Believe me when I say the 4-1 victory against the Canucks was a highlight of my week. It gave me great energy and an ounce of hope for our Hurricanes. We needed that win.
However, I also am wary not to be overconfident about the win, no matter how decisive it is. So this ALN is devoted to seeing if we should temper our hopes for future sanity, should the Canes do what...the Canes do, honestly.
Let’s look at some highlights of last night:
1) Oh hi there, Scott Darling
Darling had a dandy of a night, as Mr. Forslund would say. 22-of-23 shots stopped, the lone goal a deflection with a lot of velocity. All the work that Darling’s put in over the past week or two showed on Friday night.
But there are a couple of question marks that still pop up in my head even with the great performance.
First of all, my concern with his shoddy goaltending of late has been the glove side stops, and we didn’t see a ton of shot selection to that area by Vancouver. There was the one shoulder shrug save that was kinda on that side, and a glove save through traffic with a moderate degree of difficulty. However, I’d be curious to see if our Goalie Formerly Known as Number One fared as well had he seen more shots to that region.
Second, this is a Canucks offense that, despite the nasty nature of Brock Boeser and flashes of scoring from the likes of Thomas Vanek and Sven Baertschi, has really dragged as a whole offensively. I mean, they average fewer goals per game than the Hurricanes, as hard as that is to believe.
I think playing a team like Vancouver is a great rehab for Darling’s confidence and execution, but I don’t think it’s by any means a harbinger of too much for now.
2) Three-goal threshold
Oh boy, how good does it feel to see 3+ goals on the side of the red and black?
They also happened quickly, with three coming in the first period. I thought Jacob Markstrom made a couple really impressive saves, too. So that speaks a lot to the shot quality on the night.
There’s really not too much to temper our hopes about, other than thinking that a good night at home means the next game will produce another four or so goals. We had a great night. Aho’s breakaway, Pesce’s wrister and Willams’ snipe all showed a precision that has been missing the past few games.
As far as the other goal...
3) PDG actually scored?!
Remember when Bill Peters said something to the effect of shaking things up because of unacceptable play, and his solution was to move PDG to the third line? HA!
Well, Mister Third Line Promotion Back to the Fourth Line got his first goal of the season last night, and I assume we’re all sane enough to realize this, but I just want this on the record:
Don’t expect a floodgate to open.
Sure, seeing a puck finally hit the twine can make a goal-starved player begin to settle in. But this is no Sebastian Aho moment, where PDG will likely pick up the pace and score four or five more goals in the rest of the regular season. This is a guy with a 5.7 shooting percentage in his career—9 goals in 99 GP.
Plus, it was a little spear. A feat of timing and luck more so than skill, I’d say.
4) Effort, effort, effort
The “give a damn” meter read pretty high last night—the speed, the physical play, not giving up on plays, another Cane attempting to “fight.”
Maybe the waiver wire situation created a bit of desperation. Who knows?
But I’ve got to be honest: I thought there was quite a big of effort in that Flyers game too, despite the disappointing outcome and only one goal to show for it.
Part of the reason I think a concerted effort was there tonight was because:
A) our effort always shows early;
B) we got the goals early;
and C) a team in need of a win will do anything to protect a multi-goal lead.
I hope that effort will stick around, but I also am still wondering what happens when we’re down 2-0 or 3-0 midway through the second period in some game in the indeterminate future. Will that same effort still be there?
Glad we could have this talk.