After dominating the play from the jump, the Canes got the scoring started in the second period with goals from Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen, with Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck getting in on the fun early in the third.
Frederik Andersen only had to make 19 saves Friday night, but he made them all in his third shutout win of the season.
Some thoughts on a thoroughly impressive win:
Sometimes you win a hockey game.
Sometimes you absolutely suck all life out of your opponent.
The latter is what the Canes did Friday night against Columbus, as Carolina was locked in for a full 60 minutes in a fantastic win.
- The Hurricanes outshot the Blue Jackets 50-19
- The Hurricanes out-chanced the Blue Jackets 38-20
- The Hurricanes held a 17-8 advantage in high-danger scoring chances
- The Hurricanes held a 74-35 advantage in CF, a staggering 67.89 CF%
- The Hurricanes held a 5.36-1.96 advantage in xG
- And, most importantly, the Hurricanes outscored the Blue Jackets 4-0
It was a comprehensive, overwhelming beat down for the Hurricanes, who did pretty much everything right.
The 5-on-5 play was spectacular, a 65.56 CF% and 59.57 SCF% during even-strength play (with a 3-0 advantage in goals scored). The power play, while just 1 for 4, moved the puck well and created tons of danger, with 10 scoring chances for and a 93.33 CF% during 6:03 of the man advantage.
And the penalty kill, as it has been all season, was unbelievable. Columbus went 0 for 4 on the power play, mustering just one (!!!) scoring chance over eight (!!!) minutes of the man advantage.
Everything, and I mean everything, was firing on all cylinders for the Canes on Friday.
“I would say it was probably the best two, probably three periods we have played this year,” Niederreiter said. “We stuck to our game plan. We knew what we had to do to be successful, and I think you could see it through the whole lineup how successful we were.”
Sticking with it and piling on
But despite all of that success across the board for the Canes, it did still take a while for Carolina to break through on the scoresheet.
The Canes entered the first intermission with the game still tied at 0-0, despite a 16-3 advantage in shots and a 13-3 advantage in scoring chances for (with six of those high-danger).
But Carolina didn’t get frustrated, instead sticking with what was working. It paid off in the second period as Staal scored a goal that much resembled the first half of the game itself, sticking with a puck and eventually getting it past Jean-Francois Berube.
This is what determination looks like pic.twitter.com/hkTbxxV4fF— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 26, 2022
“Yeah, the fifth time is the charm, I guess,” Staal said. “That’s a turnover there, and I kind of jumped on an opening there. I just kept trying to jam it in there, and luckily it went in.”
The Canes have long preached just playing their game and the results will come, and that’s exactly what happened Friday.
After what could have been a frustrating first 30 minutes or so, the Canes certainly could have started trying to get too cute or force things.
But, they didn’t, and the floodgates opened up. Teravainen scored very quickly on a power play later in the second, Niederreiter banked one in off Berube early in the third and Trocheck camped in the slot to make it 4-0 shortly after that.
“Throughout the season we’ve been up and down,” Niederreiter said. “Sometimes we’ve shot a lot at net, and then some games we didn’t. At the end of the day, we know that’s the key to success, and it kind of showed again tonight. The more shots we get, the more opportunities we’re going to get and goals we’re going to score.”
So, what exactly does a goalie do in a game where he sees just 19 shots while the team on the ice in front of him peppers 50 on the opposing netminder?
In a game where it certainly would have been understandable for Andersen to lose his focus, he just didn’t.
Andersen, who has been incredible all season long, was locked in for the full 60 minutes, making a great save late in the game after a big long stretch of seeing practically nothing.
Freddie must do yoga pic.twitter.com/XOHkvN5XBn— Bally Sports: Canes (@CanesOnBally) February 26, 2022
“It’s a challenge, obviously,” Andersen said. “It’s still a 60-minute game. You’ve got to focus for every second of it. I’m not trying to play too aggressive when there is a chance. That’s the balance of just trying to stay in it and stick with the process.”
Regardless of how the team has been playing in front of him, Andersen has been the same this year. He’s been Carolina’s most important player, and it’s something the fans, who showered him with “FREDDIE. FREDDIE.” chants Friday, and his teammates are appreciative of.
“He’s been a rock back there,” Staal said. “No matter what game gets thrown at him back there, he’s just steady. He’s comfortable. He makes everyone on our bench and on the ice feel comfortable. There’s no question that he’s been our MVP this year.”