It took just 40 minutes of hockey last night for the Carolina Hurricanes to lay an utter beat down on the Los Angeles Kings. Going into the game many feared this game was a classic set up for a massive letdown but the Canes said no way. With their victory the Canes moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division and there are no signs of them slowing down any time soon.
The Good - Avoiding the Letdown
The Kings entered Raleigh on the second half of a back to back after taking the best team in the NHL to a shootout the night before. The Kings had lost eight straight games going into last night and were hungry for the taste of victory. But none of that mattered to Carolina. There was no trap to fall in to because the Canes came out blazing.
Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring in the first period after Saku Maenalanen was shoved in to Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. This left a vacated net wide open for Hamilton who notched his 11th on the season.
Minutes later Sebastian Aho broke his goal drought by ripping a snap shot past Quick on a two on one.
Aho’s skating ability turned this play in to a two on one and he wasn’t going to miss. The offense would continue to light the lamp in the second period but it was this fast start that gave Carolina all the momentum.
With all the classic scenarios setting up for a clunker against the Kings, Carolina came out motivated and determined to take care of business, and they did just that. These are the kind of games we have all become accustomed to losing throughout the years, but this Hurricanes team just keep showing us how they really are different from all the other incarnations. Those previous Canes teams couldn’t get the job done at crunch time, but this one seems to have found a way to seal the deal.
The Bad - Injury Bug
The one thing you hope to never see in any game, but especially a blowout, is injuries. Unfortunately for the Canes they were not able to avoid the injury bug last night. Both Micheal Ferland and Justin Faulk left the game during the third period due to injuries. Nobody seems to know what happened to Faulk as he was spotted on camera during the second intermission but then seemed to just vanish from the bench during the third period.
Ferland’s injury was more obvious as it came at the expense of Hamilton’s second goal of the night. Hamilton launched a blast from the point and Ferland tried to jump over Quick’s save attempt, only to see him fall directly to the ice. He went straight to the locker room favoring his shoulder/wrist.
We don’t know anything more than that but if Ferland is severely hurt it could seriously derail the Hurricanes as his line along with Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen had quickly formed a much needed second scoring line behind the Aho line.
As if those two things were not bad enough it was reported after the game that Calvin de Haan suffered some sort of injury in the weight room during the post game workout.
It looks like de Haan just got hurt in the locker room during the post game workout. Not sure what exaclty happened but was leaning on trainers. Hope he is ok. No update on Faulk and Ferland yet, not sure what even happened to Faulk.— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) February 27, 2019
Since the Hurricanes did not add any veteran depth players at the trade deadline, they desperately need to stay healthy. While they can likely afford to lose a defenseman more than they can a forward, they need their best players available for this crucial stretch run. We should know more on these injuries either today or tomorrow but right now you have to hold your breath and just hope they are all okay.
The Great - Everything
This will be short: quite simply, everything about the Carolina Hurricanes right now is just great. They dominated the Kings last night and are the second hottest team in the NHL since the calendar flipped to 2019. The goaltenders are shutting down opponents every night, the offense has found its rhythm, even the power play is starting to convert with some sort of regularity.
All cylinders are operating a full power and every team in the NHL should take warning of the Carolina Hurricanes with the way they are playing.
Moral of the Story
With everything setting up for a trap game, the Hurricanes sent a message last night saying they are for real. Yes, LA is a team they should beat, but they didn’t just beat them, they demolished them. They have earned themselves the third Metro playoff spot (for now) and they should enjoy it.
For as good as the Canes have been, there’s been one team even hotter, and they are coming to Raleigh on Friday. Six of the next seven games are against teams currently in the playoffs, and the Canes have to find a way to stay afloat until they get to the four-point games against Metro teams. Injuries will happen and there has to be a next man up mantra if any of those guys are out long term. They have proven they can overcome that with injuries to Jordan Staal and Ferland, and now they may have to prove it again.
But for now, there’s only one thing to do. Celebrate last night’s win like only a true jerk knows how.