I would mark this game as one of the most frustrating losses of the year. Judging from the boxscore, the Canes were overmatched and blown out but the truth is that Carolina was in this game for a long time and had multiple opportunities to come back but failed and had yet another third period meltdown. I would put this on the same level as the Flyers and Lightning games in terms of how bad of a collapse this was. Carolina wasn't playing awful at even strength the first forty minutes and could have easily tied the game in the third when the score was 2-1 but they committed a bad penalty, gave up an early goal and then didn't bother to show up for the rest of the period.
We'll revisit the disaster after the jump
Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes 11/4/11 Scoring Chances
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Washington's are in white
Carolina had a slight advantage at even strength due to a strong start but their powerplay was mostly lifeless. Two of their three chances came on the same powerplay (the one where Skinner's goal was disallowed). It's even worse when you consider that they had four powerplay opportunities, three of which came when they were trailing 2-1, and failed to even record a chance on two of them. Had Carolina scored on one of those powerplays or even managed to create more chances then this would have been a totally different game. It also didn't help that the Caps controlled the third period and didn't allow the Canes to do much of anything. Some say the turning point of this game was Skinner's disallowed goal (which was due to an awful early whistle) but the Canes still had two more powerplay opportunities after that in the second period and failed to get any pressure. The defensive breakdown in the neutral zone that led to Troy Brouwer's goal was a bigger momentum shifter, in my opinion.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Jeff Skinner +8
Worst EV Forward: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Patrick Dwyer -3
Best EV Defenseman: Jay Harrison +5
Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -3
Skinner was amazing this game and the rest of the second line played really well, too. I thought Stewart did exactly what he was supposed to do which was go to the front of the net, get physical and create more room for his linemates. It resulted in a goal and Skinner clearly benefitted from it as well. Tlusty's effectiveness on the first line came to a screeching halt this game as that unit was mostly ineffective for most of the night. Sutter's line was matched up with Washington's big line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin and were taken out back as they couldn't do much to contain them. I wouldn't be against keeping Stewart on the second line for at least another game because he did well tonight and did all the right things by the eye test. It would have really helped if the third line pitched in more, though. These three have been getting a lot of minutes this year and they clearly were not effective at all in this game at shutting down Ovechkin or providing offense.
Want to know why Jamie McBain was scratched for Sunday's game? Look over the footage of Washington's first, second and fifth goal to find out. Pitkanen wasn't much better but McBain constantly put him in a bad position and it's one of the reasons why he was in the press box instead of on the ice against Dallas. Harrison and Kaberle are enjoying the sheltered minutes but both really stunk on the powerplay. Also, Harrison wasn't used on the PK at all which is very interesting. Allen and Gleason were shelled on the PK but had a typical night for them at even strength. Not bad when you consider they were put up against Ovechkin's line for most of the game.
Head-to-Head at even strength
For all the hype I have heard about Washington's "meat and potatoes" line, they were hit hard by Skinner, Ruutu and Stewart. Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz didn't have a good showing against them either. I wonder if John Carlson was the main reason for that pairing's success last year because he had a very strong game overall and was paired with Roman Hamrlik instead. Unfortunately for the Canes, our shutdown line didn't fare much better against Ovechkin, Backstrom and semin as they were crushed by those three at even strength. Gleason and Allen didn't do that good of a job against that unit either. Pitkanen and McBain also had a rough game against everyone but Washington's third line while Kaberle and Harrison won all but two of their matchups. I was a little confused as to why Washington elected to put Mike Knuble on the fourth line but it makes sense with Cody Eakin on the big club. Give the youngester top-six minutes while he's there, roll all four lines and you have yourself a very balanced offense. Maybe Paul Maurice should look into doing something similar but that's alot easier said than done when you compare Carolina's talent up front with Washington's.
|CAR||1||16:34||Stewart - GOAL||13||15||30||44||51||53||21||25||27||30||42||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||18:32||Halpern - GOAL||4||12||19||25||30||59||15||22||26||27||30||55||5v5|
|WSH||2||17:23||Brouwer - GOAL||4||12||19||25||30||59||20||30||44||50||74||90||5v5|
|WSH||3||16:45||Carlson - GOAL||5||6||16||30||39||8||19||21||28||30||74||4v5|
|WSH||3||9:11||Eakin - GOAL||4||13||15||23||25||30||4||6||28||30||50||90||5v5|
|WSH||3||4:08||Backstrom - GOAL||4||5||15||19||30||39||8||19||20||30||44||74||5v5|