It was a matinee showing of the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday and this film didn’t disappoint. Outside of a couple sluggish stretches, Carolina controlled the game and snapped their three-game losing streak with a 3-0 rout of Arizona.
It’s always fun to watch Sebastian Aho do his holy work, but today, let’s highlight some newcomers in the Canes organization, because they’re the ones who helped make yesterday’s game go so smoothly.
Once I saw Mrazek go this far out of the crease for a save…
kids, if you want to be a goalie, it’s all about that “perfect positioning” pic.twitter.com/NfoH5tLltG— Jake Crouse (@jake_crouse94) December 16, 2018
...I wasn’t too sure he’d be able to keep a clean sheet. The hard checking by the Hurricanes certainly helped his cause, but Mrazek’s 15th career shutout was a breath of fresh air, wasn’t it?
We know that when a team’s goalie is standing tall behind it, the team tends to play more confidently. Remember how exciting some of the first few games of the season were when we were in an attack mindset? It’s easier to be comfortable doing so when your goalie makes statements like these.
Petr Mrazek with a huge save. Keeps the game scoreless. pic.twitter.com/NbJPHbzbgW— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 16, 2018
Sure, it wasn’t necessarily a highlight reel of saves. Mrazek faced 23 shots against the second-worst team in the league in terms of goals for per game. But he did make some pretty timely saves, and though he might have gotten a little crazy (see above image), he stayed pretty grounded and did the fundamentals right to get the routine saves -- something we’ve been missing for a little while.
He didn’t appear in the scoring breakdown, but Bishop was doing everything in his power to pester the Coyotes. There’s a reason this man was destined to be on a team called the Checkers: he’ll check just about anything in sight, and then a little more.
Think about this: on a night when the Hurricanes were missing their two leaders in hits per game (Micheal Ferland and Jordan Staal), the team laid a season-high 48 hits on the Coyotes. Bishop led the way with six. No rookie jitters here.
Bishop is beginning to read the game better, so I’d expect this defensively sound forward to continue to improve on the boards, given that he earns his spot on the NHL team. Regardless, on a team that historically hasn’t been the most willing to put bodies to bodies, Bishop has carved out a nice niche for himself.
It happened! It happened!
To be honest, it’s been a pretty depressing stretch of time not being able to get all excited about Foegele. For the nickname “Warren Four-goal,” he’s barely been able to net one. But he got his fourth on Sunday and got his moniker back in the nick of time.
Anyone who’s been watching the games has seen the ups and downs of the season for Foegele. What’s never been in question, though, is his work ethic every time he puts his skates on the ice. His faults tend to be overskating the puck and overcommitting to a play.
But his goal on Sunday was a good show of Foegele’s ability to slow himself down and assess the play. He gave himself plenty of space from the Arizona defense and knew where the rebound would find him. Only thing that’s left to do is to send it back where it came from.
Our fledgling is showing the signs that he’s ready to leave the RBA-ordained nest. Though his TOI last night was just a tick below 15:00, he’s getting PP1 looks consistently (which helped balloon his ice time to more than 22:00 against the Capitals). He’s also worked his way up to a 9.8 shooting percentage on the season thanks in part to three goals in the past three games.
We knew the talent was there, obviously. His skating and puck handling in tight-pressure situations has been superb, and he has this great sense on offense of knowing where the puck ought to be. But the one thing that has always been a thorn in the process of many a Cane hopeful has been the ability to finish.
Svechnikov showed off his net-driving capabilities and his hand-eye coordination around the crease with his two goals against Montreal. But on Sunday, he put a gorgeous snipe in his shooting repertoire.
The future seems to be only getting more exciting for our No. 2 pick.
(Also he and Foegele are, like, BFFs, so that’s kinda cute.)