Not just one goal, not just two goals, not just three goals, not just…
The Canes were the better team in every area of the ice: six goals scored as compared to zero, outshot the Bruins 43-34, had two power play goals, were a perfect four for four on the penalty kill, and even had the edge in the faceoff dot.
It was a perfect rout and the perfect response to a disappointing two-game skid.
Let’s take a look at the brightest spots from last night:
I mean, what else can we say about this guy?
The obvious frontrunner for the MVP of the Hurricanes’ season, Andersen has been in the top-three of most goalie statistics for the entire season and is tied with Andrei Vasilevskiy for most wins this season after his 34-save shutout last night.
The Canes started the game in Boston very much on the wrong foot with back-to-back penalties called within the first five minutes and it was thanks to Andersen that Carolina got out of that sequence unscathed.
“The game could have been flipped [in the first four minutes],” said Rod Brind’Amour on Andersen’s performance. “If they had got a power play goal, the game could be way different. So that was a huge part of the game. He was great and we were able to settle down and get playing.”
Andersen made 10 high-danger saves and saved 2.71 goals above expected in a pretty heavy workload throughout the night with multiple saves on rebound opportunities and in-close jams.
It’s hard to believe with how well he’s played that this was only his second shutout of the season — the first being against Boston as well, a 33-save shutout win in October — but what matters is that he gets wins.
And very convincing wins at that.
Return of the Finns
Teuvo Teravainen had missed the last four games dealing with a lower-body injury, but with him back in the lineup last night, all seemed right in the world.
“It’s been a battle for me lately,” Teravainen said after the game. “But I’m starting to feel better, so that’s good. I want to play. It’s always tough to be out for a little while, but it’s good to be healthy now. The team played good, and it’s always nice to help. It’s way more easy for me to be on the ice and help the team than watch the games from upstairs. It’s good to be back.”
The Finnish winger didn’t seem to have missed a beat, registering the primary assist on the opening goal and then adding two more primary apples before the night was done.
He even passed up a wide-open look in the slot, so you know he’s back in proper form.
“He’d been out a long time with obviously no practices or anything, so that takes a special kind of player to do that,” Brind’Amour said. “He does a lot for us in every situation. He was real important for us tonight.”
Another player who Teravainen’s return seemed important for was his usual linemate, Sebastian Aho.
Aho picked up two goals last night, each assisted by Teravainen, to snap a five-game goal drought.
Any surprise there?
Hopefully Teravainen’s health continues to trend upward and he can stay in the lineup moving forward because he’s such a key part to the team’s overall success.
It happened. It finally happened.
After three-and-a-half months and 37 games, Jordan Staal scored another goal.
Last season had seen Staal put up a career best goal and point pace in Carolina and all seemed well for the 33-year old captain, but apparently that luck had come at a price.
Staal had been snakebitten for so long this season, generating chance after chance, from looks in alone in the low slot and odd-man rushes, but seemingly nothing more was going to go in.
It seemed like he was legitimately curse.
But props to Staal. He stuck with his game, never changing, and kept the same consistent game that the Canes depend on night in and night out.
“We’ve all been there where you can’t get one to go and obviously he was in one of those ruts, but you have to give him a lot of credit because his game didn’t really change,” Brind’Amour said on his captain. “His game was the same. Solid. Dealing with so many other things. He’s the leader of our group and the measure of his success is how well the team is doing. He was able to get one tonight, but look at how we played tonight. That was a direct reflection of our captain.”
While playing hard and reliably is important, scoring can give you a lot of personal relief, and above all else, it feels good.
“I feel like my game has gotten better lately,” Staal said after the game. “You start getting rewarded with some offense. It was a long time, obviously, not scoring, but we were winning a lot of hockey games. In this group there’s a lot of guys who can score goals, we’re just trying to play the right way and do the right things and win games. But it’s definitely nice to get one.”
While he’s not likely to go on a tear now, hopefully Staal can start chipping in ones here or there and not have to wait nearly half a season again to get another.