Carolina's last game of 2011 was strikingly similar to their last game of the 2010-11 season as they gave up four unanswered goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning and took home a 5-2 loss. This game felt a lot more lopsided than the underlying numbers indicate but that's probably just a hangover from the three goals they gave up in the third period and the awful defensive play exhibited during then. Keep in mind that Carolina was only outshot 26-23 at even strength, had a 2-1 lead during the second period and looked pretty good for most of that time. Then Chad LaRose took a penalty late in the second period which carried over into the next frame and Carolina was Stamkos'd* shortly after. The inevitable third period meltdown, similar to what happened in the season opener, followed. Definitely a horrible sight to witness because it's never fun to blow a lead and it's even less fun to give up a hat trick but I don't think this was a terribly played game by the Hurricanes. It was just a horrible stretch of play in the third period along with some bad decisions that ended up sinking the team. Again.
We'll explore the ups and downs of this game after the jump
*Stamkos'd is my new word for a goal that comes off a slapshot from inside the face-off circle. It's happened to us and so many other teams that I figured it should get its own phrase.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 12/31/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Tampa Bay's are in white
Want to see what triggered the meltdown? Look at Carolina's penalty kill numbers in the third period. They had only one penalty to kill off prior to that and allowed no chances....then the LaRose holding call happened and so did Stamkos' hat trick goal. Everything before that was mostly good for Carolina. They matched the Lightning tit-for-tat in the first period and had a slight advantage in the second thanks to a well-worked powerplay and a goal by Jay Harrison. Would the third be any different if the LaRose penalty didn't happen? Who knows? You can argue that it was a momentum killer since going 4-on-5 to start a period is never easy, but I don't know if killing that penalty had anything to do with Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison allowing Teddy Purcell to skate effortlessly to the front of Cam Ward and make it a 4-2. That was easily one of the worst defensive plays I've seen from this year. The whole third period was a horror show for the most part but to throw the whole game into that category is wrong.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Alexei Ponikarovsky +2
Worst EV Forward: Tim Brent, Chad LaRose -3
Best EV Defenseman: Jaro Spacek +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -3
One thing I was looking at was how Faulk/Harrison would perform against the St. Louis-Stamkos-Downie line and they gave up a lot of chances, 11 shots on goal and were collectively on ice for two goals against. In other words, they didn't exactly have a career night defenisvely but you can also see that they were creating offense at the other end. They also scored Carolina's only two goals, both of which were on the powerplay. That makes this game not a total drag for them but I still want an explanation on what they were doing/thinking on the Purcell goal. That was just ugly all-around.
"Good offense, bad defense" was the story for the top line, as well as they were able to get to that weak defense pairing of Brewer/Kubina and create a good amount of solid chances but everyone who played on that line gave upa s much as they created. The second line also had a favorable matchup against Clark/Gilroy and the corsi report shows that they spent too much time in their own zone, but they were able to outchance them at the very least, especially Ponikarovsky.
Sutter wasn't as good defensively as he's been recently and that was disappointing but this was a really tough line he had to face and he didn't get much help from his linemates either. Jamie McBain also had a rough game in his own end and didn't produce enough offensively to off-set it. This was with major zone start protection, too. Spacek had the best rating once again and he did not have any major screw-ups other than losing an edge on Stamkos' first goal.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
Sutter, Bowman and LaRose weren't getting the job done against Tampa Bay's big line. This really makes you appreciate Patrick Dwyer a lot because he is so good defensively and having him back would help Sutter a lot. LaRose is usually one of our better defensive forwards but he hasn't done too well in a third line role lately. Faulk/Harrison weren't killed as much by Tampa's big line but they still could not stop Stamkos and were beaten pretty badly by Ryan Malone, too.
Tampa's other lines aren't that valid because Guy Boucher was mixing things up throughout the game and the only ones that stayed consistent were the first and third lines. You can tell that their "third line" had its way with us though. Tom Pyatt outchanced nearly everyone he was assigned against and so did Ryan Malone.
The top line had a good night when you look at this because they were assigned against the Brewer/Kubina defense pairing for most of the game and ended up outchancing them by a lot and the second line followed suit. Unfortunately, they weren't connecting on their chances at even strength and I think some credit should go to Mathieu Garon for his performance. Factor in little offense at even strength from outside the bottom-six (although Bowman had a decent night) and you have yourself a loss.
|TBL||1||16:38||Stamkos - GOAL||8||21||30||37||44||59||9||26||27||32||47||91||5v5|
|CAR||1||3:49||Faulk - GOAL||8||12||21||22||28||30||2||11||13||18||32||5v4|
|CAR||2||15:31||Harrison - GOAL||4||12||21||23||30||44||2||11||32||91||97||5v4|
|TBL||2||11:43||Stamkos - GOAL||16||21||28||30||44||59||9||26||27||32||47||91||5v5|
|TBL||3||19:17||Stamkos - GOAL||5||6||12||16||30||4||7||12||26||32||91||4v5|
|TBL||3||18:55||Purcell - GOAL||15||23||28||30||36||44||11||12||16||32||47||97||5v5|
|TBL||3||13:09||Downie - GOAL||4||12||21||22||30||44||2||9||11||12||13||32||5v5|