A good start thwarted
The Hurricanes started on time, coming out of the room looking strong and fast. They would earn two power plays early in which the young unit looked to be lacking confidence. After a handful of good chances from the Hurricanes early, Predators center Collin Wilson would spring a pass to a streaking James Neal for a breakaway on Cam Ward. This is what would happen next.
After what was a strong start from the Canes, the rest of the first period was marked by unsound defensive play and a lack of offensive pressure. At this juncture of the season, it is clear that the youthful but capable team is still learning how to play winning hockey consistently.
Skinner stays hot
Jeff Skinner came into last night's matchup with 5 goals and 11 points through 8 games. The 24-year-old has had a confident start to the season and has lead Carolina's most productive line. He tied the game up late in the second period to tally his 6th goal of the young season.
After a hot start to the season on the man advantage, the powerplay is now experiencing some growing pains. While the production is certainly not there, the unit still shows flashes of the chemistry and confidence that it exuded earlier in the season. It ultimately feels like this powerplay needs one good bounce for things to start rolling again. You have to expect that spark to come from powerplay quarterback Justin Faulk.
Cam Ward impresses
After a slow start to the season tallying a save percentage of just .882, Cam Ward came ready to play last night in the Music City. Ward saved 25 of 27 shots he faced for a save percentage of .926. While Ward has faced a good amount of scrutiny in this young season, his play between the pipes last night kept the Hurricanes in the hockey game. Here is his most spectacular save of the night.
Is there anything Jaccob Slavin can't do?
Aside from being perhaps the most consistent shutdown defensemen on the team, Jaccob Slavin has been almost unstoppable in the shootout in his young NHL career. His signature move has been a head fake followed by a backhand.
Last night Slavin was called on in the third inning of the shootout, and he knew that a goal would get the Hurricanes 2 points. He threw Rinne a curveball faking backhand and then burying it on his forehand for the shootout win. While his shootout goal will not go down as an official goal, it marks the second time in two games that he has lit the lamp.
Moral of the Story
The Hurricanes came out hot in the first period which is crucial when you're not playing in your own building. However, a defensive breakdown from Murphy and Hainsey lead to a first period goal that took the wind out of the team's sails. While the Hurricanes ultimately came out on top, it is clear that the team is still learning how to win. Hopefully this win will fill the team with confidence as they take on the division rival New Jersey Devils twice in the next 3 days.