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About Last Night: Offense, Offense, Offense

In an all-out obliteration, the Hurricanes embarrassed the Islanders on national TV last night.

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

One thing is certain; when the Hurricanes and Islanders get together there will be offense. Last night the Carolina Hurricanes made the best of their only national TV appearance of the season routing the New York Islanders 8-4 in Brooklyn.

We were treated to quite a show last night, but there were some very ugly goals scored. A hat trick from a defenseman, another defenseman with two goals, plus a penalty shot goal is just a small tad of what we were treated to.

It’s impossible to break down every goal and still keep your interest so let’s just hit on some of the major points from last night.

Talking Points

The second ‘C’ stands for hat trick

For the first time since 2008, and only the third time since the move to North Carolina, the Hurricanes had a defenseman score a hat trick. Before yesterday, the list consisted of Joe Corvo, who knocked home three goals against the Senators in 2008, and Sandis Ozolinsh, who scored three against the Blackhawks in 2001. Last night, Jaccob Slavin decided to join the club. He more than doubled his goal total on the entire season last night and on national TV surely turned some heads.

On Slavin’s second goal, he outworked the Islanders defense and muscled his way to a partial breakaway where he deposited his 4th of the season. Not to mention it was shorthanded.

He would go on to put another one in the basket to outdo his blue line partner Justin Faulk, who scored two goals of his own last night, and record his first hat trick ever.

And Eddie Lack had to have fun with it of course.

If there was ever any question as to who the star on defense for the Hurricanes this season, it was answered last night. Slavin who was once a 4th round pick has become the number-one guy in Carolina. He has all the tools needed to succeed in his own end and now his offensive game is truly coming in to form. It’s very similar to Justin Faulk from a few years ago.

Is it the season for giving to the goalies?

Let this one sink in for a second: last night three different goaltenders each gave up four goals. No, that is not a typo folks — that’s just bad hockey. The Hurricanes lead the league in the category of shakiest goaltending, but the Islanders showed they might be trying to take that title away from the Hurricanes.

All three goaltenders that saw action last night, flatly, were not good. They all gave up soft goals, scores that no NHL netminder should give up. Cam Ward showed why many believe he should get a trip to the dog house like Eddie Lack did a few weeks ago, and the combination of Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube coughed up four goals apiece.

For example on Ward here is the Islanders’ third goal scored by Calvin De Haan.

Thankfully for Ward, both Greiss and Berube were determined to win the award for worst goaltending performance of the evening as Justin Faulk found out.

It’s not unusual for goaltenders to have bad nights and asking a guy to come in off the bench and play lights out is a lot to ask. That being said, these three men get paid a lot of money to do the same job a stack of bricks can do. It is pathetic that the Hurricanes are worst in the league in goaltending stats yet Cam Ward frequently gets a free pass. He got the win so it’ll surely be like those four horrible goals never happened. Scoring eight goals will wallpaper over a lot, but it was far from a solid performance in net. As far as the Islanders go, maybe they need to call up Jaroslav Halak because what they have right now is apparently worse than the Hurricanes’ anemic duo.

Offensive explosion

For the sake of time we won’t cover every goal scored last night but we will touch on a few of them. To start with, here are some stats from last night’s circus:

  • Eight goals is the most scored on the road by the Hurricanes since a 2010 win over the Lightning.
  • Slavin’s hat trick is the first hat trick by a defenseman since 2008 (as mentioned above).
  • Jeff Skinner scored on the Hurricanes’ only penalty shot of the season so far.
  • The Islanders had never given up more than 6 goals since moving to Brooklyn in 2015. In fact, the last time they gave up 8 or more goals was a 9-0 defeat in Raleigh (naturally) in 2009.
  • Lastly, the Hurricanes have scored 20 goals in three games this against the Islanders. (Twenty!) The Canes and Islanders have combined for 32 goals this season in their matchups - with two games still to come.

Jeff Skinner scored two goals, Slavin scored three, Faulk added two and Joakim Nordstrom grabbed one as well. Apparently J was the letter of the night. Amazingly, Sebastian Aho was kept off the score sheet in a rare quiet night for him. Maybe he decided to let some of the other guys get a whiff or scoring. In total only six players did not record a single point for the Hurricanes, with six different players scoring multiple points.

The biggest highlight from the night, outside the hat trick, was Skinner’s wicked hands on his penalty shot.

Scoring has been a major issue for the Canes this season except when they play the Islanders. You expect this kind of performance from Jeff Skinner but to get it from Slavin and Faulk is a major extra plus. Nobody can predict how the offense will be for the rest of the season but figure to see a lot more of #53 and #74 as they are both very hot right now.

The three stars of the game were naturally Slavin, Skinner, and Faulk. But let’s throw an honorable mention to our friend Wade Minter. He calls every goal for the team inside PNC Arena but takes his job to the next level by tweeting out calls of the goals the team scores on the road. Hopefully he has a lot of warm tea with honey because after calling all eight goals last night he has to be prepared for it to all happen again tonight!

Moral of the Story

Last night produced the typical goaltending Caniacs are accustomed to. The offensive explosion is something nobody really saw coming. Going forward, nobody can predict if the offense will pick back up or if it’ll fall flat once the team faces someone other than the Islanders. The promise for the future is evident, with Slavin, Skinner, Faulk, and even guys likes Aho and Rask still being in their early 20’s (or younger!).

Tonight the same two teams will duke it out again in Raleigh. Will we see 12 goals scored? Unlikely but with these two teams, who knows. With Carolina’s goaltending being so unpredictable and the Islanders proving theirs is too, we could easily be in for another offensive outburst. Heck, the last time the Islanders came to Raleigh the Canes only (!) put 7 up on them so we shall see. Don’t be surprised if tonight’s game gets physical quick with the Islanders very mad about what we saw last night. Stay tuned!