If the Carolina Hurricanes had left Detroit with zero points gained in the standings, it really wouldn’t have been a shock with the way the team played.
Instead, Antti Raanta put together a spectacular 37-save performance to claw a point out for his team.
It was a rare instance of Carolina being outworked, with only really a few players having strong games, but what seemed fairly common in the game was the defensive lapses.
The turnovers and blown coverages leading to odd-man rushes and breakaways.
Just simple mistakes that appear at much too high a frequency.
But the Canes aren’t going to have it every night and a seven-game point streak is nothing to scoff at. There was some bad, but there was also some good in last night’s match, so let’s take a look back at it.
Finns Having Fun
Despite the outcome, there was a lot to like from the Canes’ Finnish entourage.
Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho each extended their own personal point streaks to nine and seven games respectively and by connecting on the first goal of the game, they set a new franchise record for the most times registering a point on the same goal by two players – 172 times.
The Canes’ top line with Aho, Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov is rolling of late and was once again a dominant force against the Red Wings last night.
Although they didn’t connect at even-strength, they suffocated Detroit in its own zone and generated an amplitude of chances without giving up hardly anything.
It’s the way a top line should look.
Another promising performance was that of Antti Raanta.
The Finnish netminder turned aside 37 shots including seven high-danger chances, stoned at least five in-alone opportunities by the Wings and still saved 1.42 goals above expected according to MoneyPuck.com in spite of still seeing four goals go in.
He was one of the few Hurricanes that showed up for the full 60+ minute affair and the main reason why the Canes even salvaged a point out of the game.
Raanta’s performance bodes well for the future as Carolina is going to need both of its goalies in top form with the upcoming frequency of games on the schedule.
Second Line Slump
It had been the biggest reason for the Hurricanes’ emergence as a legitimate Stanley Cup threat.
A wealth of forward depth leading to being able to roll out two legitimate high-end scoring lines.
But while the Canes’ top line is kicking it into high-octane, it’s second line is floundering to find consistent success.
Rod Brind’Amour has tried to get his second line going with different looks and lineups, but so far the only piece that has had any kind of consistency is Vincent Trocheck.
Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis have spent the most time alongside Trocheck, yet neither has a goal in their last 15 games.
Brind’Amour has tried swapping those players around with Jordan Martinook or Steven Lorentz to try and spark something, but nobody has found success from that line other than Trocheck as of late.
It isn’t even that that line has been unlucky as they are seemingly routinely outchanced and hemmed in their own zone. Their play has been an outright detriment to the team at times.
The Staal line has been working well, which has helped to cover for the second line’s disappearance, but the Canes can’t hope to succeed in the postseason with that line playing poorly.
The second line was at its best when Trocheck was alongside Necas and Nino Niederreiter, so would Brind’Amour be willing to try that line again?
The Staal line could still be successful with Martinook or Lorentz in Niederreiter’s place as it’s a heavy forechecking line so the move would be one the Canes could afford.
And it might be one they really need.
Jalen Chatfield has been really impressive in his limited appearances with the Hurricanes.
It seems that he is always noticeable when he is on the ice. Being physically along the boards, showing good senses on a breakup or all of a sudden being the net-front guy in the offensive zone.
He has had a limited role in his appearances, but he is really making the most of them. It’s probably the reason why he was already extended by the team.
Although he probably won’t be this huge emerging piece, he has the promise to be a cheap and reliable third pair option for the future.
Another good sign has been Ethan Bear starting to return to form.
He had been a standout early in the season, but had seen his overall game decline after spending a while in COVID-19 protocol.
Now, however, he is elevating his game and filling in well on the top pair with Jaccob Slavin. His game is getting back to the level he was at near the start of the season and its a promising sign for the Hurricanes.