In the first two games of the year, the Hurricanes have entered the third period with a lead and each game ended with a completely different result. On the home opener Friday night, the Hurricanes held a 2-0 lead over the Detroit Red Wings at the start of the third period. That quickly turned into a one-goal lead after the Wings scored in the first minute of the period and they would end up tying the game late in the third period while playing with the extra attacker.
Sunday afternoon against Philadelphia, the Canes found themselves in a similar situation where they entered the final minute of the game hanging onto a one-goal lead. Only this time they were able to get the job done and seal up a regulation win. What was so different about the game Sunday compared to the season opener against Detroit? Playing a weaker opponent probably helped, but the Hurricanes forechecking was much more aggressive that game and their team defense was focused more on retrieving the puck instead of just sitting back and blocking shots. Again, it might be easier to pull off this kind of strategy against a weak puck-possession team like the Flyers, but Carolina might be better off playing with this kind of mentality in the long run.
Tripp Tracy mentioned during the broadcast that Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour stated that he wanted the team to "deliver a knock out blow" to the Flyers in the third period instead of simply trying to hang onto the lead and not lose the game. The Canes didn't get the insurance goal, but they were certainly much better in the third period against Philadelphia than they were against Detroit and this is evident when you look at how much they controlled the play.no comments