I have defended the powerplay for weeks now because while they weren't scoring goals, they were at least creating chances and getting shots on net. That's all I really wanted to see after how terrible it was last season in both areas but I have almost nothing positive to say about how the powerplay performed the last two games. Against Washington, they had four opportunities with the extra man, scored on none of them and created only three chances. It's okay, bad games happen right? Well, an even worse game happened Sunday against the Dallas Stars where the Canes had nine opportunities on the powerplay, a few of them coming when the game was reasonably still in reach and they managed to create only five scoring chances. Sure, they scored twice but one of those came when the game was already 5-1 in favor of Dallas and they also gave up a shorthanded goal. Just awful.
The scoring chances for this game do not reflect the game too well because a lot of Carolina's came in garbage time and all Dallas had to do for 60% of the time was sit back and watch the Canes dig their own grave as they could not sustain any pressure for a prolonged period of time. The Stars just had to wait for Carolina to make a mistake and that's exactly what they did which is why this game got so out of hand early. That and the awful powerplay which I talked about earlier.
More after the jump
Dallas Stars vs Carolina Hurricanes 11/7/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Dallas' are in brown
As you can see, the Stars didn't allow the Canes to do much of anything all game and they cashed in on just about all of their opportunities. When you score on your first chance of the game and then score a powerplay goal shortly after, there isn't much need to apply a lot of pressure. All Dallas had to do was prevent the Canes from creating any offense and capitalize on the mistakes that they made and there were plenty of them. It also helped that Cam Ward let in a pretty soft goal from Stephane Robidas on Dallas' first powerplay opportunity while the Hurricanes did basically nothing with the man advantage until it was too late. They outchanced the Stars 7-2 in the third period but the score was already 5-1 then and it didn't matter.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Zach Boychuk, Alexei Ponikarovsky +4
Worst EV Forwards: Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty -4
Best EV Defenseman: Derek Joslin +3
Worst EV Defensemen: Bryan Allen, Tim Gleason -3
Here's what I don't understand. Anthony Stewart had a great game against Washington and Paul Maurice responds the next game by putting him back on the fourth line to basically do nothing. The second line in this game consisted of Ponikarovsky, Ruutu and Boychuk and all three of them had pretty solid outings but I feel bad for Stewart because he was demoted despite not playing bad at all. If I were to get on one line's case, it's the third line of Patrick Dwyer and Brandon Sutter. These two haven't been creating much offense at all the last few games and have been struggling to stop other team's big lines. That's been the case this weekend. The first line had yet another okay outing with Jeff Skinner being promoted there. That line also got a healthy dose of offensive zone starts, which is what I like to see. Also, Boychuk played well when he was on the second line. Four chances in only six minutes of ice-time and he was on-ice for two more on the powerplay. Let's get this guy some more minutes, please.
The defense pairings were switched up with Derek Joslin being inserted into the lineup. Joslin looked ugly on the two goal he was on-ice for but he didn't have a bad game otherwise. It seems that Kaberle was on-ice for more chances than he was. Also, Kaberle had some tougher zone starts with Jay Harrison playing with Joni Pitkanen this game. Maurice elected to protect that defense pairing instead of Kaberle and it came with a mixed bag of results. Pitkanen was even in terms of scoring chances but he was on ice for three Stars goals. Allen and Gleason had to deal with Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn for most of this game and didn't respond to the challenge that well.
Head-to-Head at even strength
That Eriksson-Benn-Ryder line was money and destroyed just about anything the Hurricanes put in their way. It shouldn't take a genius to figure out why they had eight combined points between the three of them. I could probably count the number of Canes who had good games on one hand and three of them are on the second line. I'm hoping that Boychuk gets an extended stay there because he's looked good so far. Derek Joslin is another player who I thought played well but it's unfortunate that his mistakes ended up in the back of the net. This table also illustrates my frustrations with the third line as they were unable to win any of their matchups. They have to be a lot better at creating offense than they've been so far. The first line did pretty well at getting to the Goligoski-Fistric pairing but ultimately came away with no points to show for it.
|DAL||1||14:40||Nystrom - GOAL||13||15||19||27||30||51||3||20||24||32||38||44||5v5|
|CAR||1||6:42||LaRose - GOAL||12||25||30||51||53||59||3||20||32||38||44||5v4|
|DAL||1||0:28||Benn - GOAL||13||15||19||25||30||44||2||6||14||21||32||73||5v5|
|DAL||2||16:13||Ryder - GOAL||12||27||30||51||53||59||3||14||21||32||44||73||5v5|
|DAL||2||2:00||Benn - GOAL||12||25||33||51||53||59||2||6||14||21||32||5v4|
|CAR||3||17:57||Ruutu - GOAL||11||15||23||27||33||44||6||17||23||28||32||5v4|