This was a very frustrating game to watch if you are a Hurricanes fan because for the first 21 minutes, the Hurricanes had complete control of the game and were playing what could have potentially been their strongest effort of the season. They had a 2-0 lead, were outchancing the Blues 9-5 and were keeping most of the Blues shots to the outside. After Brandon Sutter scored to give the Canes a two-goal lead with 18:27 left in the second period, things fell apart. The Blues recorded nine consecutive chances (all at even strength) including two goals and the Canes could not come up with any response at all. They were outchanced 16-8 at even strength for the rest of the game and found themselves playing for OT instead of trying to win. They say a team needs to have "killer instinct" to win games and the Canes certainly did not show any of that last night.
More after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, St. Louis' are in blue
It appaers that Carolina was not completely dominated at even strength but that's because they were buoyed by a strong first period. After that, it was all St. Louis. They just took it to the Canes in the second period by getting 20 shots on goal and 11 chances in that frame alone. The worst part of it is that it was all done at even strength. Whenever a team puts up ridiculous numbers like that in one period, it's because they had a lot of powerplay opportunities. St. Louis had only one powerplay the entire game and didn't do anything with it but they really didn't need it with the way things were going. You could make the argument that Carolina played well to close the game and limited the Blues but they did next to nothing to create offense either. The Hurricanes took their foot off the gas pedal after taking a 2-0 lead and it cost them big time. In my mind, the turning point of this game came in the second period where the Canes were leading 2-1 and had the Blues pinned in their own zone on a long shift. They were able to keep the puck in numerous times and kept a tired St. Louis unit on the ice for way longer than they should have been and failed to generate one chance during that entire sequence. When a team can not take advantage of an opponent in a vulnerable position like that, then they almost deserve to lose. This and the failed powerplay in overtime were a couple of blown opportunities in a game full of frustrating errors for Carolina.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Chad LaRose, Jussi Jokinen +1
Worst EV Forward: Tuomo Ruutu -3
Best EV Defensemen: Bryan Allen, Tomas Kaberle, Jay Harrison EVEN
Worst EV Defenseman: Joni Pitkanen -4
The good news? Eric Staal was producing offense at even strength! The bad news? He, along with the rest of the first line, were giving a lot of chances back in the other end. The same can be said for almost every player in this game, actually. The fact that the best ratings among forwards and defensemen were +1 and even shows that. Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose have put together a nice stretch of games where they have ended on the positive side of the spectrum in this category. It helps that their line is getting the bulk of offensive zone starts but that's really the way it should be. I'd like to see Ruutu get some time on that line soon, though. I think he could really benefit from some easier ice time because he's struggling playing tough minutes. Brandon Sutter's line also had a great offensive game but a poor defensive showing by their standards. It's not that often you see him or Dwyer give up that many chances in their own end. Ponikarovsky played well early on but his scoring chance numbers took a nose dive after the first period.
Harrison and Kaberle received the easiest zone starts among the team's defense corps and I'm assuming most people expected these two to have a higher SC rating than they did tonight. Harrison did score his "first" goal of the year, though so he's definitely benefiting from those offensive zone starts just a little bit. Maybe he'll reach a new career high in points if he keeps being paired with Kaberle. Gleason and Allen's streak of not being on-ice together for an even strength goal against ended tonight with David Backes' tally but they didn't have a horrible game overall when you consider how tough their assignments were. They at least did better than McBain and Pitkanen, the latter had possibly his worst game of the season.
Head-to-Head scoring chances at even strength
You have to give credit to St. Louis' defense as they played a big role in shutting down the Canes for the last two periods. None of Carolina's lines were able to do much of anything against Alex Pietrangelo and Kent Huskins. Staal's ine was matched up the most with Sobotka's according to Vic Ferrari's time on ice head-to-head tables and both seemed to neutralize each other pretty well. The only matchup that Staal's line won was against St. Louis' third defense pairing of Carlo Coliacovo and Roman Polak. The line which got to Carolina the most was that third line of Matt D'Agostini, Patrik Berglund and TJ Oshie. Those three won their matchups against almost every Carolina line and put a thumping on the Pitkanen-McBain pairing. Jokinen's line was the only one to have some success against that line. I wasn't surprised that D'Agostini ended up with the game winning goal because it felt like he was all over the ice. Gleason and Allen were the only ones who could limit that line at all. The third line was a bit of a mixed bag as they did well or horrible depending on who they were matched up with. They were able to do some significant damage against Kevin Shattenkirk and Barrett Jackman but were dominated by Pietrangelo and Huskins. They also had some success against St. Louis' weak fourth line, who failed to win nearly every matchup. Backes, Sobotka and Stewart won nearly all of their matchups but not by a terribly wide margin and it seems tha they could get much going against Pitkanen and McBain.
|CAR||1||13:08||Harrison - GOAL||16||19||30||39||44||51||1||15||20||28||44||46||5v5|
|CAR||1||19:19||Ponikarovsky - goalpost||5||6||16||19||30||39||1||5||15||20||22||44||5v5|
|CAR||2||18:27||Sutter - GOAL||5||6||16||19||30||39||1||21||25||28||46||74||5v5|
|STL||2||14:42||Arnott - GOAL||4||12||15||23||25||30||1||5||15||20||22||44||5v5|
|STL||2||3:51||Backes - GOAL||5||6||13||30||37||42||1||28||36||42||46||74||5v5|
|STL||4||1:02||D\'Agostini - GOAL||6||16||30||36||51||1||17||27||28||36||4v4|