It was still not the kind of game expected from two teams known for their transition games and ability to score quick off the rush, but the Canes are a team able to play mostly any style.
Here are a few thoughts from last night’s win:
On Tuesday, we saw the Canes come out in the opening 20 minutes and lay the pressure on Chicago, dominating the entire period, but the motto is bend but don’t break, and without a single goal to show for it, the period ended up being worthless.
Because the Hawks then scored two quick and easy goals to start the second and switched into turtle mode and just made life hell for Carolina. Nothing got going and nothing else went in.
In that game, the Hawks bounced back from a poor start and rode that small hop to victory.
Last night, however, it was the Canes’ turn to rebound.
For one, they actually scored in their dominant first period. Vincent Trocheck “continued” his point streak* with an absolute snipe top corner on Kevin Lankinen. It was a goal to set the tone.
*(He has missed time, but he has eight straight games with at least a point)
But after going up by two goals, the Canes’ lead evaporated off of two really unfortunate bounces. The first Chicago goal was swept in by Jaccob Slavin and the second one was batted by Brett Pesce twice in front of the net before bouncing onto Brandon Hagel’s stick and in.
But this Canes team just responds so well to adversity. You can say they are rubber and their opponents are glue or however that old playground tattle went.
They just don’t get down when unfortunate things happen.
A bit over a minute after giving up the lead, the Hurricanes stormed right back and Warren Foegele potted his second goal of the night. We’ll get to him a bit later as well.
But it was a goal in close where Foegele just picked up a rebound off the endboards and put the puck between his legs and on net and Lankinen ended up kicking it in.
The Canes then gave up the lead once again, this time to a Dylan Strome tip in front.
But the bounce back for this one was pretty rude for the Hawks.
The Hurricanes battle and battle and it just so happened that one of the hardest workers on the team, who his teammates say never gives up on any play, stole the lead away for them in the waning seconds.
Jesper Fast jumped quickly on a poorly kicked out rebound and barely got it on net as the puck rattled off the post and in to give the Canes back the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.
They’re a team that never quits and they showed their resilience and elasticity last night.
I’d said we’d get to him and here he is. Warren Foegele, the big birthday boy as Jordan Staal affectionately dubbed him in last night’s presser.
Foegele has been steadily building up his value over the past few games after a pretty uneventful and unnoticeable stretch for him.
He’s at his best when he’s being a pest along the boards, winning pucks back and reloading the offensive zone. But whenever he can get on the scoresheet, that’s a bonus. And he did it twice last night.
His first goal was lucky, as he was trying to shoot the puck across to Nino Niederreiter, but instead it ended up barely going in on Lankinen and his second was even luckier, as I described earlier.
Foegele really summed it up best though.
“Sometimes there’s goals that should go in and sometimes there’s some where you get the bounce. Just keep it simple and play hard and sometimes you’ll get those bounces.”
If the Canes can get the birthday boy to stay on this level of play, even without scoresheet production being a factor, he can be a great piece come playoff time, which he has kind of made his thing.
James Reimer finds ways to win, Alex Nedeljkovic was the Rookie of the Month for March and after a successful conditioning stint, Petr Mrazek’s return seems inevitable.
So what do you do when you need to decide who plays?
I don’t know, but I’m also not paid to coach the Carolina Hurricanes — best of luck Rod!
But I do know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with carrying three netminders. The Canes have afforded themselves enough cap space to not have to worry about adding Nedeljkovic’s cost to the active roster so why not?
There will be calls coming into Carolina inquiring on one of those netminders — names like Colorado, Washington, Pittsburgh, Calgary or Philadelphia are all looking to improve on that front — but unless an offer really blows you away or can be packaged with a really good hockey deal, don’t make it.
I think back to just last year. Not as far as the Canes losing both Mrazek and Reimer to injury in the same game because that’s just a wildly unlikely situation, but as far back as the playoffs.
The Avalanche were one of the favorites to win the cup. They lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the Dallas Stars in Game 7 overtime. Why did they lose?
Well one might point to the fact that they had Michael Hutchinson in net. He actually won two games in a row to bring the Avs back into the series, but his luck ran dry in Game 7. Why was he in net though?
Because both Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz went down with injuries pretty close in time to one another.
Now imagine if the Hurricanes, a highly touted team this year, end up trading away a netminder and then go down two guys. So then you are now relying on Anton Bibeau and Beck Warm to win the Cup. Not ideal.
The odds are against it, but who wants to take that chance this year of all years, and when you could just keep some extra insurance for free?