Carolina Hurricanes: 3 takeaways from blowout of Kings

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 26: Petr Mrazek #34 of the Carolina Hurricanes defends the net during the second period agaisnt the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game on February 26, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 26: Petr Mrazek #34 of the Carolina Hurricanes defends the net during the second period agaisnt the Los Angeles Kings during an NHL game on February 26, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes blew the doors off a very poor Los Angeles Kings team in a game that the Canes absolutely had to win. They did, and it puts them in a very strong position.

The Carolina Hurricanes put up six goals on the hapless Kings, only surrendering one in an exciting win. As almost everyone else in the Metropolitan Division that we wanted to lose, won, it was a vitally important game for the Canes to win. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2, so the Canes now sit 3rd in the Metro ahead of both teams. With the Islanders losing last night, things became a lot tighter in the playoff race.

But what can we take away from last night’s game?

1. Everyone is contributing offensively

The Carolina Hurricanes scored six goals, half by forwards and half by defensemen. Our big summer 2018 acquisition, Dougie Hamilton, led the way with two goals to take him to 12 for the season, while the team’s stars Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Micheal Ferland all chipped in. We saw assists from some of our depth forwards, we saw a huge 3-assist night from Jordan Staal, and we saw some of our guys step up when Ferland had to leave the game.

In a playoff race so tightly-contested, we need everyone to play their part – and they did just that last night. We didn’t need Nino Niederreiter to chip in on the scoresheet, nor captain Justin Williams on his mic-ed up night. But the way this team came out, played as a unit, moved the puck, won the special teams battle, and kept pucks out of the net? This was an all-round team effort.

While we weren’t particularly great defensively, no team ever won a Stanley Cup by relying on two scoring lines. What the Carolina Hurricanes lack in star power, they more than make up for with effort and determination. To think we didn’t play particularly well, but still managed to put six past the Kings, is very encouraging for Rod Brind’Amour and his team as we approach a crucial fortnight of games.

2. Petr Mrazek was lights out

Petr Mrazek has been fantastic this season, particularly in the month of February along with the rest of the team. This was the best February in franchise history, and he played a huge part in that. He was particularly great last night. In a game won by five goals, you wouldn’t normally think that lights-out goaltending would be vital to the win. But it was. Despite a late third period goal in garbage time, Mrazek kept a shutout throughout a night with infrequent but decent scoring chances.

At 2-0 in the first period, the Hurricanes narrowly missed an opportunity to make it 3-0. The Kings quickly brought it back up the ice and had a fantastic scoring chance. Save Mrazek. Tripp Tracy pointed out how that could have easily been a two goal swing and with a 2-1 game in the first, we could be looking at a different result.

Overall, I do not think this was remotely close to the Hurricanes’ best game. Offensively, it was great. But defensively, some turnovers in our own end led to good chances for the Kings. Without the stellar play of Mrazek, this could have been a different game. As mentioned in previous articles, games will get much tougher from here on out. Scoring will get tougher and our goalie play will have to at least stay the same.

It is great to be able to talk about meaningful games down the stretch.

3. We kept things under control

Dion Phaneuf is not always the most well-liked individual. In a 6-1 game, with just over three minutes left and his team hammered and with nothing left to play for but pride, Phaneuf hit eighteen-year-old Andrei Svechnikov hard into the boards directly from behind. It was not penalized, but Svech was at least a little hurt on the play and had to come out of the game.

On the ensuing faceoff, Jeff Carter took a bad high stick penalty on Saku Maenalanen. Phaneuf tried to mix things up again. Each whistle that followed saw unnecessary scrums that seemed to be instigated by Los Angeles but entertained by the Hurricanes, particulary Saku and Dougie Hamilton, who each received game misconducts.

Personally, I love the energy and fight this team has, and love the chemistry and drive each player seems to have for the team. To be sitting third in the Metro in a 6-1 game with 10 seconds left and still have the fight in you to stand up for teammate like that seems great.

At the same time, you are up 6-1 with 10 seconds left. Sometimes it’s better to let things go.

Next. Home crowd could boost the Canes' playoff push. dark

The Carolina Hurricanes have a game Friday against the red-hot St. Louis Blues, before heading back to Florida for a game against the Panthers in another game I will attend. The playoff push is going strong – let’s see if the Canes are up to the task.