It was good and bad, more bad than good, but both nonetheless. Both exciting and avoidable, but overall heartbreaking.
In short, it was a October Carolina home game.
In this particular one, the Ducks forced a shootout in which they won the game 4-3. I’ll take you through some recap, but you got much of that last night and I’d rather push on to the overtime because it’s what we’ll talk about when we talk About Last Night.
The first goal of the game came from Ondrej Kase in the 10th minute, but the guy who earned it was Nick Ritchie. And it was a pretty sad sequence to watch.
Jeff Skinner, Derek Ryan and Janne Kuokkanen have Ritchie surrounded, and Noah Hanifan seems to be in a good enough position to cut off a pass to Kase. But all of the Hurricanes around Ritchie bite high, Hanifin sticks his body in front of the shooting lane and Kase is left wide open for the shot.
Not a good start.
Seven minute later, Derek Grant would be left wide-the-hell open in front of the net after Andrew Cogliano strips a puck from...oh wait, actually Skinner just throws it to Grant. That’s great.
Well, I guess at least Skinner neutralized the mistake with a goal seven seconds before the period ended by doing what he does best: sliding into the crease and pounding away (also: #KeepPounding).
All in all, it was a very sloppy first period with the Ducks in the driver’s seat almost throughout, especially since all of the Hurricanes seemingly missed the memo that the game started at 5, not 7.
Thankfully, hockey is played in three periods, and the second one belonged to the Hurricanes. After putting some puck pressure on net more consistently, the Hurricanes forced a turnover with just under 7:00 left in the period. The puck found Aho behind the net, and he navigated the puck to Jordan Staal crashing in.
Justin Faulk found a little magic of his own with a slapshot that flew by the stick hand of Ryan Miller a few minutes later, and Carolina had its first home lead since they played the Wild back on October 7th.
In the third, the Hurricanes would do something that has give me some serious trust issues recently: they allowed too many shots with only a one-shot lead. The Ducks had 12 shots in the third period and especially put the pressure on early. And when you give a hungry team enough shots on net, one is bound to slip through.
Case in point: this shot, which was not great, but gets the job done.
Anyways, I want to talk about overtime.
The Hurricanes overtime was like going on a first date with the guy/girl of your dreams only to be ditched in the middle of a fancy restaurant. Carolina did all the right things but couldn’t seal the deal. Nine shots on goal: some breakaways, some near the net, a missed pass too many, but enough good looks to warrant a goal.
And what makes it more painful is that Mr. Seal the Deal was on the bench the entire overtime.
I mean, the Hurricanes have scored 30 goals. Skinner has almost a quarter of them. I know they had nine shots in OT, but come on.— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) October 30, 2017
Sure, Aho, Faulk, Rask, etc. could have finished off their chances (especially looking at you, Ah-0) but it’s truly mindboggling that Skinner didn’t get a single shift. I know most of his goals this year have been sweep-up jobs near the net, but you know as well as I do the offensive skill he has.
Anyways, long-and-heartbreaking story short, neither team could score in overtime and it went to the shootout, and as much as I hate to say it, Miller earned every bit of his three saves. The poke check on Williams, the recovery to put a blocker save on Slavin’s dump-in and the tracking of Aho’s right-to-left move: all of it was well-executed.
Even though Darling had a nice blocker save on Rickard Rakell, a simple slap-fake-to-wrister from Corey Perry was enough to give the Ducks the game-winner.
When you look at the game in itself, it’s pretty disappointing.
When you look at it in the context of the Hurricanes season at home thus far, it’s even more grim. The Hurricanes have won only one of five home matchups, and have lost two in overtime or shootout. Given that Carolina has a very unfavorable record of overtime play in the past two seasons, maybe the #Redvolution will come when they figure out how to finally keep a one-shot lead instead of hoping overtime will get any nicer.