If there is one thing Hurricanes fans know from years of following the team, it is that nothing comes easy and last night's 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils is a fine example of that. This was a relatively "important" game for Carolina and they certainly looked like they were up to the challenge in the early stages, gaining an early 1-0 lead and building on it with another three-goal second period. They also outshot the Devils 19-13 during that time frame and looked like a much faster team compared to what we have seen over the last couple of weeks. It was the first time in awhile that they had significantly outplayed their opponent and with a 4-1 lead entering the third period, the Hurricanes were en route to their first "easy" win of the season. Or at least that's how things appeared then.
As most teams do when playing with a lead, Carolina opted to sit back for most of the third and the Devils gave them just about everything they could handle. They spent most of that period playing in Carolina's end and while the Hurricanes only surrendered nine shots, they had trouble getting the puck out of the zone and were getting severely outworked by the Devils. Carolina did a good job of limiting chances, but this goes back to the reoccurring problem with the team spending too much time defending and playing in their own end, which is going to result in bad things and the Devils nearly got a point because of it tonight. They scored twice in the third period and were an amazing save by Cam Ward away from tying the game. You can chalk Carolina's third period play up to them defending a three-goal lead, but this type of strategy isn't always the best thing to do and it might hurt them against teams with more offensive talent than New Jersey.
Still, there was enough to be encouraged about from last night, as the Hurricanes outplayed a good possession team for 40 minutes and got two big points in the standings. A nice way to go into the Thanksgiving break before the two teams see each other in a rematch on Friday night.no comments