So, hockey is a lot better when you’re winning, eh?
The Carolina Hurricanes have now won consecutive games for the first time this season following a 1-0 win over the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks.
There’s a lot of good stuff to get into, so let’s talk about last night.
So, the TSA isn’t so Bad After All
Game two of the Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho experiment, for better or worse known as the TSA line, didn't render and points, but they are just excellent.
From the outset of last night’s game, this trio was on the same page and buzzed in the offensive zone just like they did on Saturday.
This line was completely absurd at even strength, hovering around an 80% corsi share. The worry of this line making Staal less of a defensive contributor at 5 on 5 has proven to be wrong, primarily because, when these three players are on the ice, they always have the puck.
A key part to this line’s success is Teuvo Teravainen’s newfound confidence shooting the puck. He has ten shots on net over the past two games, those ten shots represent 40% of shots all season. This is a changed player who now is more willing to throw the puck on net, and it’s directly impacting his linemates in a positive way.
The highlight of their night was a first-period shift that lasted 2:13 and included five shots on net and four from Teravainen. It was this team’s best shift of the season.
Carolina’s Starting Goalie is Playing Very Well
When was the last time you saw that?
Cam Ward is on his game and playing some of his best hockey in years. A 3-1-2 record with a 1.62 goals against average and a .941 save percentage for Ward in November has given him the starting goalie job, and boy, did he play like he wanted it last night.
He only faced 22 shots from the Sharks, but he was sharp and made timely saves to keep the shutout, his first since October of 2015. On a night where this team was playing so well but just couldn't find an answer for rookie goalie Aaron Dell, they needed Ward to hold up his end of the bargain, and he did.
What a save! #camsurance— FOX Sports Carolinas (@CanesOnFSCR) November 16, 2016
Watch NOW on FOX Sports Carolinas and FOX Sports GO#SJSvsCAR pic.twitter.com/Rx5ifupMzZ
The Hurricanes needed Ward to be perfect, and he was.
Now the Canes will just need to hope that Ward has turned a corner, because if he has, then this is a goalie that the Hurricanes can win a lot of games with. Then again, we have been hoping for a turned corner for many moons.
"It gives us life and it gives us momemtum." 1st star, Cam Ward on what it means to get the 2 points over the Sharks #SJSvsCAR pic.twitter.com/OJqYsRorBy— FOX Sports Carolinas (@CanesOnFSCR) November 16, 2016
This is the Defense We Know
I’d contest that last night featured Carolina’s best game of team defense all season.
They kept a dangerous San Jose team to just 22 shots on net and really limited good opportunities.
As well as Ward did play, he didn’t face a lot of high danger shots. Carolina covered well in the d-zone and was tough on the puck, especially on the penalty kill.
Brock McGinn might find a niche there. He saw some time on the kill last night and performed admirably. He was aggressive and quick covering the points, proving to be a pain to play against.
If McGinn is going to stay up here for the long term, he needs to contribute in every way possible, and penalty killing might be one of those ways. He was pretty impressive.
Carolina’s effort on Sunday may have been better than their effort in Saturday’s 5-1 blowout win over the Capitals.
They shut down the San Jose offense and would have found the back of the net several times if it weren’t for an impressive outing from Dell.
We’ve seen this team get shutout through two periods and completely fall apart in the third so many times, but they didn’t do that on Tuesday. They stayed aggressive and found a way to beat a “hot goalie”.
The Hurricanes have now won consecutive games for the first time this season and have pulled themselves out of the basement of the Eastern Conference.
They will look to keep the good times rolling on Friday as they host the Montreal Canadiens.