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About Last Night: It’s Not You, It’s John Gibson

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Evaluating the conflicting feelings of “we should have done better” vs. “he was just outstanding.”

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The magic of the black uniforms wore off last night as the Hurricanes fell to the Ducks, 2-1, in overtime. We got to experience more of the enthralling excitement of watching young star Andrei Svechnikov score, but nothing else found its way by John Gibson.

When considering what happened, my mind went back and forth between two different thoughts. Both can be simultaneously true, but feel at odds with one another in some way. Here’s what I mean.

1) It’s good to feel comfortable with your goalie, but you have to give him more than one goal to work with.

Curtis McElhinney has been on fire as of late, and even in the loss last night, he was solid for the most part. The only goal he allowed in regulation was batted into the corner of the net out of the air on a weird redirection off Calvin de Haan, then the overtime winner for the Ducks was a 1-on-none breakaway — effectively a penalty shot.

However, on the flip side of the candidates for blame, the Canes scored one goal on 34 shots (0.29 percent shooting).

Where have you been all season, Jake? This is nothing new.

I realize that, but you look at the chances we created — Jordan Staal’s chance at a redirection, Dougie Hamilton’s breakaway, Jordan Martinook’s rebound from close range, Phil Di Giuseppe’s...uhh * checks card * general offensive excellence (?!) — and it makes you scratch your head over how one of those didn’t go in while a quick snap by Svechnikov did (set up by the power of the shield).

Sure, last night didn’t really hurt McElhinney’s save percentage or goals against average. It probably won’t dent his confidence whatsoever. But if we go back to the ways of our scoring drought, it’s gonna be harder for “Calm Curtis” to stay calm knowing he has to shoulder almost the entire workload.

2) It’s not crazy to me that Gibson held us to one goal.

Gibson is what makes the Ducks work at all right now. No, seriously:

(Also, lol at our shooting.)

As much as we joke about giving every goalie we face the Vezina after saving our barrage of shots (re: Thomas Greiss, Laurent Brossoit, Chad Johnson), Gibson’s one-goal-allowed performance last night was pretty incredible.

Seriously, HOW DID PDG NOT SCORE HERE? (Answer: Gibson)

OR DOUGIE HERE? (Answer: Also Gibson)

Did the Hurricanes give him a handful of cupcake saves, as always? Sure. But there were a ton of high-quality scoring chances this time, and Gibson was just outstanding. I mean, look at all of the shot highlights that the NHL marked in the game for the Canes:

Other quick thoughts:

  • Our fourth-line-turned-second-line players put up the most shots on the night as a unit (11).
  • Jordan Martinook nearly added his eighth goal of the season with great chances in every period, all of which came from short range. Svechnikov may be the eye candy on their line, but Martinook is the lead goal-scorer on the line and was centimeters from increasing his lead.
  • Justin Faulk had one of his better games...through two periods, however. I though he stalled a bit in the third, then the unfortunate happened in head-shaking fashion in OT (seen falling here).
  • I understand this was just for a special occasion, but I would love to hear the violinist from last night at every home game from now on.

Saturday morning, the Hurricanes activated both Haydn Fleury (concussion) and Brett Pesce (lower-body) from injured reserve and reassigned Jake Bean to the Charlotte Checkers. The two veteran defensemen went through Friday’s morning skate paired together with little visible difficulty. The Canes are back to carrying seven defensemen, and Pesce is likely to return to the lineup tomorrow night against the Kings. Fleury, who was playing a fantastic game before suffering a concussion last Friday against the Panthers, may bump Trevor van Riemsdyk out of the lineup tomorrow. The release from the team is below.

CANES REASSIGN BEAN TO CHARLOTTE

Fleury, Pesce activated from injured reserve

Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has reassigned defenseman Jake Bean to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League and activated defensemen Haydn Fleury and Brett Pesce from injured reserve.

Bean, 20, made his NHL debut on Nov. 27 at Montreal. The 6’1”, 186-pound defenseman was selected by Carolina in the first round (13th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, and has posted 11 points (3g, 8a) in 21 games with the Checkers this season. The Calgary, Alta., native skated in 57 Western Hockey League games with Calgary and Tri-City in 2017-18, registering 48 points (12g, 36a).

Fleury, 22, has missed the last three games with a concussion. The Carlyle, Sask., native has appeared in eight games with the Hurricanes this season, recording one assist, and he has registered nine assists in 75 career games with Carolina. The 6’3”, 208-pound defenseman was selected by the Hurricanes in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Pesce, 24, has missed the last eight games with a lower-body injury. The 6’3”, 206-pound defenseman has recorded three points (2g, 1a) in 17 games this season, and he has tallied 58 points (11g, 47a) in 233 career games with Carolina. The Tarrytown, N.Y., native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the third round (66th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.