With the Carolina Hurricanes facing elimination on Wednesday evening in South Florida, questions are being asked about the lack of production from regular-season contributors. Martin Necas played at a high level this regular season.
Despite capturing the Metro Division title again this year, the Canes have fallen into a similar problem in the postseason. Goals are not being scored and you cannot win games if you do not score.
Naturally, the top point producers are the ones that are looked at to lead a team to the promised land but it seems to be up and down the lineup.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been stellar this postseason and particularly in the three games against Carolina in the Eastern Conference Finals. It is more like five games if you count the OT games.
But only so much credit can be given to the Florida Panthers goaltender and his teammates in front of him. Big players make big plays in times like these and it is just not happening for the Canes’ “top” players”.
It is easy to say that Tuevo Teravainen is playing hurt and Rod Brind’Amour’s squad is missing top scorer Andrei Svechnikov and veteran Max Pacioretty. Although those are big losses, that wasn’t being mentioned in the first two rounds so now is not the time to use the excuses.
This is a team sport and the Hurricanes thrive on rolling four lines with contributions from the entire roster.
This deficit is a team deficit and not all individuals but it is hard to not ask where Martin Necas’s explosive skill has been in this series.
In his last four games played, including the last game of the New Jersey Devils series, Necas has just 1 point. Four games that included five periods of extra hockey mind you.
14 periods of hockey have been played in this Eastern Conference Final and Necas has eight shots on a team that thrives when putting a lot of pucks toward to the opposition’s net. Necas had 240 shots on goal in the regular season.
It is no wonder that he finished with a career-high in statistics with 28 goals and 43 assists. His game is best when he is using his speed to get to scoring areas and firing the puck. That explosiveness has been lacking this series and to make things worse, Necas is turning the puck over in the neutral zone.
Without the speed and skill of Necas, the scoring depth of this team takes a hit. It certainly does not fall on just Necas but it adds to the pressure on Sebastian Aho and others to be perfect.
The power play has been a weakness of late as well which essentially has been providing momentum to the Panthers. Necas has 4 points on the man advantage this playoff after scoring 26 power-play points in the regular season.
Each player provides a unique skill that contributes to the team effort and Necas needs to get back to the basics and play his game. This way everyone else can fall in line with their skill set.
If the Canes are going to climb out of this hole, it will be players like Necas that need to step up starting Wednesday.