For the first 30 minutes of Friday night’s tilt between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes, the home fans were not given much of anything to be happy nor optimistic about. But moments after the midpoint of regulation, Jordan Staal changed that with a short-handed goal that turned the tide and the sparked the eventual 3-2 overtime win for Canes.
Cam Ward made numerous big saves which prevented the affair from becoming lop-sided early, and a rare dominating overtime from the crew in red allowed the Canes to ride into the Christmas break on a three-game win streak.
The Canes were able to lift themselves from a 2-0 deficit which they fell into by being thoroughly out-played for 30 minutes. Cam Ward made a few outstanding saves such as his point-blank save on David Pastrnak which allowed the Canes only to have a 2-0 hill to climb.
Having been given an opportunity to steady itself, the Canes league-best penalty kill, after allowing a goal earlier, got one back on a Jordan Staal breakaway finish.
After a terrific game-tying goal off of a set play on a offensive zone face-off from Justin Faulk, the Canes were finally able to convert on a overtime chance and close out the Bruins in the 3-on-3 period, surely one of the most welcome signs for a team that has had such struggles in that format. Teuvo Teravainen snapped home the winner.
One other encouraging sign over the past few weeks really has been the Canes ability to win games that have taken on seemingly very different styles. Whether it be playing from in front in Buffalo on Thursday, coming from behind last night against Boston, in a high scoring battle against Vancouver a few weeks back or in a defensive stalemate with Tampa just before that, the Canes are beginning to adapt their game play nicely and really provide themselves with an opportunity to win no matter how the game unfolds.
The Not As Good
The start was a less than ideal way to begin. The Canes were fortunate that the 2-0 hole was all they had to overcome, and indeed, if Cam Ward was not as sharp as he was last night, they would not have been able to salvage the game in the final 30-plus minutes.
The sluggish nature of the whole team was very notable as they chased after loose pucks and other puck battles all through the first half of the game. On most nights, they would have been in a 3-4 goal hole which they would have been unlikely to emerge from.
It’s pretty rare that the Canes are so far on the minus side of the fancy stats ledger, but to say they stole this game doesn’t come close to the grand larceny they committed last night. Two nights before Christmas, the Canes played the part of the Grinch to perfection.
expected goals at team level:— Cane-alytics (@Cane_alytics) December 24, 2016
Canes 0.53 - B's 2.38 (5v5)
Canes 1.49 - B's 3.42 (all situations)
Players (5v5): Yeesh. Can you say "Stolen". pic.twitter.com/q1lDZiMkHK
Moving forward, the Canes will need to provide more of a 60 minute effort if they wish to keep up with the hectic points pace of their fellow Metropolitan Division rivals. With the current situation in the standings, every night in which you have an opportunity to earn two points is a huge opportunity. Their play must mirror that urgency and desperation.
The Hurricanes earned the much needed win and are now 9-0-1 in their last ten home games. They will need to carry on that trend, while establishing a more consistent footing on the road. They will get their first crack at establishing that footing after the break on December 28th against the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.