Carolina Hurricanes: A loss that stings against the Capitals

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 28: Lucas Wallmark #71 of the Carolina Hurricanes is upended by Matt Niskanen #2 of the Washington Capitals during an NHL game on March 28, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 28: Lucas Wallmark #71 of the Carolina Hurricanes is upended by Matt Niskanen #2 of the Washington Capitals during an NHL game on March 28, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 28: Warren Foegele #13 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores a goal as Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals looks back at the puck in the net during an NHL game on March 28, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 28: Warren Foegele #13 of the Carolina Hurricanes scores a goal as Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals looks back at the puck in the net during an NHL game on March 28, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Starting on Time

The Carolina Hurricanes played their usual very fast paced style last night for most of the game. The defending Stanley Cup champs came out like it was a playoff game and had the Hurricanes on their heels for what seemed like a majority of the first period. If it wasn’t for Curtis McElhinney, the game could have been over before it started.

The Carolina Hurricanes need to understand that every game from here on out (hopefully playoffs included) will start this fast. At least matching that speed in the beginning of a game is so crucial. Relying on goaltending in the early stages of the game is likely not a recipe for success when it comes to playoff type games.

Yes, the goaltending has been phenomenal and the duo is more or less the main reason the Carolina Hurricanes are playing such meaningful games this late. But we’ve already said it before, it is the goals that win the game, goaltending can only steal one. You cannot rely on thievery to get you into the postseason.

Now, the counter to this is that the Hurricanes ended up getting on the board first in opening 20 minutes by way of Nino Niederreiter. It seemed when that happened that the Carolina Hurricanes just dug themselves out of a massive hole. They were flat-footed early and then Nino puts one in with nothing but sheer-will and effort.

BUT, this was not the case. As soon as they stuck their head out of that hole, their grip slipped and they fell right back into it – as they do so frequently when scoring a huge goal. Which brings us to our next point – holding on to meaningful leads for a while.