RALEIGH — The good vibes from the Carolina Hurricanes’ 4-1-1 start are well and truly gone, following a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday that saw Philipp Grubauer continue his mastery of the Canes and exhibited a Carolina power play for which the time for patience is rapidly dwindling.
The first period started out with some good pace from both sides. Despite some decent chances, the Hurricanes couldn’t convert early on as Grubauer, who the Canes attempted to acquire in the off-season only to be stymied by Washington’s reluctance to trade him to a division rival, looked poised in the Avs starter’s crease. The most notable early chance came when Andrei Svechnikov caught a nice pass from Calvin de Haan and streaked into the zone, staving off one defender and making a nice move, but he couldn’t get it past Grubauer’s glove hand.
Great pass from Calvin de Haan and a really good chance from Andrei Svechnikov. pic.twitter.com/0HRScMKRGD— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 20, 2018
After Warren Foegele drew a nice penalty in the offensive zone, the Hurricanes went on their first power play of the afternoon. It was one of the worst that we’ve seen from the team this season. Five minutes later Nathan MacKinnon headmanned the puck into the zone down Brett Pesce’s flank and generated some space to find Gabriel Landeskog in the slot for his 6th of the year.
Sebastian Aho found himself late in the first with some space streaking down the right side of the ice and it started to feel like he could generate a decent scoring chance. But 16 anticipated a cut back and made a good play to tie him up. The horn sounded with the Canes down 1-0.
The second period was defined by bad penalties taken as well as mostly sluggish and unispiring play from the team. There really isn’t much good to say about this period.
Early in the second period Teuvo Teravainen possessed the puck deep in the defensive zone and sent a beautiful stretch pass to Micheal Ferland, who eluded his defender and got in for a breakaway on Grubauer, who stoned him on a good attempt from Ferland.
When Andrei Svechnikov headed to the box for a slashing penalty nine minutes into the period, you could sense the momentum going the wrong way. And sure enough, the Avalanche got a zone entry and Landeskog tried to fish the puck through a few defenders. Jordan Martinook made a good play to block the passing lane, but the puck flopped back towards Landeskog, who was looking at an empty net since McElhinney was tracking the pass.
An uneccessary penalty taken and a stroke of bad luck made it 2-0 Avalanche. The Avalanche took the two goal lead into the final intermission.
The Canes came out a bit fiery for the first few minutes of the third, but that didn’t last long. The building was nearly silent until Micheal Ferland injected some energy by laying out Tyson Jost. Erik Johnson took issue with that, electing to drop the gloves. Ferland buried him into the boards with a few right hooks. The building was buzzing again, but it again was short lived.
About 17 minutes into the third period Jaccob Slavin got tied up at the blueline and it led to a two-on-one going the other way. With an open shooting lane, Nathan MacKinnon snuck one glove side high on McElhinney.
Just a few seconds later Aho did good work below the goal line and threw it to the front of the net for Ferland, who poked it between Grubauer’s legs to break up the shutout. Two minutes of an extra attacker generated nothing more as the Canes dropped their third straight game in regulation.
They Said It
“There’s certainly stuff you obviously need to work on, special teams is something that is kicking us in the butt right now, but we’ll rectify that. We did some pretty good things tonight, we didn’t score. Sometimes you put up eight, sometimes you put up a goose egg. We keep doing things right and we think we’ll be alright in the end.”
“We certainly created enough to win, did we create enough seconds and thirds? I’m not quite sure about that. We got behind early and we couldn’t quite get it back. We just need to be a little bit better and a little bit tighter, and just a tiny bit hungrier. Its a game of inches and just around the net we need to create those seconds and thirds.”
“We should be close in every game, just by the way we’re going to play, we should have a chance in every game, and better than a 50/50 to win the game, that’s for sure. We’re confident in our group but it didn’t work tonight.”
“Well you don’t want to ever lose two in a row, let alone three. But it is a long year and you’re going to have ups and downs. At the end of the day, its the process of how we’re playing, and I don’t want to be negative or anything, because I think our game is there. Its just a matter of getting a couple bounces here or there. Special teams, we have to get better at that. You just don’t want the losses to bleed and make you feel like you’re not playing that well, when really in my opinion we’re playing pretty well, and we’re getting really good efforts out of most of our guys and a bounce here or there and we’re talking about a whole different situation right now.”
“Shots aren’t really the indicator for me, its the chances for and against. You can get shots all you want, you’ve got to make sure you’re getting quality chances, and those are there.”
“Here’s the difference for me. You give their grade A players an inch and it goes in the back of the net. And that’s where we’re not quite there yet. We seem to need a few more chances to get those to go.”
- First of all, this.
Get Justin Faulk OFF of the top power play unit. I really don't know why he is still playing on that unit. He has been playing there for TWO years and that unit has never ever ever been good. Use Hamilton the way he needs to be used. Idk how this is still happening.— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 20, 2018
- The Hurricanes looked flat in the matinee matchup. This is unacceptable in an early afternoon game against a Western Conference team in your own building. Winning teams don’t do that.
- Despite the lazy Hurricanes goaltending, Curtis McElhinney didn’t play badly today. He probably could have made a few more stops, but none of the goals were necessarily his fault, and he made some sneaky good saves on defensive breakdowns.
- Andrei Svechnikov is playing like a rookie, but he’s still playing well. He got a few grade A chances tonight that Grubauer was able to get leather on.
- Ferland is a tough customer. He brings a great combination of speed, skill, and toughness that this team has been lacking for a very long time.
- With a late assist, Aho stretched his point streak to eight games. He has been leading the charge thus far this season.
- The 4 game win streak seems very distant at this point. We knew that a plateau was coming after such an electric start, but for this Hurricanes team to drop three straight in regulation feels much too familiar.
- The team will be back in action on Monday night in Detroit.