In what has been a mainly forgettable year for the Hurricanes, yesterday's 5-2 win over the Lightning was a nice change of pace. They built on an early lead, chased a goalie killed penalties and got a dominant effort from their first line. Tuomo Ruutu said during the intermission that they played their best first period all season and it's hard to argue that since they scored four goals, which I am pretty sure hasn't happened this year. The whole game was one of the Canes strongest efforts all season and it was great to see them get rewarded with a win, their first W to be decided by more than two goals all season. Like I said, it was a refreshing change of pace and hopefully we'll have more decisive wins like this in the next few months.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 1/12/12 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Tampa Bay's are in white
Tampa had the slight advantage in shots but Carolina definitely outplayed them in this game and the main reason was because of their great first period where they led 4-1. Things evened up after that but the damage was already done and there wasn't much need for the Canes to create that much pressure unless the Lightning had a comeback going. The closest they got was 2-1 in the first period but the Canes were still controlling most of the shots at the time so there isn't too much to worry about here. Although, I did read a stat that we have one of the worst Fenwick percentages in the league when leading by two goals (33.45% or something) but I can not think of many times this year where we led by two so I figured that it didn't mater much. Little did I know that we would be in that position last night and we were slightly outshot but not by too wide of a margin. That happens to most teams, though.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Eric Staal +7
Worst EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen -3
Best EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison +3
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain EVEN
What a game for the first line. Ideally, this is how I would like them to play every night but that seems like I'm asking for too much. Staal and Ruutu are capable of doing this against most teams, though and it was great to see them earn nine total points to go with the great underlying numbers. How about Jiri Tlusty? Two goals and an assist for him in what was one of his strongest games as a Hurricane. He is also two goals and a point away from career highs in both categories, respectively. Staal is also racking up the points, as well as he now has 13 in his last seven. Just in time for Jeff Skinner's return!
Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison are also beginning to accumulate some points with Justin Faulk picking up one more to give him 10 on the year and Jay Harrison getting a Gordie Howe hat trick to give him six goals and 17 points on the year, both career highs. These two also did a great job in their own zone in only allowing two scoring chances a piece. This was with significant time against Steven Stamkos & Martin St. Louis as these two were double shifted last night due to injuries in Tampa's forward corps. Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen played more minute overall and played a lot were against Stamkos & St. Louis so these two deserve a lot of the credit, as well.
Nodl-Sutter-Dwyer also deserve some praise for their play as they were used in their usual shutdown role and all three did an effective job. Nodl's play in his own end really impressed me and this is more of how I hoped he would play as a Hurricane. He doesn't seem to be too bad when he isn't restricted to fourth line minutes, so his defensive awareness might be what keeps him on the team once Skinner comes back.
The second line had an uncharacteristic bad night in terms of scoring chances and it's disappointing to see Samson as a -2 in scoring chances after playing so well on Tuesday. However, he also had four shots on goal and I noticed him create quite a few chances in the offensive zone and the other two definitely had their chances as well. Their defensive play, however, was lacking.
The fourth line was involved a lot more and Tim Brent had a beautiful goal in the third period to put the game away. Brett Sutter also did a nice job of screening Tampa goalie Mathieu Garon on Jay Harrison's goal, so this line was doing some work in the offensive zone, but what they gave up in their own end negates what could have been a great game for them.
Jaro Spacek and Jamie McBain were definitely the weakest defense pairing even if it appears that they didn't play that bad on paper. These two were matched up with lower quality of competition than Allen/Gleason & Harrison/Faulk and couldn't seem to keep Tampa out of their own zone despite that. Spacek had a horrific turnover on Nate Thompson's goal and McBain didn't exactly do a good job at protecting the slot on Teddy Purcell's marker. I think it's best that they stay on the third pairing for now.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-five
The first line really took it to Tampa Bay's main defensive units. Tlusty-Staal-Ruutu managed to get at least four chances against Thompson, Pyatt, Tyrell, Brewer & Kubina. Couple that with Gleason, Allen, Nodl, Sutter & Dwyer outchancing all of Tampa's big guns and you got yourself a recipe for success.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20634
|CAR||1||16:33||Ruutu - GOAL||5||6||12||15||19||30||2||4||13||14||19||32||5v5|
|CAR||1||15:19||Tlusty - GOAL||4||8||12||15||19||30||2||11||13||32||42||44||5v5|
|TBL||1||5:24||Thompson - GOAL||4||8||23||30||36||71||2||11||14||32||44||97||5v5|
|CAR||1||3:42||Tlusty - GOAL||4||8||12||15||19||30||4||13||26||30||47||91||5v5|
|CAR||3||6:19||Brent - GOAL||13||28||30||37||42||44||7||9||12||16||30||97||5v5|