Despite starting the 2014-15 season without injured stars Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner, the Carolina Hurricanes were hoping to kick off the campaign with a new mentality — and hopefully some points in the standings.
While the Hurricanes showcased their new system under coach Bill Peters, they still came up empty handed in the win column, dropping 5-3 and 4-3 decisions to the New York Islanders in a season opening home-and-home.
1. Carolina’s power play — an Achilles’ heel in recent seasons — was 4 of 9 in its first two games of the season. Jiri Tlusty has three of his team-high four points with the man advantage, and both Alexander Semin and Eric Staal have two power play points.
2. The penalty kill, on the other hand, was the root cause for Carolina’s two losses. The Islanders went 4 of 8 in the home and home, and a fifth goal was scored in the season opener right after a Hurricanes penalty expired. Jay Harrison (in 3:39 shorthanded time) and Tim Gleason (4:35) were on the ice for three Islanders extra-man goals in the first two games.
3. Both Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer left Saturday’s game on Long Island with injuries. The last thing Carolina needs is more players on the shelf, espeically its captain. One would assume Dwyer's lower body concern is the same ailment that hindered him during training camp, but Staal’s could be related to a couple different hits he took — including one to the head. The team has not yet updated the status of either player for Tuesday’s home game vs. Buffalo.
Number To Know
8 — NHL teams that have allowed an average of at least four goals against in their first two games. Carolina resides at the bottom of the list with 4.5 goals allowed per game (tied with Toronto and Edmonton), but are in no way alone in giving up lots of goals to start the season. Sixteen of the NHL’s 30 teams are giving up at least three goals a night in the early going, and the Hurricanes 3.00 goals for average places them tied for 11th.
Jiri Tlusty — Everyone knows Tlusty is capable of scoring in bunches. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Tlusty was tied for fifth in the NHL with 23 goals in 48 games and he had nine multi-goal games, which accounted for all but four of his goals. But after a rough 2013-14 season in which Tlusty scored only 16 times in 68 games, it was good to see No. 19 back scoring in multiples. Tlusty’s hat trick Saturday wasn't enough to propel the Hurricanes to victory, but Peters & Co. are surely crossing their fingers that the top line gets a big contribution from the 26-year-old Czech.
Ron Hainsey — In a bit of a surprising move, Peters sent Hainsey to the press box as a healthy scratch in favor of speedy Ryan Murphy for the second game. It wasn't a surprise that Peters looked to Murphy to ignite the team’s offense, but sitting Hainsey was a bit of a shock. Peters must have liked the physicality Harrison and Gleason (who had eight hits in the first two games) brought in the opener — the Hurricanes were clearly more aggressive and "tough" — and that left Hainsey and his new three-year, $8.5M contract the odd-man out.