Originally posted on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 2/27/13
Last night was easily the worst game the Hurricanes played this season. It wasn't the first time they've been shutout this season but it's was the most dominated they have been at even strength since last season. Carolina's defensive play reached a new low last night by surrendering 23 scoring chances against to the Caps at even strength play alone. The Capitals only had three goals on the board, but they could have gotten at least five or six if it wasn't for the play of Cam Ward. Much of the criticism in this game was directed towards the Hurricanes offense or lack thereof and while that's fair, not having enough offense isn't the problem when your team gives up this many chances in one game. The reason why the Canes weren't creating much offense is because the Capitals had the puck in Carolina's zone 60% of the time. The Hurricanes have done a good job of winning the battle at even strength this year, but that hasn't been the case since this barrage of injuries occurred and they got the stuffing kicked out of them last night. I've criticized the team's effort and have been saying that injuries aren't an excuse, but I don't think a healthy roster lets this happen to them. Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals 2/27/13 Scoring Chances Period Total EV 5v4 5v3 4v5 3v5 1 6 11 5 9 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 3 10 2 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 5 5 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 Totals 15 26 12 23 1 1 0 0 2 2 0 0 The Hurricanes probably have enough forward depth to get by for a handful of games without Jeff Skinner and Tim Brent in the lineup but the injuries on defense are really hurting this team right now. Carolina wasn't a great defensive team to begin with and when you take out three guys who played in the top-four for most of the year, it puts a strain on the rest of the lineup. This is what happens when third-pairing guys like Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti are forced into top-four minutes and when you have to dress two more blue-liners who weren't even in the NHL at the beginning of the season, one of which was in juniors. It's easy to say that the team didn't have enough effort and that they should be able to get by with what they have now, but take one look at the roster right now and tell me whether or not it makes a suitable NHL defense corps. Not many will say yes. Carolina's defensive flaws were exposed last night and the Capitals took advantage of it in the first two periods. The Hurricanes were already playing from behind two goals in the third period, thus they ended up outchancing Washington while the Caps sat back in conservative mode. Even then they were still outchanced by eleven at even strength, which is brutal. Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances & Shot Attempts Corsi Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi SC For SC Against SC Diff Marc-Andre Gragnani D 7:53 6 12 -6 1 4 -3 Ryan Murphy D 18:05 19 17 2 3 7 -4 Kevin Westgarth R 7:14 5 8 -3 0 2 -2 Jordan Staal C 14:18 22 18 4 5 7 -2 Eric Staal C 16:42 14 23 -9 4 10 -6 Jiri Tlusty L 15:41 15 13 2 3 4 -1 Riley Nash C 14:27 16 16 0 3 8 -5 Zac Dalpe R 13:14 19 19 0 3 7 -4 Jeremy Welsh C 6:13 5 7 -2 0 1 -1 Bobby Sanguinetti D 17:52 23 24 -1 7 11 -4 Justin Faulk D 17:45 18 23 -5 2 9 -7 Alexander Semin R 16:26 14 21 -7 4 9 -5 Tim Wallace R 8:44 7 10 -3 0 1 -1 Jussi Jokinen L 13:04 21 20 1 7 10 -3 Patrick Dwyer R 12:53 19 12 7 5 4 1 Jay Harrison D 22:33 26 23 3 8 12 -4 Chad Larose R 14:32 14 19 -5 2 10 -8 Joe Corvo D 18:19 22 25 -3 3 4 -1 Best ES Forward: