Today marks the first time this season that a Carolina goalie not named Cam Ward recorded a win. After performing below replacement level last year, many wondered if we would see back-up goalie Justin Peters even play a game in Raleigh this season. He did start the year in Charlotte but an injury to Brian Boucher led to him being called-up and because he doesn't get to play much, Peters needs to make the most out of his starts. Tonight, he did just that in stopping 35 of 37 shots and playing a huge role in the Canes winning tonight's game 3-2. I know that he got a two-goal cushion to start things out but Carolina's offense fell asleep in the third period and Peters was the main reason why the Sharks didn't break this game wide open. He earned every bit of this win.
While I am happy for Peters, I have to say that I wasn't pleased with Carolina's overall effort tonight. I know the Sharks are a great team but seeing the Canes come out flat in the third period with a 2-0 lead was very discouraging. They were playing so strong defensively for the previous 40 minutes and then they just let the Sharks walk all over at the beginning of the third period and they tied the game. A good shift and a deflection goal from Jussi Jokinen put Carolina back on top but this win could have come a lot easier than it did.
In the end, a win is a win and after how many bad bounces the Canes got last week, I will gladly take a victory like this. Carolina managed to only hang on by the skin of their teeth but it's still two points in the standings and another step out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference.
Scoring chances & more after the jump.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. San Jose Sharks 2/17/12 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, San Jose's chances are in white
This more or less describes what I said in the introduction. Carolina was containing San Jose well for the first two periods and got a nice early 2-0 lead thanks to a generous bounce and a powerplay. They were getting outplayed at even strength for most of the night but when you limit a team like San Jose to seven total chances in fourty minutes, you've done a fine job defensively. San Jose then exploded to start the third period with six unanswered chances including the two goals from Dan Boyle and Brent Burns. Carolina's lone three scoring chances came within one minute of eachother and thankfully, one of them was a goal. A long shot from Jamie McBain was tipped in by Jussi Jokinen and that would end up being the game-winning tally. The Canes certainly made Peters earn this one, though. The Sharks pressed hard in the last three minutes and Peters had to make a few big saves including a ridiculous pad stop on Patrick Marleau with 1:20 remaining.
Special teams, goaltending and a little bit of luck is what ended up winning this game for the Hurricanes. It's not the best strategy going forward but it was good to see the Canes stay disciplined and kill off their only penalty without surrendering any chances. Winning the special teams battle generally leads to good things and it helped out Carolina tonight. The Canes are going to need to pick up their effort at even strength if they want this winning streak to last for more than two games, though.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jerome Samson +2
Best EV Defensemen: Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison +1
Worst EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen -5
Worst EV Defenseman: Jaroslav Spacek -6
Samson didn't have a goal or a point but there was no doubt that he was a factor tonight. His line with Staal and Tlusty were the Canes most efficient line at even strength. They were also the only line that was able to consistently get pressure in the offensive zone and test Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss. These three were great no matter what situation they were playing in as they all played great on the powerplay and were solid defensively. They also produced half of the Carolina's even strength scoring chances (granted, it was only four) which shows how good they were compared to the rest of the team. Tlusty also made a picture perfect pass to Justin Faulk for a beautiful powerplay goal in the first period. Extends his point streak to six games.
Every other line looked off, but I thought Sutter's line played okay until the third period. They were getting into the offensive zone plenty but they couldn't do anything with the puck after that. Sutter's chance at the beginning of the second period was all they produced. They also had trouble containing Marleau, Pavelski and Thornton in the last few minutes of the game and their numbers took a big hit from that.
I know that Jokinen had two points and his line with Skinner and Bowman produced Carolina's only even strength goals but these three had yet another off night. Defensively, they struggled a lot and were constantly giving up chances in their own zone. Skinner especially had a lot of trouble with this. I don't know what's been up with these three but they haven't been consistent at all the last week or so and I am hoping that it's just a cold streak. Hopefully the two goals they produced tonight will help spark their overall games a bit.
The insertion of Derek Joslin into the lineup really helped out the team's physical play as him and Anthony Stewart combined for six hits but as far as producing chances and offense goes, they didn't do much. I guess this is what we can call the "energy line" in the future.
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison were great at producing offense as they combined for six shots on goal and were on-ice for six even strength chances. They also out-dueled the Couture line which is impressive because they seemed to be everywhere tonight. The problem is that they gave up a lot in their own end but these two at least managed to produce more than they gave up.
I felt that Tim Gleason was unnoticeable for most of this game, which usually means that he didn't have any slip-ups but he gave up quite a lot in his own end and didn't produce enough on offense to make up for it. However, the amount of chances that he and Allen gave up in their own end is no worse than how any other defenseman performed tonight.
If we're going to talk about defensemen who played poorly, I would point right to Jamie McBain and Jaroslav Spacek. They were absolutely brutal in their own end tonight, especially in the third period. A giveaway by McBain directly led to Boyle's goal and these two were on ice for the Burns goal as well. Spacek had a few horrible turnovers in his own end and McBain just looked lost for most of the night. Of course, the only scoring chance that these two were on ice for was the game-winning goal and everyone is going to remember that instead. Still, their play in their own end was downright ugly tonight and it was really disappointing because they played well against Montreal.
Head-to-Head at five-on-five
- Faulk/Harrison were crushed by the Thornton line tonight but they actually played well against the rest of the Sharks' top 9. The Sharks first line is one of the best in the league so it's expected for a rookie to be overwhelmed in that situation. It is interesting to see that Allen/Gleason came out even against them, though.
- Tripp Tracy brought up a great point earlier in the game about Douglass Murray being out and how it created a good match-up for the Staal line against one of Boyle/Vlasic and Burns/White. Staal's line did well when they were used against Boyle/Vlasic while Skinner's line outchanced Burns/White. Murray is a great shutdown defenseman and the Sharks defensive depth takes a huge hit with him out of the lineup. Burns/Vlasic logged a ton of minutes tonight as a result.
- McBain/Spacek lost all of their matchups and the fact that guys like Benn Ferrerio and Ryan Clowe were pummelling them isn't a good sign.