a lot of scoring chances.
Kirk Muller must know that Gleason is struggling because he was predominately matched up with Brad Richards' line instead of Gaborik's. Gleason did a great job of mitigating that line and he along with Allen played more even strength minutes than any other defender. Who was matched up with the Gaborik line? Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison, and you can see that both of them gave up plenty of scoring chances with that matchup. I guess that Muller knows Gleason is struggling and wanted to reward Faulk for his great play but the numbers, and his play on the ice, suggests that he might not be ready for that. Faulk's defensive game is progressing but it still needs some work.
Is Drayson Bowman ever going to score another goal? He started tonight on the fourth line and then was promoted to both Staal and Sutter's line later in the game because he was playing well. It looked like he would finally have his third goal of the season tonight as the Hurricanes scored on a net-mouth scramble with 40 seconds left, but Jay Harrison's stick got to the puck before Bowman's. The kid just can't buy a goal no matter how well he plays. Speaking of playing well but not getting a lot of ice time, Samson had a corsi rating of +6 tonight and played only 9 shifts. Is there a story behind that?
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- As you can see, Faulk and Harrison struggled against New York's top line. The MSG announcers said that Carolina "didn't have an answer" for them which is somewhat true because Faulk/Harrison were overmatched and we were missing one of our better defensive forwards in Patrick Dwyer. I don't think Faulk/Harrison were dominated by the NY top line, though but they seemed to be outplayed a bit. Neither player won any of their matchups, which isn't a good sign.
- McDonagh/Girardi were able to handle our first line pretty well but the second line played a lot better when matched up against them.
- An interesting note here is that Marc Staal did well when playing against weaker forwards. Notice how his brother's line outchanced him while the Sutter line was dominated.
- Brandon Dubinsky was benched after the first period when he took a stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which resulted in the Hurricanes scoring a powerplay goal. John Mitchell took his place on the second line and, as you can see, he didn't play that well. At all.
- McBain & Spacek had a rough night at even strength but so did most of the Hurricanes.
- Anisimov and Gaborik were the best Ranger forwards tonight, in my opinion. They were generating the most offense and were flying out there for most of the second period. I thought Brandon Prust played well, too despite getting shelled against the Staal line.
|CAR||2||19:02||Skinner - GOAL||12||28||30||36||37||53||5||8||22||27||43||5v4|
|NYR||2||11:39||Anisimov - GOAL||14||16||27||28||30||44||4||10||21||32||42||43||5v5|
|NYR||2||5:08||Gaborik - GOAL||14||16||27||28||30||44||10||18||21||41||42||43||5v5|
|NYR||3||18:03||Prust - GOAL||4||8||11||30||36||53||8||18||22||26||41||43||5v5|
|CAR||3||0:40||Harrison - GOAL||6||12||19||21||30||44||5||10||18||19||42||43||5v5|