Countdown to Tee Time
April 9, 2017, 12:23 PM ET [0 Comments]
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Last night, the Canes dropped an exciting game in the shootout to the Blues. The OT loss sets up the Hurricanes to potentially have the same record they had in last season: 35-31-16. While the March run was exciting, it is definitely disappointing to not see a more tangible statistical difference in the standings. This is especially compounded when you look at the record against the bottom six NHL teams.
The short version of the game was: Aho/Shinner continue to look great, 1 or 2 questionable goals allowed, turnovers killed as the Hurricanes had 21 giveaways and the PP went 0-4. While the Hurricanes did look better than they did in the past two games, they still appeared to have too many lapses from too many individuals.
I was very concerned that the Hurricanes wouldn’t have much fire after the Blues scored in the first minute of the game. The Blues found the back of the net off a blocked shot that deflected off bodies in front and landed on Barbashev’s stick for an easy backdoor tap in. After the goal, I definitely asked if the Hurricanes would “pack it in.” The response was a strong effort the remainder of the game and a very entertaining, back and forth battle.
As they take on the Flyers tonight, it will be interesting to see how they address the defensive zone coverage in front of the net. The Flyers exploited the soft coverage in front of the net many times in the first four games. I mention this because the Hurricanes have been really struggling the past five games with losing men around the net.
The lapse in covering and losing men within 3-5 feet of the crease has resulted in a lot of pucks in the net—it doesn’t help that the rebound control from Ward/Lack hasn’t been ideal either. Beyond trying to minimize the threats from the Flyers big offensive weapons, winning the net front battles is a major key if you want success against the Flyers.
I’d like to see more of Tolchinsky—he saw just over nine minutes of ice-time and registered his first NHL assist on the Hurricanes third goal. It didn’t help his ice-time that the PP had four opportunities, but I’d still like to see him around 12-14 minutes.
Looking at Tolchinsky’s assist it came in the second period—Rask forced a turnover on the boards and fired a quick pass across the ice to Tolchinsky who then quickly moved it back across the ice for a back-door tap in by Nordstrom. It was quite the “tic-tac-toe” play.
The play truly starts with Rask, however, Tolchinsky did a really good job of controlling a puck that wasn’t flat and landed on edge on his stick. March saw the Hurricanes starting to find the back of the net and getting rewarded when forcing turnovers. They are first in the NHL for takeaways but weren’t getting many goals from them earlier in the year.
Tomorrow, I want to touch on why I wrote that I thought GMRF should fire goaltending coach David Marcoux yesterday. I didn’t give much elaboration, so I wanted to circle back on this as I thought it was a bit harsh/unfair to simply state something without further evidence.
Puck drop tonight is 7:00 on FSCR and CSN-PH. Go Canes!