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Game Analysis: Back To Back Vs. Panthers, Vs. Lightning

The Carolina Hurricanes split back-to-back home games against former Southeast Division rivals this weekend, topping Florida 3-2, then falling to Tampa Bay 5-3.

Alexander Semin scored three times over the weekend, including once on an end-to-end rush agains the Lightning Sunday.
Alexander Semin scored three times over the weekend, including once on an end-to-end rush agains the Lightning Sunday.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Semin snapped his scoring slump, notching three goals in two games to help Carolina split their two games at home. The Hurricanes are now 20-19-9 with 49 points, seventh in the Metropolitan Division and three points out of a wild card spot.

Three Observations

1. Semin seems to have taken the criticism levied by GM Jim Rutherford prior to the back-to-back home games to heart, scoring both nights to ignite Carolina’s top line. Semin, Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty combined for eight points over the weekend, factoring in all but one of the Hurricanes’ six goals.

2. The addition of John-Michael Liles has given Carolina’s power play new-found confidence. Carolina scored with the man-advantage in both games, but even when the power play didn't convert the Canes were showing off improved puck movement. Liles has not only done a great job at keeping pucks in the offensive zone, but he has a knack for knowing when to shoot and when to pass.

3. Carolina’s top pairing of Justin Faulk and Andrej Sekera struggled against the Lightning and were on the ice for all five Tampa Bay goals. The duo's point output has also dried up of late: Sekera has gone six games without a point after registering 24 points in his first 40 games, while Faulk is pointless in four with just one point in his last nine outings.

Number To Know

26 — shot attempts for Semin in the two games. He totaled 13 shots on goal, eight attempts blocked and five missed shots over two nights in Raleigh.


Alexander Semin — See everything above. He was the dominant player he was last season in the two-game set, something Carolina needs if they want to make a run at a playoff spot.


Justin Peters — Peters can't be blamed for his poor numbers Sunday (three goals allowed on seven shots), but his chance of becoming an NHL starter via trade have seemingly slipped away. He is now 1-3-2 (he got a no decision Sunday, since Carolina managed to score three times) in his last seven and the Canes will surely run with the red-hot Anton Khudobin for as long as they can.