A Scoring Surge
Early scoring troubles were forgotten as the Canes found the back of the net.
The SAT line (Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen) was the story of the series against the Rangers. The trio has combined for 16 points so far, and yet they didn’t seem to find their footing until game two of the series.
Tripp Tracy commented several times during the game one broadcast on Fox Sports Carolinas that Svechnikov seemed to be off of his game, and unfortunately, it was very evident that this was true. The only time Svechnikov found himself in the game record was when he was sent to the box for an avoidable slashing call.
I thought that tonight was going to be a similar story when he was replaced by Jordan Martinook on the top line. However, the night turned around for Svechnikov after he took a penalty for a hit on Charlie McAvoy that seemed to renew his energy.
We’ll look at Svechnikov’s goal momentarily, but the first sign of life for the Hurricanes was an excellent snipe by Teuvo Teravainen. Tripp Tracy aptly said that his only criticism of Terravainen was that Teuvo didn’t shoot the puck often enough, and this goal shows that he is as elite with his goals as he is with his assists.
Svechnikov connects with Terravainen through a beautiful spinning feed, and instead of dumping the puck, Teravainen takes a shot through traffic to find the top left corner of the net. It would be a mistake not to notice Justin Williams‘ involvement in the play, as he posts up in front of Rask and cuts off his vision.
Terraravainen scored with less than five minutes remaining in the second period, giving life to the Hurricanes after a difficult first period. Only a little over a minute later, Svechnikov capitalizes off of a beautiful pass through traffic from Martin Necas to give the Hurricanes the lead.
Necas was all over the ice tonight, involving himself in every play and creating chances at every moment. Necas was responsible not only for the Svechnikov assist but also for an assist on the game-winner from returning blueliner Dougie Hamilton.
Although he certainly had a solid return in game one against the Bruins, it was only a matter of time before Dougie Hamilton etched his name in playoff history by getting on the board. In this case, he scores the game-winner with a beautiful cannon off of a Necas feed.
As the Canes were able to find their scoring ability, I believe that Caniacs will see the team buzz in the offensive zone in game three. Notably, Vincent Trocheck had several close chances in game two and I would like to see him take some points home in game three.
Next up, let’s look at the Canes and Bruins’ power plays.
A Tale of Two Power Plays
The Carolina Hurricanes seem to struggle on special teams
Yes, two questionable calls (to put it mildly) let to two play goals by the Bruins. That is hard to argue with. However, the Canes unfortunately cannot rely on the officiating to prevent power-play goals. The penalty kill unit must be sharp in order to prevent these goals.
It’s hard to find fault in the first power-play goal. David Krejci slings the puck through traffic, and I don’t think Reimer could get a decent visual on the puck because Jake DeBrusk was posted up in front of the net.
The second power play, however, had a few fatal flaws which led to a goal by Brad Marchand off of a rebound. The Hurricanes are clustered towards the left side of the net as Patrice Bergeron shoots the puck and it ricochets off the right post. This leads to an easy tap in by Marchand as Reimer is caught on the left side.
The Bruins will capitalize on the smallest of opportunities. That’s why coverage is so important during the power play. The Canes penalty kill unit can’t give any room for error for the Bruins to capitalize on.
Although the penalty kill was mediocre, the Canes power play was miserable at points during the game. The Canes went into the power play in the third period, and the Bruins were able to possess the puck so much more than the Hurricanes it almost seemed like the roles were reversed. Despite a power-play goal, the Canes need to find their power play consistency.
Finally, let’s discuss the man that continues to anchor the team when wins are important.
James Reimer once again comes through for the Carolina Hurricanes
I honestly think Petr Mrazek performed better than the score reflected in game one. Although his movement before the overtime goal was questionable, one goal should not have counted against him, and he made some great saves as well. However, James Reimer seems to be the netminder that Brind’Amour can turn to to get the job done.
Reimer’s performance tonight won’t land on the highlight reel like his game three performance against the New York Rangers; however, he made several key saves that kept the Hurricanes in the game.
One aspect of his performance tonight that impressed me was his ability to control the flow of play. Reimer chose wisely to cover the puck on several occasions during long stretches when the team was tired and needed a few moments to recover. His play behind the net to pass the puck to the defense was also excellent and was a part of his calm and collected manner.
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I would not hesitate to give Reimer a nod in net on Saturday. However, I think this highlights Brind’Amours often repeated statement that he appreciates the goalie duo that the Canes have. Two strong goalies give the Hurricanes options when it comes to a deep playoff run.
The series is far from over, and the Carolina Hurricanes have plenty of work left to do. However, tonight’s performance gave me a sense of confidence in this young team. There are more positives than negatives to take away from tonight’s game, and with an improved power play the Canes will move on quickly to the next round.
Question for CC Readers: Who impressed you the most in game two?