The Carolina Hurricanes are once again out here embarrassing an NHL team.
With their second seven-goal outing — as well as second five-goal period — the Canes saw six players notch goals and had 10 players on the statsheet and seven have multi-point games.
In every facet of the game, the Hurricanes were the better team. A rarity in today’s NHL, but it happens sometimes. It just so happened to be Carolina’s night last night.
Although the penalty kill streak was stopped just one shy of tying the franchise record (36), the kill was still a staple part of the Hurricanes’ success last night killing off four more as well as a 5-on-3.
The power play was also clicking scoring on two of their three chances and the hope is that the man-advantage can continue to produce into the playoffs.
It was a night of highlights, so let’s take a look back at some of the best parts of last night:
The Canes have had extremely balanced scoring as of late with 15 different skaters registering at least one goal in the month of January. Going back to December, the only skaters who have not registered at least one goal in the two month span were Jordan Martinook — who just returned to action last night after sustaining an injury on December 2 — and Jordan Staal.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi is continuing to be a key part of the offensive depth as he potted both the game winner and backbreaker goals last night. His nine goals on the season sit just two shy of his career best (11) which he reached during his rookie campaign.
At the beginning of the season when he was playing on the wing, he was very passive and playing on the perimeter, but since moving back to center, he’s been a constant net-front presence who is capable of working hard along the boards and battling for possession. A welcome sign indeed.
Another positive addition has been that of Derek Stepan. He’s ended up as the odd-man out a few times throughout the season, but he makes a difference when he’s in the lineup. In fact, whenever he ends up as a healthy scratch, he seems to always register a goal in his next game back.
And among the rest of the forward group and outside of the big names, guys like Jesper Fast, Steven Lorentz, Nino Niederreiter and Seth Jarvis are all providing steady streams of goal scoring when needed.
But the biggest boost to goal scoring has been the help that the backend has provided as of late. Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo have led the charge in that department, each adding to their totals with three points last night, but the play of Brady Skjei can’t be overstated either.
When nearly every player on your roster is getting involved in the goal scoring, you’re going to run a few teams out of the building.
Jaccob Slavin is the GOAT
As Rod Brind’Amour said after the game, we’re running out of ways to describe just how good Slavin is.
He comes out of COVID protocol, having missed the last few games and has a three-point night and plays the most minutes out of anybody on the team.
He’s on pace for the best offensive season of his career, he’s a human eraser who can clean up any mess that the Hurricanes find themselves in, he runs the second power lay unit, he kills penalties and he has the toughest defensive assignments every night.
He’s just so good.
The true motor and MVP of the team, Slavin is one of the best players in the league and it’s time he starts getting the buzz for some of the top hardware.
Frederik Andersen has reached the 20 wins mark, but he did it so fast that he put himself among some pretty exclusive company.
His 26 appearances is the fourth lowest amount among NHL goaltenders needed to reach the 20 win mark in a single season — the best being 23 appearances for 20 wins set by Tiny Thompson in 1929.
It can’t be overstated just how good Andersen has been for the Canes this year, with his goals against average (1.99) tied for third best in the league, his save percentage (0.930) is the sixth best in the league and according to MoneyPuck.com, his 19.1 goals saved above expected rank second in the entire league.
Without Andersen, the Canes would not be nearly as good as they are even despite the offensive outpouring they’ve gotten.
The team is stacked, but it might just be the goaltending position that helps push Carolina back into a deep playoff run.