I'm not sure how many games this season I've counted as ones where we needed to "burn the tape" but last night's 4-2 beatdown at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets has to be in that grouping. The Hurricanes had less than 10 even strength scoring chances, were outshot 31-21 at even strength and the only time they could muster up any kind of offense was in the third period...when they were already down 4-0. They were able to make things a little interesting towards the end, but overall the Canes were manhandled in this game.
Before we look at the gruesome details, let's put things into context that the team's #1 defenseman and highest scoring forward did not play in this game. They were also playing only 17 skaters, which put them at a disadvantage from the get-go.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Winnipeg Jets 12/9/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The even strength chances are a good indication of how much the Jets controlled this game. Carolina could not establish a forecheck of any sort for the majority of the first two periods and had only a few really good chances. They were able to get the puck into the offensive zone, but they had no idea what to do with it after that. Really shows how valuable Jeff Skinner is to the team's top-six because he is such a dynamic offensive player and his usual linemates looked lost without him.
Murphy's Law (no pun intended) seemed to kick into effect when Cam Ward allowed the first goal 34 seconds into the game on a shot from behind the goal-line by Dustin Byfuglien. Things just got worse and worse until the the third period when the Jets decided to level off. Speaking of Ward, he is having a horrible season by his standards and his sub-par goaltending is one of the main reasons why the team is the position where they are right now. The defense isn't helping him out at all but Ward was able to carry this team last year and is letting in some uncharacteristically soft goals, so maybe the fatigue he took from last year is starting to wear on him? Possibly. I never really put him an elite class but his true talent is a lot higher than how he's performed so far. He has every right to be frustrated with the team but some of the blame has to fall on him, too. Maybe it's time to give Mike Murphy that first start? With Boucher injured, I don't see what's left to lose.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Tim Brent +1
Worst EV Forward: Patrick Dwyer, Tuomo Ruutu & Eric Staal -3
Best EV Defenseman: Jaroslav Spacek +5
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -10
The best Canes tonight, without question, were Justin Faulk and Jaroslav Spacek. For a duo who had only been teammates for a few hours, they played a pretty remarkable game and were the only positive thing about this team's performance last night. Now, we have to consider context with this and they received more offensive zone starts than any other pairing and were primarily matched up against Winnipeg's third line. So, they played well but didn't see the toughest competition. I had been calling for the coaching staff to lighten the workload on Faulk and it finally happened. Unfortunately, with Pitkanen out, Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason remain split up and Jamie McBain is playing on the shutdown pair with Gleason. McBain is no stranger to tough minutes but he has been absolutely brutal when paired with Gleason and this was one of the worst games I have ever seen him play. Maybe it's time for an Allen/Gleason reunion?
Tim Brent's seen his underlying numbers get better ever since Kirk Muller took over and he's been getting more ice-time both at even strength and on the powerplay. He was one of Carolina's stronger forwards tonight. Staal had a typical night for him where he was creating chances, was double shifted and gave up more in his own end. His influence did rub off Tlusty quite a bit, though. Not so much with Dwyer, who also played on the first line tonight. Anthony Stewart also got to play with Staal for a few shifts, too and he had a decent game at best. He still gives up a lot of chances in his own end relative to his ice-time but he was creating more this time around.
The second line without Skinner is a wreck. Tuomo Ruutu was completely silent for the entire game and didn't even get a shift for the last 10 minutes. I don't know if he got injured or if Muler decided to roll only three lines and bench Ruutu. Jokinen wasn't much better at even strength.The third line didn't see to have too much of an offensive impact other than Brandon Sutter scoring a powerplay goal, which is a completely different situation.
You can see just how badly McBain struggled against everyone here. I don't want to react to harsh after one awful game but he just doesn't seem fit for a shutdown role, in my opinion. He gets caught out of position way too much, isn't the most physical and his strengths revolve around his puck-moving skills and shot from the point. Putting him out against other team's first lines is not the best idea. Faulk and Spacek weren't matched up with the Jets first line that much but they did perform well when they were put up against that unit.
The Jets defensive line didn't have that much of a burden given the depth of the team right now but they certainly prevented the Canes top two lines from creating a lot of offense. Same goes for Stuart and Bogosian who won almost all of their matchups.
I was an advocate of moving Allen up to the top pairing but he didn't win any of his matchups tonight which is concerning going forward but I'm hoping this is just a rough week and not a sign of him decreasing. Although, it might be due to him being stuck on the third pairing with Joslin instead of a stronger defenseman like Gleason.
No Hurricane player won all of their matchups and Winnipeg's fourth line didn't lose any of their matchups against us. Uhhh...yikes. Like I said, burn the tape.
|WPG||1||14:54||Kane - GOAL with screen in front||5||14||16||27||30||59||4||5||8||13||16||50||5v5|
|WPG||2||9:44||Stapleton - GOAL||6||12||27||30||13||14||16||33||50||3v4|
|WPG||2||8:32||Little - GOAL||4||6||16||30||59||4||9||18||26||33||50||4v5|
|CAR||3||11:36||Faulk - GOAL||8||12||19||28||39||70||4||15||19||22||29||50||5v5|
|CAR||3||7:47||Sutter - GOAL||6||8||16||23||39||70||4||5||18||19||50||5v4|