Giving a "full 60-minute effort" is something you'll hear a lot of analysts preach and it's something that the Hurricanes have been struggling with for the past few games and last night's contest against Ottawa was no different. Just like the last two games, the Canes outchanced Ottawa by a wide margin in the first period (7-2), but the difference this time is that they were unable to score. They came out flat in the second which is where Ottawa took full advantage, grabbed a 2-0 lead and then "trapped" the Canes into their own zone for most of the night. It was beginning to look like the same old story for Carolina but thanks to a little bit of luck in the form of a poor defensive play by Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar, the Canes were able to muster up a comeback and force overtime. They would only walk away with one point due to the overtime heroics of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson and three consecutive misses in the shootout but there's a lot of positives to take out of this game. We'll examine those more and the scoring chances more closely after the jump.
Hurricanes vs. Senators scoring chances:
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Ottawa's are in white
The Canes did something last night they've only done twice this year: outshoot an opponent at even strength. This calls for a reasonable amount of celebration (but not that much because they lost)! Carolina outshot the Senators 28-24 at even strength (34-29 overall) and the chances certainly reflect this data. However, you tell where things went wrong just by looking at the table above. Once again, Carolina got off to a strong start and then let the opponent run them over in the second period. That was also the case for most of the third period, but the Ruutu goal changed things dramatically. Four of the five chances Carolina recorded that period were after Ruutu's goal and that's pretty big considering he scored with less than five minutes remaining. Still, it was good to see the Canes being able to hit the switch and provide so much offense in a short amount of time. They came so close to winning it in OT but Anderson was a wall during that frame. He deserves a ton of credit for Ottawa getting the two points in this game for his play in the first period and overtime. Still, if this game doesn't show you how much of a problem the Canes have playing a "full 60 minutes" then I don't know what will. If you take away the second frame, Carolina would have outchanced the Sens 12-6 and that isn't even counting overtime. However, the Sens poor offensive numbers in the third is due to them playing a neutral zone trap for most of that period. It was effective because Carolina had nothing going for them until the last five minutes.
Best EV Forward: Tuomo Ruutu, Jiri Tlusty +4
Worst EV Forward: Brett Sutter, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Zach Boychuk, Tim Brent -1
Best EV Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle +8
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -3
It was a pretty good night for the entire forward corps when you compare this to recent games. It was nice to see Ruutu finally come through with a solid game and for his hard work to get rewarded with that somewhat fluky goal. He was also one of Carolina's best players in the overtime period as he was on ice for three of their chances then. LaRose was also great in OT and nearly had a goal but was denied by Anderson. Tlusty was shifted around a bit among the forwards (put with Staal for a little bit) but he had a solid game and saw a good amount of time against Jason Spezza's line.
Speaking of the Sens top line, they did some serious damage against the Gleason-Allen pairing in the second period with Milan Michalek doing a lot of the work. Gleason's numbers look slightly better because he was used a lot during the OT period when the Canes had their final rush. McBain and Pitkanen have seen better days. They were put up against the Sens second line and ended up in the red despite getting favorable zone starts. Meanwhile, Kaberle and Harrison were outstanding and were actually put up against the Spezza line for a little bit. This is really impressive because they didn't get protected as much and a huge rebound for Kaberle who had arguably his worst game of the year at even strength against Winnipeg.
Head to Head at even strength
Carolina couldn't seem to out-power the Senators top-line so Maurice elected to play the smart matchup and put Brandon Sutter's line against Spezza's which seemed to pay off. I can't stress enough how good Kaberle and Harrison were last night. Just look at what they did against the Sens top line and the Kuba-Karlsson pairing. Speaking of which, those two were beaten by almost every matchup Carolina threw their way. Carolina seemed to struggle with Ottawa's second line a little bit and they couldn't seem to do much against the Gonchar-Cowen pairing. Although, a quick look at those two's zone starts shows why. At least Paul Maclean knows to shelter Gonchar instead of giving him a ton of minutes. I'm a little surprised that no one on Carolina could get to Ottawa's second line considering it's centered by a rookie and neither of the wingers are that good.
I don't think you can say that Carolina played well enough to win this game but that statement would also apply to Ottawa.
|OTT||2||13:31||Konopka - GOAL||4||11||25||30||37||42||2||18||24||28||41||55||5v5|
|OTT||2||1:25||Spezza - GOAL||5||6||16||30||39||9||14||19||41||55||65||4v5|
|CAR||3||4:52||Ruutu - GOAL||12||15||19||30||44||51||2||15||22||23||41||55||5v5|
|CAR||3||2:52||Skinner tip in - GOAL||4||12||25||30||36||53||4||15||17||19||41||5v4|
|CAR||3||2:08||Ponikarovsky wrap around||5||6||16||23||30||39||9||14||17||19||41||65||5v5|