Last night's 2-1 loss to the Flyers had a lot of positives that Carolina could take home and a game where they could have earned at least a point but things didn't quite work out that way. I know a lot of recaps will say that Flyers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky stole this game for them and while it might look that way on paper, the Flyers defense put forth a strong defensive effort. They kept most of the Hurricanes 36 shots on goal to the outside and did a very good job at protecting the area in front of the net. The Canes may have barely outshot the Flyers, but they trailed in scoring chances 13-11 at even strength and most of their scoring chances came in short rushes. Carolina definitely had the puck in the Philly zone a lot of times, they just didn't do much with it after that.
Like I said, there are a lot of good things you can say about how the Canes played tonight despite the loss. Jerome Samson had a terrific game in his season debut, Justin Faulk had a relatively good game and we saw the reunited Bryan Allen/Tim Gleason defense pairing shutdown the Flyers top line. The Canes had the advantage when it came to territorial play but not scoring chances and that was one of the reasons why they lost this game. Maybe this is proof of shot quality?
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Philadelphia Flyers 1/10/12 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Canes chances are in red, Flyers are in white
The second period was the only time where the Flyers had a big advantage over the Hurricanes. Carolina had to kill off three penalties, struggled to create much offense and were pinned in their own zone for most of the time as a result. The penalty kills and lack of offense didn't hurt them too much, though as the game was tied at one after the second period. The Canes PK did a terrific job in limiting the Flyers to only one PP chance on four opportunities, which was a huge step up compared to what happened against Nashville. Carolina just couldn't get that many good chances for the entire game while the Flyers were able to create chances more consistently. Bobrovsky played well in net but if the Canes were able to get to him more consistently, then they had a better chance at earning at least one point last night.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jerome Samson +3
Worst EV Forward: Andreas Nodl & Anthony Stewart -3
Best EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason +4
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -5
Jerome Samson was outstanding tonight. His season debut was very similar to Drayson Bowman's "breakout" performance against the Canucks back in December as he scored his first NHL goal, was on ice for six of Carolina's chances, had five shots on goal and earned a promotion to the top line. I was fully ready to blast Kirk Muller when I saw that Bowman had less than six minutes of ice time after the second period and then he played nearly five minutes in the third period. Now I have to give Muller a ton of praise for rewarding ice time to those who have earned it. He did a remarkable job filling in for Chad LaRose but keep in mind that this is just one game. If Bowman can stay consistent then we'll know if he's here to stay.
Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason are reunited and once again, it feels so good. These two limited the Jagr-Giroux-Hartnell line to only one scoring chance at even strength and Gleason logged over 24 total minutes due to Jaro Spacek leaving the game after getting hit by a puck. I am surprised that these two were kept separated for so long because they are a legitimate shutdown defense pairing and they proved that again tonight. These two being back together meant that Jay Harrison and Justin Faulk were back to playing more sheltered minutes and that was the case tonight but that might be where they are best suited. They've had a few games as the top pairing but have been underwater in many others. I still haven't decided where they should be on the depth chart but they did fine in a slightly protected role tonight and put up some good offensive numbers so I'm content with them in this kind of role for now.
The top line struggled when Samson wasn't on it. Staal was being outchanced at even strength until the third period, which is when Muller promoted Samson, and then this line became Carolina's strongest. I think we'll be seeing 15-12-71 to start off the next game because while I do not think Samson's ceiling is that high, he produced tonight and it's hard to not go with the hot hand when you have a lack of talent in your top six. We did the same thing with LaRose, Tlusty and Bowman so why not Samson?
Ponikarovsky and Jokinen continue to be snake-bitten but they didn't exactly blow anybody away at even strength and I don't think it's unfair to say that these two could elevate their games a bit. They at least played great defensively which is a little more than I can say for the heavy-lifters tonight (Dwyer, Sutter, Nodl) who gave up at least four chances a piece when playing five-on-five with Sutter & Dwyer nearly breaking even. Nodl's performance in the top-nine tonight is starting to make me realize why the Flyers put him on waivers. He was a good defensive third liner in Philly last year but he's only looked like that in maybe two games as a Hurricane.
Jamie McBain had a stinker of a game at even strength and his defensive flaws were shown on that Brayden Schenn goal where he was beaten to the net by Wayne Simmonds. His new defense partner being knocked out of the game less than 10 minutes in didn't help, though. Nor did the said defense partner being on ice for zero of the Hurricanes even strength chances. McBain has seriously been one of the most inconsistent players on the team this year. One game he will look like a legit top-four defender and other nights he'll be a turnstile in his own zone.
The fourth line also had an awful game and Anthony Stewart ended up being on ice for both Flyer goals. Ouch.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- Every single Carolina player who was matched up with the Flyers top line, with the exception of Nodl, managed to outchance them at even strength. Jagr, in particular, was shelled by ALlen/Gleason.
- The exact opposite happened against Talbot-Briere-Voracek as no Carolina player won their matchup against that line. Oddly enough, that line also contributed to none of the Flyers' goals. The same thing happened against the Flyers fourth line and they scored the game winning goal. Couturier has a sound defensive game for a rookie.
- I'm not sure how none of our lines took advantage of Marc-Andre Bourdon as he did see a lot of time against Sutter's line and it's not like those three are offensive duds. Maybe he's better than I think he is?
- Before leaving the game, Spacek was on pace to have an abysmal outing tonight as he was outchanced by everyone. Ouch.
- Anthony Stewart didn't exactly have the best of games and I'm going to assume that his underlying numbers took another plunge down after this. So much for him being on the rise.