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About Last Night: Even Strength no longer seeming like a strength

The Carolina Hurricanes failed to hold off the Boston Bruins despite an early lead, falling 3-2 in overtime Friday afternoon at TD Gardens.

Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes held the lead after a strong first period.

They had a poor second and couldn’t close.

Then they lost in overtime after getting into penalty trouble.

Deja vu, huh?

The Canes have been playing out the same formula for a bit now and shockingly the results have been much the same.

AKA: not good.

It’s now five games in a row without a win and Carolina has lost eight of its last 10 games.

The team is spiraling and it’s no longer just the special teams floundering. The Hurricanes have gone the last 232:54 of game time without an even strength goal. That’s nearly four full games. That’s really, really not good.

The Hurricanes are generating shots, but the way they generate isn’t working with the team. The Canes run the offense from the blueline generating from high to low, but once that puck gets down there, they virtually never get those rebound or second chances. The lack of net front traffic means these point shots are just wastes of possessions and the amount of shots Carolina gets is just a façade of empty calorie offense.

A chart showcasing the Hurricanes’ finishing ability for 2022-23.
Carolina Hurricanes 2022-23 finishing.

If the Hurricanes want to be successful with their system, then they need to get to the hard areas with more frequency and effort. Either that or work on the transition game.

Currently, the Canes are one of the bottom teams in terms of controlled zone entries as they employ a dump and retrieve entry style. This essentially eliminates most opportunities for scoring off the rush and leaves Carolina only able to play that high to low blueline offense which the players aren’t complementing.

Is it a finishing issue or a style issue? Whatever the reason, it needs to be addressed.

Luckily for the Hurricanes, they have at least been able to bank points thanks to heroics of the team’s top players and the emergence of Pyotr Kochetkov as a legitimate goaltender.

Kochetkov saved 1.67 goals above expected yesterday afternoon according to, essentially keeping Carolina on life support long enough to get the point.

Currently Kochetkov is stopping 1.065 goals above expected per 60 minutes, which ranks among the top goaltenders in the league. So he’s been awesome.

Heatmap of the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins game on 11/25/22.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins Even-Strength shooting heatmap.

And maybe now that the Canes’ power play actually scored some goals. Stefan Noesen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi both scored from in close on second chances (imagine that) to make the power play finally look like it had life.

The penalty kill has been coming along more and more at least. It was nearly perfect yesterday and you can’t really blame it as a reason for the loss after they killed five straight, including already killing one earlier in OT.

So now special teams are building up while even strength, the usual strength of Carolina, is falling down. Because of course.

It’s going to take a total team effort to get back on track because the Hurricanes need every aspect of their game going if they want to be successful this season.