Winning the special teams battle
Carolina managed to do something that I thought was impossible in this game. They spent less time in the penalty box than their opponent and it was a shocking achievement. Carolina was 1/4 on the powerplay and killed off all three penalties they were called for. We know the powerplay has been struggling, but the penalty kill has had enough time on the ice together to get the basic idea of what they need to do.
If Carolina played every game 4-vs-5, they might actually score more than they do at even-strength. Their penalty kill is always so aggressive and the turnovers it creates are dangerous. They haven’t managed to nab a short-handed goal yet this season, but that doesn’t mean that the team isn’t trying. They’ve come really close on several occasions just to be denied by great goaltenders. Shocking, I know.
When it comes to the Canes powerplay, they tallied in this game, but it was their first in 20 attempts. They need to figure out a way to get the powerplay rolling again because when you can score on the man advantage, it takes the heat off your ability to score at 5v5. With Carolina’s scoring issues that I may or may not have touched on earlier, they need all the help they can get.
When the two right-shot defensemen who are currently out finally return to the lineup, both units will get better. But as for the minute, they’re both looking good. You’d like more of an end result from the Canes powerplay, but that will come with time. They tallied in this one as I mentioned, so you just have to hope that the momentum carries over into the next game with the Sabres.