Games like the one we saw at the RBC Center haven't happened much this year. Not only did we witness Cam Ward's second shutout of the season, but we also got to see the Canes put together one of their best team efforts in a 3-0 win over the Washington Capitals. It was their first regulation win against the Caps in over two years, so I'm sure this was a big monkey off their backs. This was also the first time in awhile that the Canes completely dominated their opponent in all three zones which is something I hope to see more of the next couple of months. It doesn't matter whether you go by the final score, shots (33-22) or scoring chances (21-10), everything was heavily tilted in Carolina's favor while nothing seemed to go right for the Caps.
I must say, it is really nice to be on the winning side of one of these games for a change.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals 1/20/12 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Washington's are in white
The play at even strength was less lopsided in the Canes favor but they still had a pretty good advantage there for most of the game. Scoring effects (Canes sitting on 2-0 lead for entire third period) are what closed the gap in the third period and even then the Caps didn't do much. A bigger story tonight might be just how horrible Washington looked. They committed lazy turnovers, could barely get the puck out of their zone and looked half-asleep for most of the game. Sure, Ward did have to make a few impressive saves but for the most part, the Caps were just horrendous in all phases.
Special teams also played a big role as all three of Carolina's goals were scored on either the powerplay or penalty kill and this is another area where everything went right for the Canes while Murphy's Law was in full-effect for the Caps. The Canes made good use of their three powerplay opportunities and scored on two of them while their PK completely shutdown all three of the Caps powerplays and even turned some of them into offense. It isn't too often where you'll see a team have as many PK chances in a period as the opponent has at even strength, but that happened in the first period and it illustrates just how dominant Carolina was last night.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jeff Skinner +5
Worst EV Forwards: Jiri Tlusty & Tuomo Ruutu -2
Best EV Defenseman: Bryan Allen +3
Worst EV Defensemen: Derek Joslin & Jamie McBain -1
It is tough to say who had the best game because there are quite a few standouts but I think Bryan Allen, Tim Gleason, Andreas Nodl, Brandon Sutter & Patrick Dwyer all deserve a big shoutout for doing stellar work against Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Marcus Johansson. Washington's first line (albeit without Nicklas Backstrom) is no easy task to go up against and the Canes heavy-lifters held them to only four shots on goal (five if you want to include Troy Brouwer in this group) and three scoring chances. You can chalk up another great game for the third line as they have been excellent defensively ever since being put together. I was concerned about Nodl and if he would stay on this team but he's been terrific since being promoted to the third line. This does give us a predicament for when Chad LaRose comes back because Nodl is currently playing in his spot...and doing a damn fine job at it.
It seems that Jeff Skinner is perfectly fine as he had a great game and was one of the most active Carolina forwards tonight and looked a lot more like his usual self. He also showed some great chemistry with new linemates Zac Dalpe and Jussi Jokinen as these three were Carolina's most effective line offensively. Jokinen's contributions mainly came on the powerplay and penalty kill but he had himself one hell of a night all-around. The rest of the top-six wasn't as good with Staal, Tlusty and Ruutu being negative in scoring chances at even strength but they made up for it in other areas. Staal in particular was excellent on the powerplay and penalty kill and Tlusty had that dazzling powerplay goal in the third period.
All of the big-minute defenseman played well. I already talked about Allen and Gleason's coverage of the Caps first line and Faulk/Harrison both had solid games as well. Both managed to limit the Caps secondary players from creating a lot of chances and Harrison added another powerplay assist to his point total. Faulk didn't record any points but he was certainly active in the offensive zone and did a great job on the powerplay, too. The bottom-pair is the only unit that had a negative rating with McBain seeing his ice-time cut down a bit. He usually logs about 18-20 minutes per night but he played only 16:45. I guess this is a sign of Muller knowing his limitations. Joslin had that fight with Matt Hendricks but didn't do much otherwise. Neither played bad defensively, though which is what matters the most here.
Head-to-head at five-on-five
- Seems that just about everyone had their way with Washington's top line and not just the heavy-lifters on Carolina. He definitely didn't look like himself tonight and I wonder how much Gleason/Allen had to do with it.
- Dale-Skinner-Jokinen outchanced almost everyone they were matched up against and I was very happy to see that. This seems like it can be a legit scoring line once Dalpe puts together a month or two of consistent play. We've been lacking a top-six goal scorer all season long and this is Dalpe's chance to prove that he can fill that void. He better take advantage of it.
- The only player that outchanced the Skinner line? Matt Hendricks. Wtf.
- Faulk/Harrison saw some time against Washington's top line when Semin was placed on it and they did a fantastic job against them. They did a great job against just about everyone but Wideman and Alzner.
- Dale Hunter juggled his lines a lot tonight so things are a bit mixed up. I guess he's still struggling to find chemistry with Backstrom out of the lineup. I am not sure what having Mike Knuble in a bottom six role is going to accomplish, though. The only time I noticed him was when he missed a wide open net in the second period.
- My favorite thing about this table is how Nodl-Sutter-Dwyer dominated Washington's top players but struggled against everyone else. I suppose you can say that they did their jobs.
- The Staal line didn't perform so well against Washington's main defensive players but Muller was able to expose a few good matchups and this line took advantage of them. They did have a lot of problems with Brooks Laich's line though.
- John Carlson and Roman Hamrlik didn't win any of their matchups.