The Hurricanes are now winless against both New York teams as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rangers last night. The game went about as most would expect considering the Rangers are sitting on top of the Eastern Conference and the Hurricanes are out of the race but are still battling to win games. Despite the score, that's pretty much what this game was like. Carolina managed to turn a 3-0 game into a one-goal deficit but could not complete the comeback as the Rangers put the Canes on lockdown for the rest of the third period an got an insurance goal from Carl Hagelin to put the game away. Hagelin's line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik was the story of the game as that line scored all of the Rangers goals, had 15 shots on goal and 13 scoring chances. Not many defenses are going to stop that.
"Good effort" is a phrase that's been thrown around here lately and that's all you can really say about Carolina's play when they lose. They haven't been playing bad and there's even been a few games when they've been able to outchance their opponents despite not coming away with the two points. Last night wasn't one of those instances, but the Canes certainly did not look bad. The Rangers just played better and got a couple more bounces.
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
Even strength play continues to be a problem for Carolina as they couldn't generate that many chances when playing five-on-five. The Rangers also struggled in that area but had an outburst in the second period which gave them a 3-0 lead and it was too much for Carolina to come back from. Defense was definitely a problem as they could not contain the Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik line at all but there were plenty of offensive issues, as well. I noticed that Carolina didn't have much of a problem when it came to getting the puck in the zone but too many times I saw our forwards elect send a harmless, 50 ft. shot towards the net which ended up turning into either a faceoff or a possession change in favor of the Rangers. We also kept shooting from the outside a lot and none of those shots were either, stopped, blocked or missed the net completely. Noticed how both of our goals came from getting to the dirty areas and crashing the net? I would like to see more of that, especially from Chad LaRose. Granted, it's hard to do that when you're facing a team that employs a defensive shell like the Rangers but I still would have liked to see more traffic in front of Biron on our shots. It would have made some difference.
As for the special teams, the powerplay did score a goal and have some nice puck movement but I was disappointed from how they played early in the game. Felt that they could have done a better job to generate chances considering they had two man-advantage opportunities in the first period and came away empty-handed on both. The penalty kill, however, was terrific. Kept New York off the score sheet and Eric Staal nearly had a shorthanded goal.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Tim Brent, Brandon Sutter & Drayson Bowman EVEN
Worst EV Forward: Chad LaRose, Eric Staal & Jeff Skinner -3
Best EV Defenseman: Jay Harrison EVEN
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -4
Dave Lewis and Kirk Muller made a few interesting decisions with Jaroslav Spacek out of the lineup and one of them was placing Jamie McBain on Tim Gleason's defense pairing while Bobby Sanguinetti played with Bryan Allen. This made the matchups a bit odd as Gleason usually plays the toughs but McBain hasn't proven himself capable of playing those minutes left and we've seen Faulk/Harrison be used in those situations before. Muller also did not get the benefit of having the last change, so the Rangers were able to get Hagelin, Richards & Gaborik against whoever they wanted and it ended up being Faulk & Harrison for most of the night. As you can see, they got hammered in their own end. These two played well when it came to moving the puck but they gave back whatever offense they produced at the other end.
In their defense, none of our defense pairings had much success against that line and they at least managed to produce some offense. Gleason also contributed a little bit but McBain, Allen and Sanguinetti were on ice for a combined three Carolina scoring chances. Ouch. Muller had trouble protecting McBain without Spacek in the lineup and you can see that he misses #8 and the protected minutes that come with him. I think a better decision would have been to keep Spacek & Allen together while pairing McBain with Sanguinetti. Allen has experience playing tough minutes and that would have given them another pairing to use against the Richards line. I know that Muller probably wanted a more seasoned defenseman to play with Sanguinetti but I think McBain & him would be fine with protected minutes. As for Sanguinetti's play, he was on ice for the first Ranger goal, played okay on the PP and was benched after taking a hi-stick from Derek Stepan. I don't know what this means regarding the future.
The forwards basically played musical chairs all night but overall, I thought Brandon Sutter & Drayson Bowman looked very impressive when they played together. Those two seemed to be the only ones active in the transition game and Sutter's great play on the rush led to a goal. They also did not give up many chances but they weren't used much against the Richards line because of how well Tortorella played the matchups.
Those three ended up playing the most against Carolina's top-six and they completely overpowered them. Staal had a good game overall but he ended up getting pummeled at even strength and most of that damage was done by New York's first line. This was also the case with Jeff Skinner and Chad LaRose and they had a lot of trouble creating offense at even strength. Skinner did well on the powerplay and so did Staal.
Tim Brent played a lot more minutes than he usually does and played great defense despite that. He did almost nothing offensively at even strength but he did have a powerplay goal, which equates to a good, but usual, game for him. The most action Samson and Joslin had was that one of them had a fanned on chance that would have been goal. I can't remember which one of them had it but it would have been interesting to see what happened if they scored.
Head-to-Head at five-on-five
- Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison were run over by the Richards line but they had good/respectable performances against everyone else.
- Tim Gleason actually did a solid job at defending the Rangers first line but had some trouble at keeping Boyle's line in check. I'm not sure what happened there but I think it would have served Muller right to reunite the Allen/Gleason pairing to use against the Richards line. He may have not been able to get the matchup he wanted, but this would have at least taken some heat off Faulk/Harrison.
- New York's got some depth issues without Ryan Callahan because none of their lines did too well aside from their first unit. Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust generated a handful of chances, though. Stepan, Dubinsky & Anisimov are usually better than this, though.
- Solid game from just about every New York defenseman.
- Notice how Skinner, Jokinen & LaRose's performance looks a lot better when they got away from the Richards line. Matchups matter, people!