Give the Goaltending the Help it Needs
The Carolina Hurricanes have to give their defense a boost.
It has to go through five before it gets past one. Both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer have been on the bad end of plenty of goals throughout the season. All while seeing limited shots thanks to some seriously solid defense from the Carolina Hurricanes. But these are still very solid goalies and advanced analytics says that they should be making more saves.
So what gives?
Quality vs quantity. While the Canes defense is tremendous at limiting shots, especially as the game progresses, the shots that do make it towards the net have been mostly high-quality shots. These are almost perfect shots that don’t give the netminding much time to react. These are shots that get past virtually anyone.
That is what happens when your defense is so good at closing the normal gaps that all that is left is the high risk, high reward lanes. The problem is that the defense seems to forget that these lanes exist and that risk seemingly goes away.
The other night we saw a Capitals player parked right by Mrazek which translated to the second Washington goal of the night. That was Joel Edmundson‘s lane to protect but he was seemingly more interested in the advertisements along the boards.
The Carolina Hurricanes cannot continue to allow for these sorts of defensive hiccups and expect to make a deep run into these playoffs let alone get past the New York Rangers. They have to close down all lanes and if forced to chose, ensure that the goalie gets the easy shots that will boost their confidence over the high risk, high reward, high danger chances.
Think back to the David Ayres game. In the third period, Ayres saw eight shots. None of them had a snowball’s chance in an industrial oven of making it past any goalie, let alone the legendary EBUG Ayres. They have to afford both Mrazek and Riemer that same defense going into these next few games in order to get past the Rangers quickly and quietly.