The Carolina Hurricanes dominated their preseason opener in convincing fashion as the vastly more experienced Canes lineup won 5-1 Tuesday night at PNC Arena.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning starting seven NHL regulars as opposed to the Hurricanes’ 13, it was a game destined to be as lopsided as it was.
Here are some of the highlights from the first preseason game of the season.
- Three power play goals? In this economy?
Go out and buy a Powerball because the Canes’ power play is clicking. Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves because again, it was the preseason against an inexperienced lineup, but it’s promising to see at least some early chemistry come together.
Andrei Svechnikov, Paul Stastny and Malte Stromwall all tallied power play goals with Dylan Coghlan being the pointman and apple giver for all three. The Hurricanes’ top guys looked comfortable and confident and there is really nothing better than that.
- Third Pair success.
On top of being offensively successful, Coghlan had a good game in his own zone as well with five blocks and a little goaltender action in the third period.
He is making a convincing case to earn a coveted spot on the Hurricanes’ third defensive pair and he may even boost himself into the second power play quarterback.
Jalen Chatfield looks good so far, and what was the most noticeable about him was his skating. He is a deceptively fast skater popping up all of a sudden in offensive zone rushes and able to close the gap on attackers with ease.
His instincts along with his skating ability could make him an NHL regular this season.
- Second line looks fun.
The line of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Svechnikov and Martin Necas is a line on paper that should make many Hurricanes fans salivate.
A blend of size, speed and skill that is hard to rival, the line did well in the game, generating chances and winning a ton of puck battles. It’s a promising look for an area the Canes need to find success with to go deep this season.
- No rust for Frederik Andersen
If there was any concern about Andersen’s health coming into the contest, those were put aside as the Danish netminder was his calm and collected self. He was good in desperation and moved around the crease well and the only shot that beat him was a second-chance rebound from a netfront Lightning that was unchecked.
If things continue as it did, it should be another good year for the Hurricanes in net, but again it was the first preseason game so who really knows.
On what he as a coach can glean from the preseason: I think it’s a little different now. The players I know, I’m less concerned about and it’s just making sure the new people that are coming in are doing it the right way. And then with the guys we do know, making sure we aren’t picking up bad habits or doing things differently. We want to make sure that at the end of this preseason, we’re all on the same page moving forward.
On Frederik Andersen shaking off the rust: There was probably a lot of rust there. It’s a confidence builder for the players to shake it off a little and get a little bit of game speed. Obviously it will ramp up as it goes along. But just a good first step.
On getting special teams looks in preseason: We’re going to really preach this year staying out of the box as best we can. We’ve tried that in the past years, but I haven’t really been successful. We have to stay out of the box and then if we can draw penalties that’s great. The power play is going to be interesting because we have a lot of good players that can play it and it’s just about finding the right mix. It’s going to be always evolving, but we’re going to have a lot of good options.
On setting a high-bar for himself: I hope not, but it was good. I do feel like I have a lot more to offer. I know it was just the first preseason game, but we put more of a veteran lineup in and it was great to get that chemistry with these guys and know how they play.
On playing both PP and PK: I always knew since I got traded that I was going to have an opportunity to play on the power play and it’s been something that I’ve taken pride in for quite some time. Penalty kill I haven’t had much experience in, especially in the NHL, but I always played on it in juniors and the AHL so anytime I can get out there and help the team in any way, it’s great.
On getting the first game out of the way: We’ve been practicing enough. You always want to get that first game out of the way. Just new systems, different linemates, different coaches. Everything’s a little different, but the system is very simple. After a couple of shifts, I felt like I was in midseason form. The way we play is just a very simple-minded game and everyone feeds off of each other.
On playing for the Hurricanes: They are super aggressive, they come after you wave after wave. Whether it’s the forecheck or the D being aggressive. I like that style and I felt like in the past when I played against these guys, it’s always been the same thing where it felt like it was a close game and then as it goes on, they just break you down. I think tonight was kind of a thing I’ve seen over and over with these guys where you feel like you’re playing good, the score’s 0-0 and then eventually you’re going to make the other team crack.