Found January 04, 2012 on Shutdown Line:

One of the biggest problem with the Hurricanes under Kirk Muller (among many other things) is that most of their wins have come by only one goal or have been decided in overtime. This is a bad thing because one-goal and overtime wins are more of an indication of luck than team skill and will likely not sustain in the long-run. Three of Carolina's last four wins have been by one goal and two of them were in overtime and they had a chance to win another last night against the Islanders but instead, they lost 4-3 in the shootout. The Canes have been poor in OT and the shootout this year (3-7), so you could also make the argument that they haven't been getting lucky in close games which is completely accurate but that's just how luck works. It would be a lot better if the Canes could learn to finish their opponents early in games so they won't be decided by luck-driven factors like overtime and the shootout. They had a couple opportunities to put away the Islanders last night but, just as we've seen many times this year, they let them hang around and tie the game multiple times and took home only one out of two points in the standings.

Aside from that, Carolina had a strong overall effort against the Isles but penalties and defensive lapses got them into trouble and that is why they are now sitting alone at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

More details after the jump

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders 12/3/12 Scoring Chances

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH 1 6 5 4 3 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 5 2 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 6 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 2 3 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Totals 18 16 16 13 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0

Carolina's chances are in red, New York's are in white

The second period was the opportunity for the Canes to pull away as they got the benefit of a fluky goal courtesy of Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov turning the puck over behind the net. The Islanders went nearly 10 minutes without a shot on goal in the second period and the Canes didn't exactly do a great job at taking advantage of that. When a team goes through a dry spell like that, you want to go no mercy on them, forecheck them hard and get pucks on net in any way but the Canes didn't do that. Instead, they just sent the puck in deep and had a few chances but not nearly as many as they could have. An early third period penatly and one bad rebound off the glass later, the Isles managed to tie the game up and Carolina is right back where they started. The same instance happened towards the end of the third after Chad LaRose made it a 3-2 game with less than five minutes left and the Hurricanes could not put things away despite that. The Islanders might be one of the worst teams in the league but they possess one of the game's emerging stars in John Tavares and he started an amazing shift with less than two minutes left that ended with him passing puck to Kyle Okposo at the side of the net to tie the game for New York. Kirk Muller is dead on when he says that this team lacks "killer instinct" because they didn't show any signs of it tonight and it's the reason why they didn't earn the two points. Sure, things could have gone differently in the shootout but the game would not have even needed overtime if Carolina did a better job at protecting their lead. This was a good effort that was wasted.

Individual Scoring Chances

# Player EV PP SH 4 Jamie McBain
22:00 3 4 0:36 1 0 1:09 0 2 5 Bryan Allen
19:20 5 5 0:00 0 0 0:15 0 1 6 Tim Gleason 24:27 5 5 0:00 0 0 0:47 0 1 8 Jaroslav Spacek
18:47 5 4 1:24 1 0 0:00 0 0 12 Eric Staal
22:17 5 3 1:24 1 0 1:24 0 3 13 Anthony Stewart 6:22 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 14 Andreas Nodl
15:27 3 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 15 Tuomo Ruutu
14:09 4 1 0:36 1 0 0:00 0 0 16 Brandon Sutter
15:13 7 6 0:00 0 0 1:24 0 3 19 Jiri Tlusty
7:22 1 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 21 Drayson Bowman
17:20 5 5 1:24 1 0 0:00 0 0 22 Zac Dalpe
17:49 3 3 1:24 1 0 0:00 0 0 23 Alexei Ponikarovsky
17:18 6 2 0:36 1 0 0:00 0 0 28 Justin Faulk
19:09 7 4 1:24 1 0 0:00 0 0 30 Cam Ward
61:36 16 13 2:00 2 0 1:24 0 3 36 Jussi Jokinen
19:44 4 3 0:36 1 0 0:00 0 0 37 Tim Brent
6:30 1 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 44 Jay Harrison
19:29 7 4 0:36 1 0 0:37 0 2 59 Chad LaRose
20:17 6 8 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0

Best EV Forward: Alexei Ponikarovsky +4

Worst EV Forward: Chad LaRose -2

Best EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison +3

Worst EV Defenseman: Jamie McBain -1

Andreas Nodl is now getting an audition on the first line and he put together a respectful performance but not something you would typically want to see from a first liner. We will need more than one game to decide if Nodl is right (although his offensive skill-set isn't the best) but the puck exploded off of his stick whenever he touched it and he seemed to be trying to create too much on the first line and that kind of hindered things. Like I said, it's going to take more than one game to decide if he's going to work on the first line or not but I'm not exactly on board with the idea. Zac Dalpe didn't have that good of a game either and it is making me wonder if we will see him back for Friday's game after his emergency recall to Charlotte. Eric Staal was the best player on that line, as he should be, but he was held off the scoresheet despite having five shots on goal and outchancing his opponents again.

Alexei Ponikarovsky can not buy a goal lately, can he? He hasn't scored in nine games and has 12 shots on goal in his last three alone. He was also one of the team's best forwards last night and had at least two golden chances that were turned down. This can not last forever. The rest of that line was pretty solid as well with Tuomo Ruutu having another strong game.

Jay Harrison and Justin Faulk did their part in keeping the Tavares line quiet at even strength (keyword) and their one big slip-up came at the worst time with Faulk not picking up Kyle Okposo on the game-tying goal. Very, very unfortunate mistake that put a black mark on an otherwise solid night for these two. The other defensive unit (LaRose-Sutter-Bowman) gave up way more than they should have at even strength but they also did their part offensively so it wasn't a bad night for them. Sutter and Bowman did exactly what they were supposed to do on the second goal which was to crash the net and take advantage of a miscue by the goaltender. Sometimes good bounces happen.

Shooting percentage is something I often talk about on here and Anthony Stewart might be leading the team in that cateory now as he scored his sixth goal of the season off a deflection. That was his only scoring chance of the game and he generally doesn't get many shots on goal but he's scored on 20% of them. Sure, that kind of percentage is going to plummet back down to earth soon enough but let's enjoy it while it lasts and hey, he was a +4 in corsi too! As small as it is, he has been on a bit of a rise lately. 

Spacek, Gleason, Allen, Brent and Tlusty all had uneventful games. I do wonder if Tlusty will go to the fourth line on Friday against Buffalo because he was only given one shift in the third period.

Head-to-head at five-on-five

Sutter, LaRose and Bowman did a fine job against the Islanders top line at even strength and so did Faulk and Harrison. Staal's line did most of their work against the Islanders weaker defense pairings...who Jack Capuano assigned against them the most. It is odd that was the case because Mark Streit and Steve Staios were able to beat out everyone the Canes assigned against them.

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