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Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Rangers

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For the second straight game, Carolina battled their way through regulation and overtime but came up short in the end, losing to the Rangers when Rick Nash was the only shooter to score in the six-man shootout.

Chris Terry has three goals and an assist in four games this season.
Chris Terry has three goals and an assist in four games this season.
Al Bello

The Carolina Hurricanes kicked off their annual North Carolina State Fair road trip in the Big Apple Thursday, falling in a shootout to the Rangers to bring their record to 0-2-2 on the young season.

Three Observations

1. Justin Faulk had a shaky night — go back and watch right after Tim Gleason and Marc Staal took matching minors to send the game to four-on-four and you'll get the gist — but there were flashes that Carolina's cornerstone defenseman is shaking his early season funk. The Hurricanes can't afford anything but the best out of Faulk each night with so many players out of the lineup, but for a stretch he looked like Carolina's most unreliable defender. That turned once the game was tied, and Faulk looked like he was back to his normal, steady self. The Canes ask a lot of their 22-year-old defenseman, but they do so out of necessity.

2. Chris Terry continues to do everything right for the Hurricanes. The longtime AHLer tallied Carolina’s only score and now has four points in four games (three goals, one assist), more than he had in his 13 previous NHL games (one goal, two assists). With Patrick Brown and Brody Sutter both reassigned to Charlotte (see below), it's clear Terry has solidified his spot in the Hurricanes’ bottom six even once the likes of Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Patrick Dwyer get healthy.

3.The Hurricanes kicked off the 2014-15 campaign with a terrible penalty kill and an encouraging power play in the home-and-home series with the Islanders. In the two games since, that has inverted. In shootout losses to the Sabres and Rangers, the Hurricanes power play failed to connect on six opportunities, but the penalty kill was perfect in denying seven opponent man advantages. The power play struggles are understandable — the Canes have been without about one full PP unit the past two games — and the PK improvement is encouraging, performing well even though the team has been down a couple frequent shorthanded players. The shorthanded success means that Bill Peters and Steve Smith are getting their system to sink in.

Number To Know

59.1 — Faceoff winning percentage for the Hurricanes through four games, tops in the NHL. Montreal is a distant second at 55.4 percent. Riley Nash ranks fourth in the league at 64.9 percent, while Victor Rask and Jay McClement are ninth (59.6 percent) and 10th (59.4 percent), respectively.

Plus

Anton Khudobin — What Carolina needed more than anything was a night of netminding without any glaring mistakes. Khudobin gave them that and more. Both goaltenders brought their A game Thursday, and Khudobin was able to make several key stops to help Carolina earn a point. He also took the lead in what is a close battle with Cam Ward for the No. 1 job.

Minus

Alexander Semin — For the second straight game, Semin was a non-factor when the Hurricanes needed him most. Maybe Semin garners so much criticism because his style of play is so different than everyone else on the ice. Maybe it's that he rarely gives himself an opportunity to explain himself in the media. Or maybe it's just that he's an easy target as a $7 million-a-year Russian import. Regardless, his salary is more than twice that than any player who stepped on the ice for Carolina last night, and he was outplayed by several players making a fraction of what he makes. He needs to answer the bell — and fast.

Sutter, Brown Reassigned To Charlotte; Skinner Off Injured Reserve

The Hurricanes announced that forwards Brody Sutter and Patrick Brown have been reassigned to Charlotte (AHL). Jeff Skinner was also taken off injured reserve. Here is the release from the team.

HURRICANES ASSIGN BROWN, SUTTER TO CHARLOTTE
Forwards will join Carolina’s AHL affiliate; Skinner removed from IR

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has assigned forwards Patrick Brown and Brody Sutter to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). It was also announced that forward Jeff Skinner has been removed from injured reserve. The Checkers will play their home opener tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena as they host the Grand Rapids Griffins in the first of two games between the teams this weekend.

Brown, 22, made his NHL debut with Carolina on Opening Night, Oct. 10, and has averaged 9:37 of ice time while playing in all four of the Hurricanes’ games this season. In 2013-14, the Bloomfield Hills, MI, native scored 15 goals and earned 15 assists (30 points) in 40 games during his senior season at Boston College. Brown (6’1", 210 lbs.), the son of two-time Stanley Cup-champion Doug Brown, is in his first professional season after having signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent on April 12, 2014.

Sutter, 23, made his NHL debut on Thursday in Carolina’s 2-1 shootout loss at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. The Viking, Alb., native is in his third full professional season and has played in all three of Charlotte’s games thus far this year. Sutter (6’5", 203 lbs.) notched eight goals and earned 20 assists (28 points) in 69 games with the Checkers in 2013-14, and has scored 12 goals and earned 22 assists in 99 career AHL games with Charlotte since turning professional. The Hurricanes drafted Sutter in the seventh round, 193rd overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.