From the 50-14 shot disparity, the lopsided special teams battle, the faceoff success and the goaltending performance, their wasn’t a lot to not like about Carolina’s game.
It was an especially promising sign for Antti Raanta, who suited up for his first game since he left midway through the last game against the Habs in March with an injury, as the Finnish netminder stopped 14 shots he faced.
It was Raanta’s fourth shutout of the season, tying his career best for a single season, and gives the Canes nine total shutouts on the year, the most in the NHL.
So while the goaltending has been a struggle as of late for the Hurricanes, it’s important to remember that it has also had really good moments, and Raanta keeps reminding us of that as he extended his franchise leading point streak to 16 games.
It was also a record defining game in terms of defensive scoring. With Brady Skjei’s first period blast, the Hurricanes blueline reached 52 goals on the season, the most ever in franchise history.
We’ve talked a lot about the need for depth scoring and it seems that the defense has taken on that mantle.
Also can we talk about the fact that Skjei has 17 goals on the season now. He’s had an amazing season and now sits tied for fourth in goals by defensemen.
The Hurricanes were also, naturally, really good at 5-on-5 too, which is a good sign considering that their were a few new lines rolled out.
With Teuvo Teravainen out again with illness, the Hurricanes shifted some things around with Jack Drury playing on the wing with Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast and Seth Jarvis playing with Paul Stastny and Derek Stepan.
And those two lines were some of Carolina’s best, generating long sustained shifts and the Stastny line contributing to two goals.
In fact, the Sebastian Aho line, with Martin Necas and Jordan Martinook, was the Canes’ worst. They were even in terms of chances given up and generated, both being the highest and lowest on the team respectively, and as such they had the second lowest even strength ice time on the team.
The Hurricanes really need someone to click with Aho up there.
The special teams showcase, however, was much better than it’s been.
The Canes scored on their first power play chance as Stefan Noesen found Sebastian Aho with an awesome pass and the penalty kill proceeded to kill off all three of Montreal’s man advantages.
While the power play has come and gone, the penalty kill has been a shining beacon of light for Carolina. It had a slow start to the season, but has since rocketed off to great success, with the Hurricanes having the second best kill in the league at 83.8%.
If you can’t always win the special teams battle, your best bet is to neutralize it and that’s what Carolina excels at.
They’ll continue to try and fend off the Devils as they play host to the New York Islanders tomorrow night at PNC Arena.