It's the middle of October and that means the Carolina Hurricanes are off on their annual State Fair road trip. They started the road trip with wins in Toronto and Long Island, but the wins came in different ways. In Toronto, the Canes fought back from a 2-0 deficit to score 3 in the 3rd. The last of which was a very fortunate bounce for the team from Carolina. In Long Island, the Canes jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then 4-1 in the 3rd. But the Islanders fought back with the man advantage and Carolina held on for the 4-3 victory. It was only 2 games, but there were a lot of good things that happened. Now it's up to the team to build off these two wins and try to put some space between them and the rest of the Metropolitan Division (minus Pittsburgh). Here are the stats for the week of 10/16/13 through 10/22/13.
Canes Weekly Stats: 10/16 through 10/22
|Players||GP||GS||W||L||OTL||Shots||Goals Allowed||Saves||Save %||GAA|
- Eric Staal - The captain had his best week so far in this young season. Not only did he manage to lead the team with 3 points in 2 games, but he also led the team in shots on goal. A key to Eric's game is getting shots on net. His shots per game have decreased each season over the past 4 seasons. The last time the Canes made the playoffs, he averaged over 4.5 shots per game, last season that was down to 3.17 shots per game. Getting shots on goal will result in either more goals for Eric or more rebounds for his linemates. This was also Eric's first week as a plus player and he was voted the first & second star in the two games played this week. There are still things he can improve on, like his faceoffs and cutting down on the frustration penalties.
- The 1st Line - The Canes top line hasn't been as dominant as it was last season, but they started showing a little bit this week. They combined for 18 shots on goal, 3 goals, 4 assists and a +7 rating. Jiri Tlusty ended his goal scoring drought against the Islanders and added a second in the 3rd period. Alexander Semin showed off his playmaking ability by getting 2 assists on the Tlusty goals and I already talked about Eric's week. If this line can build off this performance and start clicking as it did, the Canes become that much more dangerous. There are 3 tough games coming up this week and the top line will need to going if Carolina is going to win those games.
- Cam Ward - This is a case where statistics might not tell the whole story. Cam's save percentage might not be that good, but he did make some very crucial saves when needed. With Toronto pressuring early with multiple power plays, Cam kept the game scoreless in the 1st period. He let in 1 in the 2nd that he probably wishes he had back, but for the most part he was solid and picked up his first win of the season. Against New York, Cam made quite a few key saves early on to keep the game knotted at 0 after the 1st. This allowed the Canes to mostly dominate the 2nd period until the final minute. While Cam's rebound control was a little off in the 2nd half of the game, the only time the Isles did score was with a man advantage (the last goal was official 6 on 5 with Faulk leaving the box). Ward did enough to win and had a perfect 2 and 0 record for the week. Hopefully Cam is getting back in a flow and can be a consistent, solid goaltender for the majority of the season.
- Andrej Sekera - I'll start off by saying Sekera wasn't horrible, but he did have some rough moments in the 2 games played. He was the only Canes defensemen to be on the ice for more goals against than for, 3 for and 4 against. His 2 pinches in the Toronto game directly led to the Leafs 2 goals. On the first goal, Sekera had a high forward and Joffrey Lupul was cherry-picking, so it wasn't totally Sekera's fault. But once the initial shot was stopped, the puck was flicked in the air and bounced off Sekera into the net. The second goal was a bad pinch and weak shove that resulted in a two-on-one. Cam probably should have stopped the shot, but it should never have happened. Sekera had another bad pinch in the 2nd against the Islanders, but that one was fortunately stopped. Again, Sekera wasn't horrible, but the first 2 weeks of the season were better than this one.
- Drayson Bowman - It's difficult being hard on Bowman, as I so much want him to succeed. But a young player that is trying to earn more ice time and a permanent spot in the NHL has to capitalize on opportunities. Bowman had 3 good scoring chances against the Leafs and failed to put any in the net. The final chance, on the power play, he missed a wide open net by about 3 feet. If the Canes are going to make a playoff push, they need everybody contributing. If you're not contributing, you might find yourself on the waiver wire. Drayson needs to find that scoring touch he had in Juniors. No one expects him to be a 25 goal scorer, but he needs to capitalize on some opportunities.
- Kevin Westgarth - I can't put this completely on Westgarth, as some of this is on the Kirk Muller, but less than 4 minutes of ice time in 2 games? I can understand the reason for dressing Kevin, Toronto and the Islanders have rough players on their teams and a fight might be necessary. But when their is no fight, if a player doesn't even deserve to be on the ice for more than 2 minutes a game, then what is really the point in dressing him? Can the team not find another enforcer that contribute something else? Brett Sutter isn't a big guy, but I'm sure he would drop the gloves with anybody if asked to. At least he can provide some energy and give the team 30 seconds of penalty kill time. This just seems like a waste of lineup spot. And Kevin, you play a minute & 45 seconds and get a 2 minute holding penalty; really? Not exactly earning any ice time there.
Notable Weekly Team Stats
- Carolina produced 3.50 goals per game this week, ranking them 3rd in the league in that stat. It was a nice jump from the previous two weeks, hopefully it can continue.
- The Canes PK took a little hit this week, clocking in at 77.8%. But that is still slightly higher than their rate last season. So far, the Canes have faced the 3 best PP teams in the league and have held 2 without a power play goal.
- The Hurricanes only had 32 hits, fewest in the NHL. They were outhit by their opponents, but neither game was really that physical.
- The Canes didn't have a lot of PP opportunities with only 7, but they did a pretty good job converting. Their 28.6% on the PP was good enough for 2nd in the league, behind the Islanders.
- Faceoffs continue to be an issue, particularly for Eric Staal. Carolina was only 48.0% this week, made even worse by the fact that their 2 opponents were lower than that.
- Carolina ranked in the bottom 10 in both blocked shots (22) and takeaways (10) for the week. The were in the top 10 in giveaways, only turning the puck over 12 times.
- Team Stat of the Week - Hits - 25.5 shot against per game - 7th lowest in the NHL. Considering the team didn't block a lot of shots, didn't have a high number of takeaways and didn't play all that physical, this number looks even better. This is almost 9 shots less than what they gave up last week.
Former Canes Weekly Stats: 10/16 through 10/22