When you do everything right in a game and yet the results don’t go your way, you can usually brush that loss aside and move on to the next.
But when those losses start to pile up, where despite it all the wins won’t come, it would be easy to stray from what your supposed to be doing.
“Part of you wants to kind of stray from it,” said forward Seth Jarvis who snapped a 11-game scoring drought Saturday evening. “But [Brind’Amour] preaches it every day. The reason we win is because we stay consistent and play the same way. When it works, you can see that we dominate teams and have had really good success with it. When we start going off page is when we start to fall apart and go on those five-game slides.”
The team had lost four times in overtime during that stretch and had only scored three even strength goals.
“I feel like we’ve been playing okay and we had chances to win those games, it just hadn’t been bouncing our way,” said netminder Antti Raanta.
It was a game where guys could have easily started playing on their own accords and ignoring their systems because the results were just not there.
But the game with the Flames showed a team resilient in its ways and determined to get things right.
“We trust in our system,” said defenseman Brett Pesce, who scored the game winner. “It’s worked for four years now since [Brind’Amour’s] been the coach. We know what we’re capable of. Everyone goes through adversity in the season and the biggest thing is sticking to our game plan. We continued to do that, but today we got the bounces.”
It was also a big game for a few guys that were looking to bring a little more to the table. The biggest of them was Jarvis.
After a phenomenal second half of the season and postseason last year, Jarvis had a slow start to this season, but tonight was the best game he’s had in a while.
Moved back up to the top line with Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas, Jarvis was noticeable from the jump and he was rewarded for his hard work with a goal, helped along a bit by Brent Burns.
Burns jumped into the zone, retrieving a Flames turnover, cut across the zone and tossed it straight to Jarvis on the backdoor where the young forward elevated it over Calgary netminder Dan Vladar’s pad.
It was also a big relief goal for the team, snapping a 239:14 even-strength goal drought for the Canes — their last coming in the first period against the Minnesota Wild five games prior.
Goals had been hard to come by recently, and when the team is struggling to score, netminders can try to do too much too.
“Usually when you start playing harder, you start making mistakes,” Raanta said. “You just try to calm yourself down and focus on your own thing and trust that the guys will score when they get the chances.”
Luckily for Raanta, Carolina managed to find a few more goals.
And it was the power play making mark not just once, but twice, scoring multiple times in back-to-back games.
Before the game in Boston, the power play had been struggling.
Whether it was just poor outings or terrible puck luck, it just wasn’t a strength for Carolina.
But tonight, it was a difference maker.
“The power play tonight was the reason we won,” Jarvis said.
The first power play goal came off a set play where Stefen Noesen pulled the defense in to him at the goal line, creating a lane, and then his no-look pass to Necas on the flank let the magic happen.
The second goal was another example of a great pass, but unlike Noesen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi had to react on the fly to collect a deflected pass and then make a quick, heads up play to Pesce sneaking in from the point.
The Canes did what they needed to do to win and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the longest road trip of the season looming.
“We’ve got a tough schedule ahead of us,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Not like it hasn’t already been, because it feels like it’s been tough already. But now we’re going on the road for six games and we haven’t really gotten into a rhythm at home. I think that’s part of the issue for me. Just doesn’t really feel like we’ve been able to relax in between games and get a rhythm going. Hopefully we can get through this stretch.”
The Hurricanes will start the road trip off with a visit to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.