2. No Stupid Penalties
I discussed this in the recap I wrote after the loss to Tampa Bay. The Hurricanes played a sloppy third period in particular (though the refs didn’t help) and it cost them. The Washington power play is currently tenth in the league, Tampa Bay’s is first and is really really good, but tenth is good enough to score some goals. Particularly, when you Alex Ovechkin on your team, the power play is something you look forward to.
It is well documented how great of a job Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney have done in their first years in Carolina, but they need some help when we’re done a man, obviously. They didn’t get that against Tampa. In the first period, Steven Stamkos was able to float away from the play undetected for an easy one-timer. It Kind of looked like an Ovechkin power play goal a little bit.
If the Carolina Hurricanes are serious about making the playoffs for the first time since 2009, and I don’t think anyone would say they aren’t, they need to continue to play disciplined hockey against teams with above average power plays. Especially so when their own power play is so horrific. On Sunday, they were booed during their third period power play. They overcame those lost two minutes to score late in the third, eventually winning it in overtime. But we can’t rely on late game heroics to bail us out every night. See infra.