2. When the Defense Steps Up there is no Beating this Team
Of the five goals scored last night, three were scored by defenders. Once on the powerplay, once five on five, and once short handed. When the defense can play like that there is no stopping this team. They buzzed in the offensive zone for the most of the game, giving Cam Talbot and the Flyers headaches as they passed the puck around tiring the flyers and getting in good shots.
As they piled on the shots, they also piled on the goals. The defense kept the puck in the zone which turned into continued offensive opportunities. But the play in the defensive zone should be recognized too. Brett Pesce shouldered most of that work along with Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin.
They continually harassed Flyer forwards and forced Flyer defenders to stay at home because there were very few times in the game that Philadelphia managed to get good offensive setup in the game outside of a man advantage. Even with the man advantage they struggled against the Carolina Hurricanes Excellent defense which almost led to a short hander several times.
At the end of the game, it eventually did lead to one straight off the stick of Jaccob Slavin. While it may not look like it did on TV, sitting at one end the ice and watch the puck wobble down the length of the rink, it definitely curved as Slavin took a page out of a baseball pitcher’s playbook to practically shut the door on the Flyers.
On the man advantage, the Carolina Hurricanes defense managed to step up and go back to the same form they had in February. And just like that, with the defense properly managing when to step up and help in the scrum and when to step back and keep the line, the Carolina Hurricanes scored, not once, but twice on the power play. Justin Faulk was responsible for the second.
The third defender to score last night was also the first one to score. Dougie Hamilton has been putting his mark on this team since he got here. With his 16th of the season, he leads the team’s defenders in goals and is tied for third league wide. Can he make a run for first? I think he can because the redheaded defender is on fire.