The Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Detroit Red Wings’ last night by a score of 3-2 in overtime.
But there were players that played well and things that need to be improved on.
In my opinion, here are three positives and negatives from the season-opener:
1. Justin Faulk: In the first period, Faulk got beat by Henrik Zetterberg, but before the Red Wing could get a shot off, Faulk poke checked the puck away from Zetterberg’s stick. It was plays like those that kept the Red Wings off the board for most of the game.
It’s play like this that will help the Hurricanes improve their defense throughout the season.
2. Ryan Murphy: With Joni Pitkanen injured, the Hurricanes needed a defenseman to pick up the slack on offense and especially on the power-play. Murphy definitely helped in this regard as the first power-play unit did much better than the second.
Murphy also carried the puck through the neutral zone and had no problem jumping into the offense.
However, the Ontario native had a few instances of carrying the puck into the offensive zone and then losing it. It’s better than losing the puck in the neutral zone, but it would be nice to see Murphy do something more with the puck.
Murphy should improve as the season moves along and if that’s the case, he may stick with the team for the full season.
3. Penalty Kill: It was a problem last season, but not last night. The penalty kill got the job done, killing all three penalties and allowing few chances for the Wings.
Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer looked especially good on the PK, but a real surprise was Nathan Gerbe on the penalty kill. I didn’t think much of him for a defensive forward, but apparently the coaches do.
1. Power-Play: Don’t let the power-play goal fool you. The man-advantage didn’t look that good against the Red Wings. The transition game had problems and the Wings had too easy of a time clearing the puck.
The Canes only had one shot on net during the power-play, albeit Gerbe’s goal.
But the players on the point need to improve if the Hurricanes want to have success this season on the power-play.
2. Jay Harrison On The Power-Play: The player that looked like he simply didn’t belong on the man-advantage was Harrison. He had problems moving the puck from the defensive end and didn’t make good choices at the point.
I’m not necessarily blaming Harrison, a different defenseman or even forward should be playing the point. It seems that Harrison is out of his nature at that spot.
However, Harrison did look fine in all other aspects of the game.
3. Penalties: The Hurricanes only took three penalties yesterday, but they were penalties that did not need to be taken.
Jeff Skinner hooked Smith in the offensive zone when there was no danger of him scoring. Eric Staal took an unnecessary tripping penalty against Joakim Andersson, but it did look like it was by accident.
Faulk’s penalty on Zetterberg in the third period was the only iffy one. The two were caught in a battle in the trenches and it looked like Zetterberg may have tied his arm around Faulk’s to draw the call.