There are games that are full sixty-minute efforts that end with a team taking a totally undeserved loss. And then there are games like Sunday, where the Hurricanes somehow overcame an abysmally bad first period and recovered from a fully earned two-goal deficit to take the lead. But a late goal from Jakob Silfverberg and an otherworldly performace by Ryan Miller in overtime gave the Ducks a chance, and eventually sent the crowd home disappointed after the Canes fell 4-3 in a shootout.
If you shut the television off in disgust after a first period that saw the Ducks, playing the second game of a back-to-back, completely control play, no one could blame you. It was a comedy of errors. A gorgeous behind-the-back pass from Jordan Staal to Brett Pesce that the defenseman got everything on and sent wide. A Canes faceoff win that somehow found its way onto Nick Ritchie’s stick (who, you’ll note, doesn’t play for them) and ended up in the back of the net. A ridiculous turnover and lost man that allowed Derek Grant to tip it home unchecked from the top of the crease.
It was laughable, and not in an entertaining way.
But then you missed the Canes turn the tables in a big way in the second. Actually, back it up: it started with six seconds left in the first period, when Jeff Skinner tipped a puck off the crossbar, then got credit for a goal anyway when the puck pinballed off Ryan Miller and into the net. The Canes dominated possession from the start of the second, and while it took a while for their effort to be rewarded, Staal tied the game off a sweet back-of-the-net pass from Sebastian Aho who threaded a needle through the crease.
Then, exactly five minutes after Staal tied it, Justin Faulk wound up and wristed a laser through a screen that beat Miller to give the Canes the lead. If you weren’t sure what to think, you weren’t alone:
This game is simultaneously making me happy and pissing me off beyond belief.— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) October 29, 2017
Like clockwork, the Ducks found their second (third?) wind out of the gate in the third. Josh Manson, who had two periods to forget including back-to-back interference penalties in the first, set up Jakob Silfverberg and forced Scott Darling into his best save of the night, then later in the same shift Manson himself fired one off the post.
The Canes looked a little shell-shocked, but composed themselves after the midpoint of the third period. Once they settled down, the combination of the Ducks having played last night and the absence of captain Ryan Getzlaf, who missed the final two periods after taking a puck to the face on his first shift of the game, started to wear on the visitors.
But the Ducks wouldn’t go away quietly. Twice in the final ten minutes Scott Darling shouldered pucks away, directing them into the corner through screens both times. Jakob Silfverberg made the Canes pay for their shaky defensive coverage with 4:48 left, taking a drop pass and one-timing a shot from the top of the circle through a minuscule hole in Darling’s pads to knot the game back at three.
The goal woke the Canes up, as if they needed an impetus to start skating. Victor Rask fired wide on a Teravainen setup on the next shift, and Sebastian Aho got a pair of cracks at the net with a sprawling Miller down on the ice but couldn’t bury it. Justin Faulk then found the iron with 90 seconds remaining, a wide-open shot beating Miller but not the post.
So the game headed to overtime, where Miller quickly became the story. Faulk and Rask had back-to-back beautiful opportunities, one stopped by Miller’s mask, the other snared by his glove. He then shut down Aho on a breakaway two minutes later, not biting on the head fake and forehand stuff attempt, and stopped Rask on a breakaway off a Darling stretch pass not long later. Miller made nine saves in the extra session, and off we went to a shootout.
You knew when Jaccob Slavin didn’t go to his patented backhand move that the Canes’ number was up, and when Corey Perry scored in the second round followed by Miller stopping Aho in the third, the Canes suffered a loss that somehow was appropriate and undeserved at the same time.
Notes and Quotes
We went offside four times in the first and were sloppy with the puck. We were quicker in the second and played good in the third up until the point where they scored, then they pushed. Our D got the puck off their stick and allowed us to play fast.
We had some guys who were -2 early, and another off the crossbar with the same guys off the ice. Obviously we didn’t need to keep that together. We changed up the D a little bit and played a little better as we went.
I thought we had some good looks in OT. We did some good things. We missed a change, an opportunity for a guy to get off who didn’t. It’s all about staying fresh and having the opportunity to counterpunch.
Three is enough to win. We had enough to win tonight. Would you change anything in overtime? It’s 3-2 with ten minutes to go, I would change how we played a little bit. You don’t need to make it four. It’s a 3-2 league, lots of nights it’s 2-1. Let’s tighten up. We’re giving up too many shots, too many scoring chances, too many goals. That’s on everybody.
I would have liked to execute better. We went offside four times. Why? Where are we putting pucks in order to get them back? I didn’t think we did that early, then we started hanging onto more pucks and making more plays as we went.
We need to learn ways to finish games, learn ways to continue to move forward in the third when you’re up, find ways to not be risky but at the same time continue to control the game and bury teams.
We need to move our legs and be aggressive, not waiting for the game to come to you and take control right away. We come out flat too often, and it’s not good enough. Tonight was another example. It looked ugly, but we did a good job of responding and finding a way to get back into the game.
If we play with that enthusiasm and take over games, we’ll be just fine. It’s never fun losing when you’re up going into the third period. Good teams find ways to win. We didn’t tonight.
We had a team come in off a back to back, not even 24 hours different, and let them come in and dictate the first period, and we’re chasing. We had a better second and third, but you can’t expect to win these games when you let a team come in and you have a chance to take it to them and make it tough on them. They know they will come in and have to earn everything, and we didn’t play a complete game.
You have to get going right away. You have to be able to do that from the drop of the puck to the end horn. We haven’t necessarily found that yet. We’ve been in some tight games and haven’t gotten the extra push to get us on top in those scenarios. We need to score goals.
- Tonight was the first time I really felt like Peters’ choices were super questionable. No Skinner in OT? I know they put nine shots on net, but he’s responsible for almost a quarter of the team’s goals this season. Why not give him a shift or two? Or at least throw him out in the third round of the shootout instead of Aho, whose confidence is visibly sagging with every passing shift?
- And for that matter, according to Peters, this is a 3-2 league, so you shouldn’t need four goals. But then thirty seconds later, he says that he expected the pushback the Ducks came out with in the third. Which is it? It’s not 1996 and these aren’t the Florida Panthers trapping their way to the Stanley Cup Final. Scoring goals wins hockey games, and if you’re asking your team to play back and let the play come to you, you’re just begging for trouble.
- Setting up Staal’s tying goal kept Aho at a more than a point-per-game pace against the Ducks: three games, four points (1g, 3a).
- The Canes were penalty-free for the second straight game, the first time in franchise history they’ve pulled that trick off. They are by far the least penalized team in the league, at 4:35 per game.
- It had been nearly four years - November 15, 2013 - since the Canes earned a point against the Ducks on home ice, which that day was a shootout win.
- Bet you weren’t expecting a Guy Hebert reference tonight, but here we are:
Miller's nine saves in overtime were one short of Ducks record. @guy_hebert made 10 stops at Philadelphia on Feb. 3, 2000.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) October 30, 2017
- The Canes are off Monday and will practice Tuesday before making their annual rounds to local childrens’ hospitals. They will fly out Wednesday to Colorado to prepare for their two-game trip to the Avalanche and Coyotes.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t. (Note: Ranker seems to be having issues tonight, so if it isn’t working, try back again soon.)