Last night the Carolina Hurricanes clashed with the Buffalo Sabres for the second time this week.
With the win against Buffalo, the Carolina Hurricanes gained a precious two points against Metropolitan rival Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers fell to the New Jersey Devils last night 3-0. Now Carolina sits nine points behind the Flyers with four games in hand. Let me break out my TI-83 furiously punches buttons winning all four games leaves Carolina only one point out of a playoff spot. That’s easier said than done. Games against Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh are on the horizon, but with one more loss by Philadelphia, the Hurricanes control their own playoff destiny. This is the best position they’ve been in all season in regards to the playoffs.
Since catastrophic equipment failure postponed the Carolina Hurricanes game against the Red Wings on Tuesday, their next opponent wound up being their last in what must be the weirdest home and home series in NHL history. The extra rest between the games did a world of good for the Hurricanes. Especially in the third period, because in this game Carolina didn’t allow the clockwork third-period push from the opponent to tie the game up. Sure Buffalo came on a little stronger and scored a goal, but overall the Canes controlled the play. Let’s see what the stats say.
Shots and Corsi
Buffalo carried the play a little better in the first period despite the Hurricanes striking first and carrying a two-goal lead into the second period. The second it looks like the Hurricanes really started to outplay the Sabres but a lot of that is due to Carolina drawing a lot of penalties. Still, at 5v5 in the second Carolina out Corsied Buffalo handily. But really the pièce de résistance in this game is the third period. Go and compare the last Buffalo game’s graphs to this one and the difference is stark.
In this game, Carolina pushed the play a lot better than the previous game. But like I surmised last game, the difference could be more about rest than any sort of systemic issues. Given that the team got an extra two days of rest before this game, leads me to believe this is the major factor between the different performances in the third period. All the other variables were the same except for the time between games.
Once again Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce in fine form and topping the charts like the 1963 Beatles. Somehow Justin Faulk has a bad game yet Hainsey doesn’t. Not sure how that happens but the goal was a nice one. Tennyson and Hanifin can’t repeat their performance from the last game. That makes nine of twelve games this month they have been on the wrong side of the Corsi tracks. It’s really disappointing after the nice run they had to end November and start December. Overall though a good performance by the team.
Corsi and Expected Goals
Man if that Staal/Lindholm/McGinn line can play like this every night the Carolina Hurricanes could become a very dangerous team to play. The fourth line played pretty decently as well. Still, I wouldn’t draw too many firm conclusions out of this game because of the extra rest, and well, it was against Buffalo who are not very good and their record just looks better because of loser point inflation. If Carolina can have the better part of four lines playing this well against the next three opponents I think you’ll see a team that will make the playoffs. That’s right, if the Canes beat Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh in the next three games the team definitely makes the playoffs. So um no pressure guys I just have my entire reputation on the line.