The Canes may have gotten a point in this game but my thought the entire time was that the Canes were outplayed the entire time at even strength and only got a point due to a strong powerplay. After looking at the scoring chances, my belief is confirmed. The Canes were outchanced 6-12 at even strength in Saturday's game against Washington but they generated 8 (!) chances on the powerplay and it resulted in two goals. If it wasn't for that, this game wouldn't have been close. Sometimes you need to win the special teams battle to stay competitive and that's what the Canes did on Saturday...until they coughed up two powerplay goals. Let's examine things more closely...
Carolina vs. Washington 10/8/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Washington's are in white.
Carolina actually played a decent first period and slightly outchanced Washington at even strength (although there wasn't a lot of offense in that period) but Washington took control 5v5 after that. Carolina was dominated in the second period but the powerplay goal from Eric Staal evened things up a little bit. Same goes for the third period where the Canes scored with the goalie pulled to tie the game. Carolina actually nearly stole a win in this game with how well their powerplay was working 4-on-3 in overtime but luckily for the Caps, Neuvirth came up huge...and they capitalized on their only chance in OT. Regardless of the result, I am just happy that Carolina came away with a point given how badly we were outplayed 5-on5.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jussi Jokinen +3
Best EV Defenseman: Bryan Allen +1
Worst EV Forwards: Patrick Dwyer, Brandon Sutter -4
Worst EV Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle -4
Almost every forward had a poor game at even strength except for Jussi Jokinen's line with Chad LaRose and Jiri Tlusty. Maurice juggled the lines a bit after two periods and put Jokinen with Anthony Stewart and Tuomo Ruutu. The fact that his chances for is higher than those two shows you who was doing most of the work on that line. Staal, Skinner, Jokinen and Pitkanen look like they were killing it on the powerplay but 4 of their chances came on the 4-on-3 in overtime. Sutter, Dwyer and Ponikarovsky were put against the Ovechkin line so that explains some of their shortcomings this game, although I think they did a solid job at containing Ovechkin in this game. These two also did some solid work on the penalty kill. Over three minutes of PK ice-time a piece and they only surrendered one shorthanded chance.
Kaberle was brutal at even strength but had a solid powerplay performance to make up for it a little. Still, two of Kaberle's mistakes ended up in the back of the net and he surrendered more chances than any other defenseman. Allen saw a bit of the Ovechkin line and he turned in a solid performance that night and Harrison didn't surrender one chance shorthanded.
Head-to-Head at even strength
Check out Vic Ferrari's Head-to-head tables to see who was matched up with whom.
As you can see, the Sutter line was put against the Ovechkin line for most of this game and I suppose things could have been a lot worse when you consider what those three are capable of. Pitkanen and Gleason also saw a lot of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Knuble and they didn't let them do much at all. The Jokinen line won all of it's matchups and Jokinen wasn't a minus against anyone. He was also the only player to come out positive against the Alzner-Carlson defense pairing. Speaking of which, those two completely shut-down the Staal line. This also makes me wonder why LaRose was moved up to the Staal line to replace Ruutu instead of Jokinen. LaRose didn't have a terrible game but Jokinen was creating a lot more chances. With the team struggling to produce offense, putting a stronger performer like Jokinen on the top line may have been the right call.
Scoring chances in chronological order
|CAR||1||18:49||Tlusty backhander on rebound||5||19||33||36||44||59||20||28||30||44||52||85||5v5|
|CAR||1||18:14||LaRose snapshot from faceoff circle||5||19||33||36||44||59||20||28||30||44||52||85||5v5|
|WSH||1||16:10||Ward wrister from faceoff dot||6||16||23||25||33||39||21||25||27||30||42||74||5v5|
|WSH||1||12:06||Laich stuff attempt||6||25||33||37||59||8||19||21||28||30||52||4v5|
|CAR||1||3:34||Sutter missed shot||6||16||23||25||33||39||6||20||21||30||42||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||5:32||Semin GOAL on breakaway||12||15||28||33||51||53||20||27||28||30||74||85||5v5|
|WSH||2||0:21||Chimera GOAL on breakaway||12||15||28||33||51||53||21||25||27||30||42||74||5v5|
|WSH||3||3:57||Backstrom wrist shot||5||12||33||44||8||19||21||28||30||52||3v5|
|WSH||3||3:45||Laich GOAL on rebound||5||12||33||44||8||19||21||28||30||52||3v5|
|WSH||4||2:36||Green GOAL deflected off Allen||5||6||33||37||6||8||19||30||52||3v4|