The Carolina Hurricanes won their seventh game in a row on Thursday night in PNC Arena, their fourth win against the Nashville Predators this season. They were powered by three goals in just 2:21 during the opening period.
The night also marked the 400th game for both Cerdic Pacquette and Jaccob Slavin.
No Trocheck, No Problem
Yesterday head coach Rod Brind’Amour had announced that Vincent Trocheck would miss Thursday’s game with an injury sustained in their last game against the Predators.
Trocheck’s loss is a huge one for the Canes as he leads the team in goals (13) and points (24). Without the three deep centers, Brind’Amour shuffled up the lines from having three skilled lines to a real top six. Sebastian Aho moved up to center Martin Necas and Nino Niederreiter and Martinook moved up to center Brock McGinn and Warren Foegele.
The Martinook, Foegele and McGinn line was a great energy line. They should be called all gas, no hands, but McGinn messed that up with a great one-timer goal in the three-goal sequence in the first period.
Eight goals in 26 games for Brock McGinn, already surpassing his goal total in 68 games form a season ago. pic.twitter.com/jUTajt2RpI— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) March 12, 2021
The biggest change seemed to come from Aho getting to play with more skilled wingers. The line combined for the most high danger scoring chances of any line. They also had more controlled entries than Aho had when playing with Foegele and McGinn.
The Corsi numbers don’t look great for many in this game as most of the third was a blowout and the foot was certainly off the gas, but it was fun watching Aho’s passes actually find a player that could handle them. The game was much cleaner and visually smoother than the game on Tuesday.
Good Things Come in Sevens
Not only do the Canes have a seven-game win-streak there are a couple of other seven-game streaks. Defender Dougie Hamilton increased his assist streak to seven games with one goal, eight assists in his last seven. This is the first time that a Canes defenseman has recorded a seven-game assist streak since relocation. The assist came in the third period on the power-play goal scored by Martin Necas.
Speaking of the power play, the Carolina Hurricanes now also have a seven-game, power-play goal streak. They entered the game ranked third in the league with a 29.8% success rate but will end the night ranked first after being bumped up to 32.2% on the back of a perfect night.
Tonight both units were firing on all cylinders. The second unit scored two of the goals thanks to Morgan Geekie. Geekie, who was activated for the game to replace Trocheck’ scored off a deflection and an odd=angle bounce. This multi-goal performance also means that Geekie has six goals in three games that he has played in months ending in “arch.”
Both of Geekie’s power-play goals were directly assisted by Jake Bean. Bean was asked about their connection after the game and mentioned that their time in the AHL together has been a big help and he knew exactly where Geekie was going to be on the power play.
“Yeah, absolutely. Obviously, we played together in the American League, and he played that spot on the power play in junior and Tri-City as well.”
So despite little to no practice time together on the power play, this connection worked twice, including a Bean shot redirect from Geekie for the first goal. Bean has continued his exceptional play and tonight raised his total to eight assists on the year. He now has nine total points in 16 games played.
Welcome back to the NHL, Morgan Geekie!— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 12, 2021
Geekie with an excellent tip on the power play to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead over the Predators. pic.twitter.com/05fxnzYWT7
He hasn’t just been good on the power play; he has excelled with partner Haydn Fleury who he, you guessed it, played in the AHL with. They are the second-best pairing for the Hurricanes this year that has played over 25 minutes together. Their 56.61% corsi for is only bested by the pairing of Hamilton and Brady Skjei’s 58.20%. Their 2.76 xGF/60 is also the highest on the team.
The big thing to notice with Bean is in the defensive zone. When a player has the puck on their stick awaiting a breakout some can look rushed and fidgety and others don’t. When a player is charging Skjei he can make mistakes, for Bean, it looks like time slows down, and he always makes the right play. Some of this ability comes with familiarity with your partner.
That First Place Feeling
The Canes will sit in first place for at least a full night after the Tampa Bay Lightning fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 6-4. The Lightning still have one game in hand and the top three teams are all still within a point of each other.
The Canes now have a couple of days to get right before they take on the juggernauts up in Detroit. Both Florida teams will be in action on Saturday, so the Canes could enter their next game back in third. What a wild year.