The DR (Derek Ryan-2G) was in the building against St. Louis yesterday. Last night, the Canes pulled out an exciting 4-2 win over St. Louis. It was exactly the type of effort the Canes needed after two previous disappointing results. They’ll be looking to build on another strong effort tonight though as they travel up to play Chicago before they head home for four-games.
This will be the second time that these teams have met in just over a week. The previous meeting saw the Canes win at home in a tough 3-2 battle. Overall, the game was played with a fast pace and both teams were well disciplined. The Canes won 30 of 53 (56.6%) of the face-offs, however, tonight will be more of a test with Hawks having last change.
One area that was most impressive in the previous match-up was that the Canes showed a lot of grit when they gave up an early goal. The Canes turned up their game and rebounded with two-goals in just under two minutes. It was impressive to see the Canes buzzing around the rest of the first period-ultimately, they out-shot the Blackhawks 16-8.
The recent tenacity that the Canes show after allowing a goal is one of their most positive characteristics. Not only was this present during the Chicago game, the Canes showed a similar surge last night after St. Louis took the 2-1 lead. The result was a very strong second half of the second period. If they can find a way to maintain that type of intensity for 60-minutes consistently, they will be a tough team to beat.
Both teams will be playing on tired legs as the Blackhawks took on the Sabres last night in a back-and-forth effort for a 4-3 OT win. Off of the eye-test looking at the box score, Chicago appeared to dominate the game as they lead the Sabres in SOG 43-20. That doesn’t even include the 27 shots that the Sabres blocked.
However, there was one area that stood out to me that I would hope to see the Canes exploit tonight. The Blackhawks allowed two-goals on three PK’s against the Sabres last night—looking at the Blackhawks PK, they are 29th in the league only killing 74.8% of penalties against them. Given the Canes only got one PP chance last time, I hope they can generate more penalties tonight.
Beyond the Blackhawks having a poor PK this season, this is significant to the Canes because of their recent PP struggles. Before Skinner scored the GWG on the PP in the third period last night, the Canes hadn’t scored on 21 straight PP opportunities. You could almost feel the “finally” expression from the entire team when Skinner found the back of the net with a roaring slap-shot.