I’m going to be straight up honest here. There’s very little to analyze about the game last night. It was a meeting between two teams from a completely different weight class, and the Hurricanes were in control from the moment the puck dropped.
There was not a single second in that game where it appeared that Montreal could do anything to change the eventual outcome. Just a total cruise from start to finish, and the Canes didn’t even look as if they broke much of a sweat.
But, as needs to be done, let’s take a look at some of the storylines from the game and talk about last night:
- A move into the top-six was clearly exactly what the doctor ordered for Max Domi, as he had far and away his best game in a Canes jersey. He showed that he’s more than capable of playing with skilled line mates, and fit in flawlessly alongside Trocheck and Svechnikov. He played with real tenacity, and had a ton of success along the boards. His vision was on full display as well, as his passes cut through the Montreal defense at will. It was an inspiring performance and a good building block as he continues to settle into the Canes’ system.
- I mean, what a performance by Andrei Svechnikov. On his first goal, he completely punked David Savard - who’s become well known as a rugged, stay-at-home defender. Savard tried to get physical with Svech, and then Svech turned the tables on him and bullied him in front of the net to tap in Jaccob Slavin’s centering pass.
It was the exact type of play that he’s long been billed for, and it’s a testament to the overall development and progression of his game as a power forward. Historically, a lot of these power forward-type players have taken longer to develop and find their groove, which is naturally expected as they fill out their frames and learn to use their size and leveraging against grown men. Svechnikov is really starting to do that consistently, and it shows. He also just turned 22. He’s far from a finished product in that area, and I really think he’s just scratching the surface. He’s going to be an absolute terror to contain in his prime — and we’re already seeing regular glimpses of that.
Just watch this.
Not gonna lie - we've watched this 29 times and still don't know who scored.— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 31, 2022
Luckily it counts either way! pic.twitter.com/SpaF4cN5kZ
I mean, he literally boxed out the defender. He did Savard’s job. It’s a goal that I could just watch over and over.
“He’s going to the areas he’s got to go to to score,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “That’s part of it. It’s less now with the cross checks and things, but you’ve got to have a little courage to get in there. Obviously he doesn’t lack for that.”
- Frederik Andersen added another stellar performance to his Vezina-level season, putting together his fourth shutout of the season. He made 32 saves in the effort, shutting down a very vanilla Habs team. He’s now got a 33-10-3 record with a 2.00 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a .929 save percentage.
“I think we did a good job of avoiding taking penalties until in the third,” Andersen said. “Did a hell of a job keeping them from entering the zone for the most part. I think we wanted to play a complete game and we did that.”
- I mean, it’s just nitpicking to write about anything bad from that game, but the third period was not necessarily a stellar effort from the Canes. It’s totally understandable that they kind of let their foot off the gas a bit — the result of the game was never in doubt. But you know, it’s a long season and you don’t want the team to burn out.
- I’ll also put the Canes’ 5-on-3 powerplay in the second period on the naughty list. I mean, for a team that has so much talent, it’s almost hilarious how bad they can look in two-man advantage situations. They just try to be too perfect.
“5-on-3, there’s room to improve there,” said Tony DeAngelo. “I think sometimes on the 5-on-3 you tend to get set in structure and looking for a perfect play. If you’ve got five really good guys who can play hockey, in my opinion maybe just play a little more hockey, find the open lane and get the puck to the net. You’re outnumbering them by two, so if you get the puck to the net you should have something, whether it’s a rebound or whatever. We don’t need to look for the perfect play.”
Next up for the Canes is a 7 p.m. home game on Saturday night against the in-form Minnesota Wild. They’re riding an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) and have their playoff spot almost all but assured. It should be an extremely exciting match-up between two strong teams, and will give the Canes a taste of facing a Western Conference playoff opponent.