It was the first game coached for new bench boss Kirk Muller as he and the Carolina Hurricanes had a visit from the southeast division leading Florida Panthers. The Canes came storming out in the first period, playing one of the most complete periods the team has played all year, holding Florida to only 2 shots on goal for the period and putting 9 on Panthers’ goaltender Jose Theodore. Despite the shot advantage, the two teams went into the first intermission scoreless. About half-way through the period, Patrick Dwyer took a (questionable) boarding penalty and took a trip to the penalty box. Just 11 seconds into the power play, Tomas Fleischmann ripped a slap shot from the point past Cam Ward to get the Panthers on the board at 10:45 of the second period. It didn’t take long for the Canes to respond, as Jeff Skinner took a pass from Eric Staal and slipped it past Theodore to tie the game at 1, which is where the two teams stood at the second intermission. Both teams exchanged great opportunities in the third period, but it was a defensive miscue by Tomas Kaberle that lead to Florida’s game winner scored by Shawn Matthias with only 3:19 left. Matthias would tap in an empty-netter with 48 seconds left to seal the deal.
Some other notes/thoughts:
- The Hurricanes went 0-for-4 on the power play, registering only 4 shots on the man advantage, with the Panthers registering 2 shots on goal during the Canes’ power play time. This brings them to a woeful 11.7% for the season, good for 29th in the league.
- The penalty kill didn’t fare too much better, as the Panthers went 1/2 and the Canes are now under 80% for the penalty kill for the year.
- Head coach Kirk Muller has a lot of work to do, but admitted yesterday post game that he was happy to see the effort there and that the X’s and O’s would come later.
- The Hurricanes picked up right-winger Andreas Nodl on waivers from the Flyers yesterday. Nodl played in last night’s game on the 4th line with Tim Brent and Anthony Stewart. He was even and had 7:41 TOI.
- Justin Faulk was solid yet again, with a little more than 21 minutes of ice time, made solid defensive decisions and registered a +1. The kid is here to stay, folks. Tomas Kaberle could easily be the scape goat as he was a -2 and was responsible for the defensive lapse that lead to the game winner for Florida.
- The Canes were good in the face-off circle at even strength (59%), but were 0/6 on the PP and 0/3 short-handed. Can’t get much going on the power play if you can’t win face-offs.