While most of 2018 has been less than optimal for the Carolina Hurricanes, they were able to pull it together and close the year out with a bang last night against the Philadelphia Flyers. With a dominating performance from Curtis McElhinney and a rare offensive showing, the Canes can go in to 2019 on a high note after their 3-1 victory.
For the majority of 2018 scoring has been a consistent issue for the Hurricanes. From hitting posts, to soft shots, and a lot of uninspired play, the Hurricanes have never found an offensive groove throughout the calendar year. Thankfully, they were able to put that all behind them as they prepared to exit 2018. There is no doubt that the offensive came to play last night and that is why we celebrating to start off the new year.
Everything got started in the first period when Lucas Wallmark ripped a long snap shot past the Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart.
A good pass from Brett Pesce and a quick decision to shoot by Wallmark may have caught Hart off guard and likely one Hart would like back. That being said, for a team that struggles offensively, Carolina will take a goal anyway they can get it.
For most all of the first period both teams seemed overly cautious and not much outside of that goal would come from the opening 20 minutes. Maybe something was said in between periods that lit a fire under the Hurricanes or maybe the players decided to come out strong on their own, but the second period would start off with a bang.
The Canes would literally come right out of the gate and score to start the second period. Jordan Martinook retrieved the puck off the opening face off and worked his way through two Flyers defenders to create an opportunity. Another quick wrist shot found its way past Hart and all of a sudden the Canes had themselves a rare two goal lead.
This was a fantastic effort by Martinook and with that he scored the fastest goal in franchise history to start a period. Amazingly, that wasn’t it for the Hurricanes, as they would add a third goal from Andrei Svechnikov just a few minutes after Martinook’s to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
From there the offense would continue to press and generate quite a few more opportunities. Even the one full power play the Hurricanes got looked good. While it did not score they created chances and nearly scored a couple times which has to be something to build off of.
Equally as good as they offense was the goaltending of Curtis McElhinney. As he has been all season, McElhinney was rock solid last night making numerous big saves to keep the Hurricanes ahead. He probably deserved to the first star and his story this season continues to be a great fairy tale.
The only negative from last night is the one play where the Hurricanes allowed the Flyers to score. While the team had played a strong defensive game all night this play just left you wonder what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks just happened.
Dougie Hamilton lost his stick and was unable to get a new one from the bench before the Flyers attack rushed in. Warren Foegele and Janne Kuokkanen were both way out of position and all of a sudden you have two Flyers alone in front of McElhinney. Despite his best effort C-Mac couldn’t stop that one. It just makes you wonder in a 3-0 game how you get caught that badly and allow the Flyers to get such a good opportunity.
Ultimately it did not cost them the game but that it a play that just cannot happen at that point in the game.
Andrei Svechnikov continued to shine last night scoring his 11th goal of the year on a beautiful snipe that ended up chasing Carter Hart from the game.
Svech gon' give it to ya pic.twitter.com/txp7Gjp1UL— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) January 1, 2019
The play doesn’t happen if Clark Bishop isn’t able to knock the puck down in the neutral zone to create an odd man rush, but even with that play it took a great shot by Svechnikov to score. This young Russian phenom continues to show us why he will quickly become a major star in the NHL and with every passing game he just gets even better.
Svechnikov’s shot is one goaltenders should fear and as he continues to learn how to use his large frame he will only become increasingly more difficult to stop. If the Hurricanes can find some true offensively talented line mates to play with Svechnikov they could easily have one of the best forwards in the game sooner rather than later.
With his goal, Svechnikov got the honors of sending the team in to 2019 as the main guy for the Surge. In what may have been the best celly yet, Svech got us all forgetting about the woes of 2018 last night and at least temporarily excited about 2019.
Moral of the Story
Every team in the NHL hopes to go in to the new year atop the standings and so far things haven’t gone that way for the Hurricanes. 2018 was a year filled with ups and downs but to turn the calendar with a rousing victory was nice to see. Carolina has many challenges to fix in the new year if they want to see the postseason but none of that mattered last night as they took home a victory against the Flyers.
Curtis McElhinney and Andrei Svechnikov led the way and now they get to enjoy the start of 2019 for a couple days. The Hurricanes need to get on a roll to start 2019 and Philadelphia will be waiting for the Canes on Thursday seeking revenge. If they can get another performance like they did last night, Carolina should have no problems starting the new year off on a winning streak.
If the Hurricanes’ New Year’s resolution was to convince another team to give Phil Di Giuseppe a shot at a regular roster spot, so far so good. The Nashville Predators claimed the 2012 second-rounder off waivers from the Hurricanes on Tuesday, after Di Giuseppe was placed on the waiver wire for the second time this season on Monday. Di Giuseppe becomes the second Hurricanes player to depart on waivers this season, following Valentin Zykov who joined the Vegas Golden Knights last week. The release from the team is below.
DI GIUSEPPE CLAIMED BY PREDATORS ON WAIVERS
Forward has registered four points in 21 games this season
Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that forward Phil Di Giuseppe has been claimed on waivers by the Nashville Predators.
Di Giuseppe, 25, recorded four points (1g, 3a) in 21 games this season with the Hurricanes. The 6’0”, 192-pound forward played 147 games for Carolina from 2015-18, posting 41 points (14g, 27a). Di Giuseppe also tallied 89 points (35g, 54a) in 160 AHL games with the Charlotte Checkers from 2014-18. The Maple, Ont., native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round, 38th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.