Last night’s 7-3 win was the definition of the word Wow. A week ago we were worried about surpassing a three-goal threshold, then we break it - twice! -against a team that’s gunning for a Western wild card spot.
To be fair, the Kings had a couple routine starters out of the lineup, but seven goals is seven goals is seven goals. Hard to argue dominance there.
It left me wondering—what’s the most impressive part of the win? There’s a few contenders.
1) What the Faulk?
It was Mardi Gras last night, and an anagram of “Mardi Gras” is “Arid Sag Mr.” And boy was Justin Faulk one “arid sag mister” through the first half of the season.
In the 56 games leading up to last night’s win, Faulk had four goals on the season. Then he nets three against a goalie who would probably be starting in net at the Olympics right now were it not for NHL rules.
Is it too early to say all is forgiven and we’re sorry for the mean words? Probably.
But it’s not too early to take a deep breath, or to laugh in retrospect at those Faulk to Detroit rumors, ones which we should be glad didn’t substantiate not just for his performance tonight, but for another very special reason...
2) Fat Trick vs Natural Hat Trick
Justin Faulk is the Queso and the Bo’Berry Biscuit and the Papa John’s Pizza. Nobody comes to the Fat Trick except through him.
While earning the first hat trick of his NHL career, Faulk also completed the fat trick—scoring the third Canes goal for 50 percent off at Papa John’s, scoring on the power play for a Bo’Berry biscuit, and scoring as...well, himself for Moe’s queso.
However—and I can’t stress this enough—it was NOT a natural fat trick. That is reserved for a situation in which all three caloric jackpots are hit in a single shot. He accomplished this feat on Jan. 9, 2018 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was a natural hat trick, and he became only the 10th NHL defenseman to accomplish the feat, but we really need a ranking system of importance for these unique tricks.
My proposal: natural fat trick > natural hat trick > hat trick = fat trick
3) Lines so crazy they just...might...work
There was a method to the madness in the line changes last night.
Members of the Donkey Line, as Site Overlord Brian LeBlanc monikered it—Aho, Skinner, and Stempniak—scored the only three goals not by defensemen.
The Brock McGinn-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindholm trio racked up 8 of Carolina’s 26 hits, and Teuvo Teravainen, Victor Rask, and Justin Williams all had an assist in the game.
I know what you’re thinking: Jake, you dummie, those lines shifted around quite a bit. Yeah, but lines shift in every game. The lines and the philosophy behind them, no matter how morphed throughout, contributed to a steady stream of scoring in the game (3 - 2 - 2).
I guess assigning Josh Jooris and Marcus Kruger wasn’t such a bad thing after all?
4) Umm, we scored seven goals
The fact remains that, no matter what I or anyone else claims to have caused it, the Canes scored seven (!) goals last night.
The last time they scored seven goals or more was March 13, 2017 against the Islanders, when the Canes dropped an eight-spot on them in the Barclays Center. Seventy-four games we’ve waited for this arbitrary accomplishment which only serves to signify that the offense actually has a heart, legs, and effort.
And for about ten minutes, the Canes actually held the first wild-card spot in the East, until the Devils (hey, thanks guys!) stole a point with a late goal and then beat the Flyers in a shootout.
With two games against New Jersey coming up in the next three days, who’s to say the Canes can’t get themselves out of the crosshairs of a first-round deathmatch with the Bruins or Lightning after all?
And that might be the most impressive thing of all, that we can have this conversation in a non-hypothetical way this late in the season.