Last night didn’t end so well for the Carolina Hurricanes, and they will be headed to Nashville with 2 out of a possible 4 points from their first two games this season.
The Detroit Red Wings, surprisingly enough, were just flat out the better team last night. From goaltending, to defensive pressure, to offensive prowess, the Red Wings seemingly skated circles around the Carolina Hurricanes, mostly for the first two periods of the game.
The third period saw the Canes mount what could’ve been an impressive comeback, but was stopped short by the Red Wings’ offense; the final nail in the coffin was an empty-netter for Detroit to bring the final scoreline to 4-2.
The Carolina Hurricanes could’ve done several things better in the 2nd of 8 meetings between the two teams; they lacked in quality zone entries, quality shots on goal, and the defense seemed all but flat. The most obvious area where the Canes lacked in, though, was faceoffs. The Red Wings won 33 of 62 faceoffs against the Canes.
Faceoffs specifically are something the Canes typically excel in, and the dip in performance in this area last night is due in no small part to captain and noted faceoff beast Jordan Staal being on COVID-19 protocols for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, there are some positives to pick up on from tonight’s game. Despite the scoreline, Petr Mrazek played a relatively solid game for Carolina, and Russian phenom Andrei Svechnikov scored his 100th career point in the matchup as well, when his rocket of a shot bounced off of Vincent Trocheck‘s right thigh and found its way into the back of Detroit’s net. Dougie Hamilton‘s shot-on-goal streak remains intact, too, which is a neat little stat for him to carry.
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These takeaways are gonna be short and sweet, mostly to contain my secondhand embarrassment from this unnecessarily lopsided tilt, and partly to contain the frustration that I have from seeing the Canes play so poorly so early on. Long story short, they didn’t live up to any of my keys to the game from yesterday.
The Carolina Hurricanes just didn’t do enough to beat a team that they absolutely should have. From what I saw, the team looked plain tired. This sort of thing is to be expected this early in the season. Training camp was less than a dozen days long, and they played like it.
Rod Brind’amour also accidentally sent his Uber Eats order to Toronto instead of Detroit before the game, which I’m sure had something to do with this loss as well.
The powerplay wasn’t good. The offense just couldn’t get going. The defense made too many boneheaded mistakes. The penalty kill looked gassed early on. The transition game was shaky at best, and the Canes were steamrolled in their own end on more than one occasion, even when on the man advantage.
Players like Sebastian Aho and Ryan Dzingel were nearly absent, and were even pivotal in making some of those aforementioned mistakes that either led to Detroit goals, or led to insane chances that Mrazek and/or the defense had to step up and take care of.
Martin Necas, Vincent Trocheck, and Andrei Svechnikov showed up in a big way, though, which was fantastic. So far, the Canes have gotten a bit of depth scoring, and a bit of scoring from one or two Top 6 guys. If they really want to start this shortened season on the best foot possible, though, they’re going to need every single player pulling their own weight, especially in the stretch of games to come.
Looking ahead, the Carolina Hurricanes have another 2 game series starting on Monday, this time against the red-hot Nashville Predators. Hopefully they all can find some confidence and get back to playing like the team we know they are. Otherwise, we are gonna be in for a long season, folks.
Question for CC Readers: What do you think the Canes need to do differently to get their confidence back?