Patrick Dwyer +7 (Corsi), +1 (Scoring Chances) Worst ES Forwards: Eric Staal -7 (Corsi), Chad LaRose -8 (Scoring Chances) "Best" ES Defensemen: Jay Harrison +3 (Corsi), Joe Corvo -1 (Scoring Chances) Worst EV Defensemen: Marc-Andre Gragnani -6 (Corsi), Justin Faulk -7 (Scoring Chances) The first line got their teeth kicked in at even strenght last night and they took most of their damage while Chad LaRose was playing on that line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. It really didn't make much sense for Muller to keep LaRose there as long as they did because they weren't generating much offense while he was there and they got destroyed in their own end on top of that. Not that LaRose was the only problem with the first line since neither Staal or Semin were good, but it certainly didn't help keeping him there. The fact that this line created three of their chances when Tlusty was placed on there and gave up nine with LaRose speaks a lot about how much more of a fit Tlusty is. Notice how "Best ES Defensemen" is in quotations, the reason for that is because none of the blue-liners played well. Faulk has managed to come away a positive at even strength no matter how bad the rest of the team is but he was crushed last night in both shot attempts and scoring chances. Corvo also got pinned into his own end a lot despite not giving up many scoring chances while Harrison/Sanguinetti got lit up in their own end while creating a fair bit of offense. That's the problem with the defense right now, though. Faulk/Corvo are going to have their bad games, but they're also relying on Sanguinetti/Harrison to play nearly 20 minutes a night. They are usually the third pairing when everyone's healthy and they certainly did their job when it came to producing offense, but they also had to play tougher minutes and were lit up defensively as a result. The only reason Gragnani even played last night is because of injuries and the Hurricanes were getting hemmed into their own zone whenever he was on the ice. Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer were the only players who had a good games statistically and they were also the team's best offensive unit. Dwyer created at least two or three very good chances in the first period and Jordan Staal managed to drive the play forward well while the rest of the team took a beating. Just about everyone who spent time on this line ended up at least even in possession (Dalpe, Tlusty, Jokinen), so Staal & Dwyer were doing some good things even if they weren't translating into scoring chances. Staal still ended up being on-ice for more chances than he was creating, which is a problem but not as much as Eric Staal's line getting destroyed as badly as they did at even strength.  Capitals Even Strength Scoring Chances & Shot Attempts Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi SC For SC Against SC Diff Tom Poti D 16:17 18 23 -5 9 6 3 John Erskine D 19:22 30 15 15 10 3 7 Alex Ovechkin L 14:05 18 21 -3 5 4 1 Mike Ribeiro C 13:35 17 20 -3 5 4 1 Joey Crabb R 11:19 7 13 -6 1 4 -3 Eric Fehr R 13:03 21 14 7 9 2 7 Wojtek Wolski L 13:15 14 9 5 6 2 4 Nicklas Backstrom C 12:50 17 14 3 5 2 3 Troy Brouwer R 11:22 13 14 -1 5 2 3 Jason Chimera L 14:26 20 21 -1 7 5 2 Matt Hendricks C 11:17 9 14 -5 3 4 -1 Karl Alzner D 15:39 16 19 -3 5 3 2 Tomas Kundratek D 14:44 15 22 -7 7 6 1 Joel Ward R 13:43 22 8 14 10 1 9 Mike Green D 17:27 19 20 -1 6 4 2 John Carlson D 18:52 27 15 12 9 2 7 Jay Beagle C 12:47 12 17 -5 5 5 7 Mathieu Perreault C 11:59 16 6 10 8 1 0 Best ES Forward: Joel Ward +10 (Corsi), +9 (Scoring Chances) Worst ES Forward: Joey Crabb -6 (Corsi), -3 (Scoring Chances) Best ES Defensemen: John Erskine +15 (Corsi), +7 (Scoring Chances) Worst ES Defenseman: Tomas Kundratek -7 (Corsi), +1 (Scoring Chances) It's a shame that Joel Ward didn't convert on one of the many chances he created because he was on fire last night, as the Caps pretty much dominated territorially whenever he was on the ice. Nicklas Backstrom's line also had a fine game and I think John Erskine may have played the best game of his career. I actually thought the Hurricanes could take advantage of their matchup against him but he and John Carlson played on another level last night. Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five This speaks for itself. Carolina failed to win any of their matchups last night and let the Caps third line run all over their top line and first defense pairing. There are a lot of ugly things to point out last night but that may have been the worst. I can give the defense the pass because of personnel issues but the top-line is still healthy and there is no excuse for them letting this happen. Although, having LaRose there for most of the game instead of Tlusty did not help. Scoring Chance Report Period Team Time Player CAR OPP Strength 1 WSH 19:39 Backstrom 12 28 59 24 44 30 19 16 20 4 74 70 5v5 1 CAR 19:18 Dwyer 11 39 36 27 77 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 1 CAR 18:52 Dwyer 11 39 36 27 77 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 1 WSH 18:15 Wolski 19 20 22 5 7 30 85 42 17 3 36 70 5v5 1 WSH 18:11 Perreault 19 20 22 5 7 30 85 42 17 3 36 70 5v5 1 CAR 17:05 Semin 12 28 24 77 30   9 19 20 8 52 70 4v5 1 WSH 13:46 Fehr 12 28 59 24 44 30 19 16 20 4 74 70 5v5 1 WSH 13:15 Chimera 11 39 36 27 77 30 9 8 25 3 4 70 5v5 1 WSH 12:39 Backstrom - GOAL 11 39 27 44 30   9 19 20 8 52 70 4v5 1 CAR 11:07 LaRose 12 28 59 24 44 30 83 15 17 4 52 70 5v5 1 CAR 6:54 Dwyer 20 39 36 24 44 30 26 83 15 3 36 70 5v5 1 CAR 6:53 Jokinen 20 39 36 5 7 30 26 83 15 3 36 70 5v5 1 WSH 6:00 Brouwer 12 19 28 59 27 30 19 20 4 74 70   5v4 1 WSH 4:02 Beagle 11 20 36 7 44 30 83 16 25 3 36 70 5v5 1 WSH 3:54 Fehr 11 20 36 7 44 30 83 16 25 3 36 70 5v5 1 WSH 0:37 Ward 12 28 59 27 77 30 26 83 42 4 74 70 5v5 1 WSH 0:09 Beagle 12 28 59 27 77 30 26 83 42 4 74 70 5v5 2 WSH 19:30 Erskine - GOAL 12 28 59 24 44 30 19 16 20 4 74 70 5v5 2 WSH 17:42 Ward 12 8 59 24 44 30 85 42 17 3 52 70 5v5 2 WSH 16:31 Carlson 12 28 59 5 7 30 26 83 15 3 36 70 5v5 2 WSH 15:31 Brouwer 11 39 36 5 7 30 19 16 20 3 36 70 5v5 2 WSH 14:20 Chimera 19 20 22 24 7 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 2 WSH 13:56 Ward 12 28 59 24 44 30 85 42 17 4 74 70 5v5 2 WSH 11:03 Ward 12 28 59 27 77 30 85 42 17 4 74 70 5v5 2 WSH 9:42 Fehr 23 8 29 24 44 30 19 16 20 27 52 70 5v5 2 WSH 7:21 Perreault 20 39 36 27 77 30 85 42 17 3 36 70 5v5 2 CAR 4:55 J. Staal 11 22 36 24 44 30 83 8 25 3 36 70 5v5 2 CAR 4:31 J. Staal 11 22 36 24 44 30 9 8 25 3 36 70 5v5 2 WSH 4:13 Ovechkin 11 39 36 24 44 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 2 CAR 0:38 J. Staal 11 12 19 28 27 30 83 42 3 36 70   5v4 3 CAR 18:40 E. Staal 12 19 28 24 44 30 9 26 25 3 36 70 5v5 3 CAR 16:21 Semin 12 19 28 24 44 30 85 42 17 27 52 70 5v5 3 CAR 14:36 LaRose 20 39 59 7 44 30 19 16 20 3 36 70 5v5 3 WSH 12:39 Chimera 11 22 36 24 27 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 3 WSH 12:38 Chimera 11 22 36 24 27 30 9 8 25 27 52 70 5v5 3 WSH 10:27 Ward 11 39 27 44 30   9 85 42 8 52 70 4v5 3 CAR 10:00 E. Staal 12 28 24 77 30   85 16 42 4 74 70 4v5 3 WSH 8:34 Perreault 20 22 36 27 44 30 85 16 42 4 74 70 5v5 3 WSH 8:32 Carlson - GOAL 20 22 36 27 44 30 85 16 42 4 74 70 5v5 3 CAR 8:09 Dalpe 11 22 36 7 24 30 26 83 15 4 74 70 5v5 3 CAR 2:06 Tlusty 12 19 28 44 77 30 19 16 20 4 74 70 5v5  
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