My favorite Mike Maniscalco is not “Ohhhh mercy” or “A happy fan from Cary will go home with a puck” but “The Canes penalty killers do the job.” It’s not the most glamorous, or the most thrilling, but it is the most relieving. As Hurricanes fans know, when the Canes can play 5 on 5, they are one of the best, still, their penalty kill is ranked second in the NHL. Going into the Stanley Cup playoffs, can the Hurricanes capitalize on their man-down offense? Here is a rundown of potential first-round playoff teams the Canes might face and how they match up with their penalty killers.
Jordan Staal, Jordan Martinhook, Jaccob Slavin, Brent Burns
Season: 2 SHG, 5 SHP
Both Jordans (Staal and Martinhook) have short-handed goals for the season, and 2 assists apiece. Slavin has the 5th assist for the unit, and surprisingly Brent Burns does not have any short-handed points. His special team’s play is best on the man advantage with 22 PPP.
Bo Horvat, Scott Mayfield, Alexander Romanov, Casey Cizikas
Season: 1 SHG, 3 SHP
No big surprise here that Horvat has a goal and an apple. He was brought to New York to help an offense that needed it. Cizikas has 2 assists on the year.
Ryan Poehling, Bryan Rust, Jeff Petry, Brian Dumoulin
Season: 2 SGH, 4 SHP
Ryan Poehling has the two goals for this unit with an assist tacked on. Bryan Rust is the other assist. Petry and Dumoulin have goose eggs.
Anton Lundell, Radko Gudas, Marc Staal, Aleksander Barkov
Season: 2 SHG, 3 SHP
Lundell has the 2 goals on the season and Barkov has an assist. This is not Florida’s most productive short-handed unit by any stretch. Marc Staal must think short-handed is something from the LGBTQ+ community because he has NOTHING to do with any kind of points. (That’s a knock on his PRIDE NIGHT stance, or at least it is meant to be)
Hurricanes Unit 2
Derek Stepan, Jesse Puljujarvi, Brandy Skjei, Brett Pesce
Season: 1 SHG, 4 SHP
Not surprisingly Brady Skjei has the goal for this unit. Also not surprising is the fact that Derek Stepan and Brett Pesce have assisted. With the addition of Jesse Puljujarvi, this line might well have more offensive power once Puljujarvi gets the momentum going.
Islanders Unit 2
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Zach Parise, Ryan Pulock, Alexander Romanov, Adam Pelech
Season 5 SHG, 8 SHP
This unit setup is actually more productive than their first unit. Pageau has 3 goals on the season with an assist. Parise has 2 goals and an assist. Romanov has 1 helper as well.
Penguins Unit 2
Kris Letang, Josh Archibald, Chad Ruhwedel, Chad Ruhwedel
Season: 1 SHG 1SHP
Kris Letang is the only offense of note on this unit. The rest have limited experience in this season.
Panthers Unit 2
Eric Staal, Aaron Ekblad, Eetu Luostarinen, Gustav Forsling
Season: 3 SHG, 6 SHP
Eric Staal has 2 of the 3 goals with Ekbald adding the third. Forsling and Luostarinen have assists rounding out this the most productive of Florida’s short-handed line.
Side By Side
Hurricanes: 3 SHPG 9 SHP
Islanders: 6 SHG 11 SHP
Penguins: 3 SHG 5 SHP
Panthers: 5 SHG 9 SHP
As you can see, the Hurricanes penalty killers do their job. 84% of the time to be exact. However, they are not the best at scoring goals with their backs to the walls. At least with the two set units. But that is not to say the Carolina Hurricanes cannot score a man down. Here is a rundown of how each team’s top short-handed goal scorers stack up.
CAR: Sebastian Aho- 3
NYI: Jean-Gabriel Pageau- 3
PIT: Ryan Poehling- 2
FLA: Anton Lundell- 2
Carolina’s Sebastian Aho matches up with New York’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau with three apiece. But the Hurricanes have something when it comes to being a man down that the other three potential Wild Card teams do not have, and it is starting to be a dead horse those in Carolina Hurricanes fandom have grown to love beating….DEPTH
More Carolina Hurricanes have goals and points on the penalty kill than any other team they might face in the first round. Eight different Hurricanes have goals while a man is down, and 9 Canes have points while on the penalty kill. New York, the most likely of the Wild Card teams, has 3 different goal scorers and 6 point scorers. Florida is next on the list with 3 and 8. Pittsburg brings up the rear with only 2 different scorers and 5 pointers.
Different Point Scorers
Not only, though, do the Hurricanes have more variety of goal scorers on the penalty kill, they simply have more goals scored. Eleven times the Canes have lit the lamp on the short side. You could add all three of the other teams and get 11. The Islanders have three, as do the Panthers, and the Penguins have just 2. So more Hurricanes score more goals while one of the buddies is in time-out.
Carolina is more successful down a man than every other NHL team except one and that team will likely be an Eastern Conference final opponent. They have more short-handed than anyone they might face in the first round, and they have more scoring depth than their potential opponents. While the power play might struggle, the Carolina Hurricanes will have a very good handle on whoever wins the first Wild Card spot when it comes to the penalty kill.