After giving up a 2-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes battled back to earn a point after trailing in the third period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins Tuesday night. While the Blue Jackets and Penguins both won, the single point gained keeps the Canes in third place in the metro (ROW tiebreaker on Pittsburgh, two points up on Columbus).
While fighting back to earn a point against a tough opponent on the road is admirable, and there was plenty of good (Sebastian Aho, Curtis McElhinney, Justin Williams), a turnover by Justin Faulk on the game-winning goal and a minus-1 night for the power play kept Carolina from getting the crucial second point.
Here’s a few key takeaways from the loss.
Power play in the red- As mentioned, the power play is probably the biggest factor in the Canes coming up with just one point in this one. The team went 0 for 5, including on an opportunity to go up 3-0 early in the second, and to regain the lead early in the third.
That third-period man advantage did worse than not finding the back of the net, it surrendered the go-ahead goal. A shorthanded rush finished off by Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins up 3-2 and left the Canes chasing the game. While Williams would tie the game (more on that in a bit), who knows how this one could have ended up if the Canes take the lead on that man advantage instead (or go up by three in the second)?
Bergeron with the 2-on-1 SHG to make it 3-2 Bruins in the third period. pic.twitter.com/94Kmahkp7m— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
In these tight games against tough opponents down the stretch, the Canes have to be able to rely on their power play.
Captain clutch- With the Canes needing a point in the standings to keep pace with their competitors, Williams delivered.
He finished off a strong shift in the offensive zone for the Canes, slamming a shot past Jaroslav Halak with seven minutes and change to play.
Game-tying goal from Justin Williams in the third period. 19th of the season. pic.twitter.com/VO0xsPTe2F— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
The goal was Williams’ 19th of the season, and the captain has had a propensity to score big goals during this run. Williams seems ready to will his team back into the playoffs if that’s what it takes, and that kind of play from its leader will be an asset as the Canes look to keep moving up the standings down the stretch.
Aho’s big night- What more can we say about Sebastian Aho? The Canes’ star center scored his 28th and 29th goals of the season Tuesday to tie his career high and continues to lead the offensive attack.
His first goal came as he outmuscled none other than noted behemoth Zdeno Chara in front of the Bruins’ net to tip in a shot from Zdeno Chara in the first period, and the second on a backhand finish off a breakaway in the second.
How about Sebastian Aho net-battling with Zdeno Chara... and winning. 1-0 Hurricanes in Boston. pic.twitter.com/PBw6rGXacv— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
Count Aho on the list of leaders that’s ready to push this group into the postseason.
McElhinney does his part- Curtis McElhinney played a quiet but important role in the
Canes earning a point, with 34 stops on 38 shots.
He made a handful of big saves and kept Carolina in the game when Boston was carrying the play for stretches of the second and third period. His big save on former Hurricane Joakim Nordstrom on a third-period two-on-one that would have given Boston a two-goal lead allowed Williams the chance to tie the game.
McElhinney's big save on Nordstrom just moments before the Hurricanes tied the game. pic.twitter.com/lLHnG0JCVG— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
A costly mistake- Seriously not sure what Faulk was doing on the winning goal. He got the puck back behind the net and had a chance to either skate it out of trouble or look for an outlet. Instead, he skated it right into Jake DeBrusk, allowing him to set up Krejci for the game winner.
Not a great look for Justin Faulk... GWG in overtime from Krejci, Bruins win 4-3. pic.twitter.com/IOq8wfyv77— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
With points at a premium down the stretch, that’s a tough error to make.
Ferland out? For the second time in a week, Micheal Ferland left a game with an injury. After a clean hit, that unfortunately injured Marcus Johansson, Ferland answered the bell and fought (and beat) David Backes. That may have been a costly sequence, however; as Ferland went to the locker room with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Micheal Ferland with a huge hit. Hopefully, Johansson is okay, but it was shoulder-to-shoulder and clean. pic.twitter.com/eNgQkklmq1— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
Micheal Ferland and David Backes drop the gloves. Very intense start in Boston. Ferland goes to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/FvCI0zMkMw— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 6, 2019
Ferland left last Tuesday’s game against the Kings and then was fine to play Friday. Here’s hoping taking him out was just precautionary, and the result will be the same this time.