Twelve goals against. Two games. It’s been far from a banner week for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Between their five goal collapse against Boston and their failure to break down a rookie goalie with 44 shots in New York, the Canes managed to beat themselves as much as their opponents did. There were a number of lowlights to choose from, but Jimmy Vesey’s initial tally on Tuesday perhaps provided a particularly troubling example of Carolina’s parade of ineptitude.
Faceoffs have long been a strength for the Canes — Rod Brind’Amour’s specialty has lifted the team to first overall in the category with a 53.8 FOW% this season to follow a second and fourth place ranking in 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively — but became their demise on Tuesday, at least on one occasion.
Pavel Buchnevich won a draw in the Canes’ zone and went forward with it, blowing past Derek Ryan and collecting the puck just past him.
Just...not good. Ryan puts up no resistance whatsoever, which is unacceptable in really any occasion. Even if he sends the puck to a defenseman or winger by winning the faceoff, Ryan has to put up at least some kind of roadblock. Not so much that he’ll get tagged for interference, but enough so that Buchnevich can’t take two unabated strides towards goal.
But Ryan didn’t even win the faceoff. Buchnevich pushed the puck forward and gathered a free puck, and Ryan only moved to get out of his path.
Jeff Skinner attempted to bat down Buchnevich’s chip forward, but did so with no regard for the danger of giving up an easy goal should he have missed — which he did. Without the puck, Skinner lurched ahead as if he planned to start a rush up the ice, but Buchnevich and Vesey went ahead towards goal, stranding Trevor van Riemsdyk to take care of the mess. Let’s see how he did.
He does well to read the pass, but fails to execute and ends up chasing the play. It’s the little things like not getting a stick all the way to the ice to block the puck that can cost teams goals and games. It does so here.
It also doesn’t help that Darling misses the poke check, forcing him to begin chasing the play as well, but you’d be hard-pressed to ask him to shoulder any more of the blame on this goal. You just can’t have three of the five skaters fail to do their jobs inside of the hashmarks.
Watch in real time. You can see Ryan barely lay a finger on Buchnevich, Skinner get ahead of himself and van Riemsdyk get caught in no-man’s-land while he decides how to play the puck.
It’s laughable as is, but particularly so because of Carolina’s stout reputation in the face-off circle. It usually takes two or three players to win a draw; clearly, they know what to do as a unit to gain possession — but you’d have a hell of a time drawing that conclusion here.
No one is on the same page and responsibilities are thrown out the window. You can’t have that and win hockey games.