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About Last Night: Shark Bitten; Gibbons Reassigned

Kane outscores the Canes, as Carolina falls 5-2 in San Jose Wednesday night

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at San Jose Sharks Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes dropped the second leg of a west coast back-to-back Wednesday night, as a hat trick from Evander Kane led the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Canes.

Carolina couldn’t stay out of the penalty box and couldn’t keep Kane from scoring, as San Jose simply out-classed and out-worked the Hurricanes throughout the night. The Canes still lead the Eastern Conference with 12 points, but have now dropped two of their last three after starting 5-0-0.

Stay Out of the Penalty Box

The Hurricanes entered Wednesday night’s affair with San Jose having already taken the most penalties in the NHL this season, and it didn’t get better for Carolina against the Sharks. With four more trips to the box against San Jose, the Canes have taken 39 penalties this season in just eight games.

The penalty kill hasn’t exactly been a strength either, as the Sharks netted goals on two of their four power-play opportunities to bring the Canes’ season kill percentage to 81.3 percent. Two of Kane’s three first-period goals came on the power play, and Carolina’s inability to stay out of the box really took the Canes out of the game from the very start.

Eight games is a small sample size, but giving up nearly five power plays a game is just not a sustainable way to win hockey games. The discipline has been a pretty consistent issue for Carolina, and is something that the Hurricanes are going to need to change pretty soon if they want to continue winning hockey games at the rate they have been.

The Rich Get Richer

There weren’t a ton of positives to take away if you’re the Hurricanes, but one would be that the hot hands stayed hot. Dougie Hamilton and Erik Haula both continued their absolute scoring tears, with Hamilton netting his fifth goal of the season in the first period on a beautiful snipe from the circle.

Hamilton has consistently gotten more dangerous offensively in each of his seven previous NHL seasons, and he’s well beyond pace to set a new career-high yet again this season. With five goals in just eight games, Hamilton is clearly confident in his shot right now, and he’s been a reliable goal-scoring defenseman so far this season.

The only member of the Canes who has tickled the twine more this season is Haula, who continues to be a marvelous addition for Carolina this year. With a third-period deflection that put the Hurricanes within two goals, Haula netted his sixth of the year for his new squad.

Haula and Hamilton have been consistently dangerous for Carolina, and even in a bad loss they showed off their goal-scoring prowess. The more guys on a team that are comfortable shooting and scoring the better, and with some of the expected stars not quite finding their goals yet, the production of Haula and Hamilton has been much needed for the Canes.

Shake It Off and Move On

Excuses shouldn’t be made for a team that performed as badly as the Hurricanes did Wednesday night, but there are probably reasons for the poor showing. The Canes were playing a good San Jose team, one that came a couple of games away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Final last year, on the end leg of a back-to-back.

It wasn’t just any back-to-back either, but a west coast back-to-back that marked the Canes’ fourth game in the last six days. Fatigue was clearly an issue for Carolina, who really just didn’t show up for the game and got run out of the building.

There’s a lot that needs to be cleaned up from the blowout loss to San Jose, and a lot to be learned from it. However, the best move for Carolina after that one might be to just forget it happened and moved forward to Anaheim on Friday. Every team will have some duds, and for the good teams it’s about limiting the duds. Wednesday night in San Jose proved to be a dud for the Hurricanes, who need to avoid another one on Friday before they get to come back to the east coast.

Wrapping Up

Losing one of two games on a west coast back-to-back, especially with a backup goalie in net, isn’t the end of the world for Carolina. The Canes are still sitting pretty through eight games, and will have an opportunity to bounce back Friday against Anaheim.

The Hurricanes on Thursday reassigned forward Brian Gibbons to the Charlotte Checkers.

Gibbons was brought up by the Canes Sunday, and was with the team for games against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Gibbons made his Canes debut Tuesday in a win over the Kings, and also played Wednesday in the loss to the Sharks.

The Hurricanes are still out west for another game, as they will face the Anaheim Ducks Friday. Carolina does have some options on who could replace Gibbons. Winger Julien Gauthier, who has already spent time with the Canes this season, seems a possible option. Center Clark Bishop also has NHL experience and is currently with Charlotte.

Carolina has been carrying defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk as well, as the blue liner was recently reactivated following a shoulder injury.

Gibbons will return to the Checkers, where he has put up four points in as many games played this season. The release from the team is below.


Forward skated in two NHL games with Carolina after recall on Oct. 13

Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has reassigned forward Brian Gibbons to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Gibbons, 31, was recalled from Charlotte on Oct. 13 and skated in a pair of NHL games with Carolina, making his Hurricanes debut at Los Angeles on Oct. 15. He has posted four points (1g, 3a) in four AHL games with the Checkers this season. Gibbons recorded 19 points (8g, 11a) in 64 games with Anaheim and Ottawa in 2018-19, including 14 points (6g, 8a) in 20 games after being traded from the Ducks to the Senators on Feb. 25. The 5’8”, 175-pound forward has registered 67 points (25g, 42a) in 191 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Columbus, New Jersey, Anaheim, Ottawa and Carolina. Gibbons has also skated in 333 career AHL games, tallying 164 points (56g, 108a). The Braintree, Mass., native played four seasons at Boston College, where he posted 164 points (56g, 108a) in 160 games and won the NCAA Division I National Championship twice (2008 and 2010).