The Hurricanes did a lot of things well in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins last night, but also has a few things to work on. Scott Darling’s season debut in net was mostly a positive. The team broke through on the power play, but could not find the back of the net at even strength, and the penalty kill continued to struggle.
Here are some key takeaways from the game.
In game No. 12 of the season, Scott Darling made his first start after sitting out the first 11 contests with a groin injury. Darling started the game very well. He looked quick, explosive and like his offseason workout regimen paid off.
He made several great stops, including one early in the first period with the game scoreless, and made a couple on shorthanded chances for the Bruins too.
Wow. Scott Darling with a phenomenal save. His first big test, and he passed. pic.twitter.com/HIWbtFtcsj— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 30, 2018
Another huge save from Scott Darling. A shorthanded rush from Boston, but Darling continues to dazzle in his first game of the season. pic.twitter.com/SzcfgJp9qc— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 31, 2018
It wasn’t all roses, as Darling should have stopped the Bruins’ first goal, but there was nothing he could have done on either of Brad Marchand’s. Darling’s first start of the season against one of the best teams in the NHL is a very encouraging sign for the Hurricanes.
Mixed bag on special teams
The Canes finally got things going on the power play, with two goals. The first was exactly the kind of goal you have to score, with multiple players crashing the net for a rebound and Micheal Ferland potting one.
Micheal Ferland nets a power play goal. Sebastian Aho gets an assist and extends his point streak to 12 games to start the season - a franchise record. Aho has assists in 12 straight games to start the season, which ties an NHL record held by Wayne Gretzky. pic.twitter.com/6dR9aH7Hye— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 30, 2018
The other was probably exactly what the Canes were envisioning when they traded for Dougie Hamilton, with the former Bruin blasting one home from the point.
DOUGIE HAMILTON! A power play goal and a bullet. 2-1 Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/X49mgQ68MC— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 31, 2018
The team still has work to do, however, as both of the Bruins’ goals came on the man advantage, including one that proved pivotal in the game. Speaking of which…
Late breakdown costs Canes
The Hurricanes did not get to enjoy Hamilton’s power-play tally for long. Shortly after, the Bruins got their own power play. Warren Foegele got a shorthanded chance, but Patrice Bergeron thwarted it.
He then caught the Canes on a change and threaded a pass up the ice to Marchand, who fired a laser by Darling to tie the game with 18 seconds left in the middle frame. If the Canes go into the third period with a lead, it’s a very different game.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour stressed the need for the Canes to cut out those critical mistakes. He was correct in his assessment that despite the Bruins scoring the game winner in the third period, that first Marchand goal was the play that cost the team the game.