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Game Analysis: Panthers At Hurricanes

Carolina fell to 0-3 on the season, dropping a 4-1 decision to Florida after entering the final period tied at 1. Elias Lindholm had Carolina’s lone goal, and Eddie Lack stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss.

The Hurricanes let another game slip away in the third-period, falling to the Panthers 4-1 Tuesday at PNC Arena. Here's a closer look at the loss that dropped Carolina to 0-3.

Three Observations

1. Coach Bill Peters called out the effort of his team following the game, but it seemed like captain Eric Staal was more physically engaged than he has been in some time. Staal was finishing his checks and using his body to create scoring chances (more on this in a second). Now those efforts need to show up on the score sheet.

2. But those scoring chances — Carolina needs to start converting on them. Nathan Gerbe had a first-period breakaway and shot wide, while the power play continues to be a huge problem. The Hurricanes have just one power play goal on the season, an inconsequential one that came at the end of the Detroit loss with the goaltender pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage and Carolina down two. The team’s 7.7 percent success rate is tied for last in the league among teams that have managed to score with the man advantage (Four teams — Arizona, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh — have yet to score), and only three teams — Florida (5.33), San Jose (4.66) and Washington (4.5) — are averaging more power play chances per games than Carolina’s 4.33.

3. Eddie Lack’s Carolina debut resulted in a loss, but the Swedish goalie battled all night and had the Hurricanes knotted up heading into the final period. Lack definitely didn't have his "A" game — Peters said in his post-game press conference that he thought Lack was fighting the puck a bit — but the sign of a good goalie is one who can make saves even when he's not at his best. Lack had almost no shot on Florida’s first goal — a wide-open wrist shot from right between the hashmarks — but kept the Canes in the game until the floodgates opened for Florida with less than eight minutes remaining.

Number To Know

25 — Percent of the faceoffs won by Carolina Tuesday on the power play (2 of 8). The Hurricanes are struggling in all aspects of the power play right now, including the nearly unwatchable zone entries. That makes it that much more important for Carolina to have success in the faceoff circle with the man advantage. The team won all four of its shorthanded faceoffs, but sputtered horribly on the draw on the power play. Both Elias Lindholm (0 for 2) and Andrej Nestrasil (0 of 3) failed to win a power play faceoff, while winger Jeff Skinner was beaten on his only chance after Carolina was thrown out of the circle. Only Eric Staal (won both his draws) had any success. There is no excuse for the Hurricanes to struggle so mightily at such an important facet of the game.


Justin Faulk — We haven't talked about him much in this space, but it's not because he hasn't been great. Faulk has points in all three Carolina games thus far. His assist Tuesday (No. 87 of his career) moved him past Joe Corvo into fifth on Carolina’s list of most career assists by a defenseman. He's averaging nearly 27 minutes of ice time through three games (25:57, fifth among all NHL defensemen) and is taking on the opposition’s best each and every night. He's also the only weapon on the power play that seems to be locked in on what his role should be.


Noah Hanifin — I know, I know ... he's 18 years old in his third NHL game. And while Hanifin is doing a lot of things right — his skating is already well above average among NHL defensemen, and his overall play is a decade beyond his years — he's making some pretty fundamental mistakes, too. For one, Hanifin has made it habit to often pass back into the middle of the ice while in the defensive zone. It hasn't come back to bite him yet — Florida nearly had a turnover off of one of these that would have led to a one-on-one chance early in the game — but it will if it continues. Secondly, he had a bad pinch right after Carolina allowed the go-ahead goal that led to a 2-on-1 opportunity that Florida converted, essentially ending the game. All this being said, these are the mistakes and growing pains a team will have with any straight-out-of-college defenseman, and Hanifin is still doing enough positive things every shift to work through any learning curve he is having.