Originally written on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 11/3/14
Don't look now but the Hurricanes have outchanced their opponents in each of their first three games this year and they managed to do it last night without the "aid" of score effects, as they were playing with the score tied or with a lead for most of the contest. Yesterday's game was easily Carolina's most impressive performance in this still very young season. Not only did they get the win, they also recorded a season-high 22 scoring chances and outplayed Buffalo in all three areas. They didn't completely mow the Sabres over at even strength (chances were only 15-13 during 5v5 play) but they more than made up for it on special teams by completely shutting down the Sabres powerplay. Losing the special teams battle was one of the main problems for the Hurricanes in their first two games and they did a great job of improving on it against Buffalo. Scoring chance breakdown coming after the jump. Sabres at Hurricanes 1/24/13 Carolina's chances are in red, Buffalo's are in white Period Total EV 5v4 4v5 5v3 3v5 1 4 2 3 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 12 6 8 4 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 3 6 7 4 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Total 22 15 15 13 4 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 Things were pretty tight at even strength thanks to a third period comeback effort by the Sabres, but Carolina pulled away in the chance department because of their great work on special teams. They created more chances shorthanded than the Sabres did on the powerplay and added on four powerplay chances on top of that. The only special teams marker they had was Justin Faulk's shorthanded goal in the second period but their effort on both units was very strong. This was a pretty fun game to watch because while the first period was relatively conservative and defense-oriented, all hell broke loose in the second. The Hurricanes had an offensive explosion with 21 shots, 12 scoring chances and four goals on top of that. The team was playing a much more aggressive style then and it definitely worked in their favor as they look a lot more comfortable playing a more open style instead of just sitting back and being "safe" and conservative. That's actually what resulted in Buffalo getting a slight offensive outburst in the third period. This team is going to give up their share of chances, but it may not be as big of a problem if they outscore and outplay their opponents like they did last night. Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances # Player 5v5 PP SH 4 Jamie McBain 15:00 7 7 2:35 2 0 0:31 1 0 6 Tim Gleason 10:49 4 5 0:00 0 0 7:16 0 2 8 Kevin Westgarth 1:57 0 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 11 Jordan Staal 12:20 6 6 3:44 1 0 2:51 1 1 12 Eric Staal 13:34 6 6 4:58 2 0 2:28 1 0 19 Jiri Tlusty 14:04 7 3 3:26 2 0 3:28 1 1 21 Drayson Bowman 11:33 1 5 0:00 0 0 3:02 1 0 22 Zac Dalpe 8:05 5 3 0:35 1 0 0:00 0 0 24 Bobby Sanguinetti 13:04 2 1 0:27 0 0 0:00 0 0 25 Joni Pitkanen 15:20 7 7 5:37 1 0 4:02 2 0 27 Justin Faulk  12:53 5 6 2:43 2 0 7:15 1 2 28 Alexander Semin 15:08 8 4 5:27 2 0 0:01 0 0 30 Cam Ward 40:24 15 13 7:42 4 0 11:42 3 2 36 Jussi Jokinen 10:34 2 3 2:16 2 0 3:57 1 1 37 Tim Brent 4:03 0 0 0:17 0 0 2:49 0 1 39 Patrick Dwyer 5:28 0 1 0:08 0 0 3:43 1 0 44 Jay Harrison 14:05 3 0 0:00 0 0 4:20 2 0 53 Jeff Skinner 13:46 6 5 4:17 2 0 0:17 0 0 59 Chad LaRose 11:01 1 3 2:00 1 0 0:48 0 0 Best EV Forwards: Jiri Tlusty & Alexander Semin +4 Worst EV Forward: Drayson Bowman -4 Best EV Defenseman: Jay Harrison +3 Worst EV Defensemen: Tim Gleason & Justin Faulk The first line of Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin was on fire last night, creating roughly half of Carolina's even strength scoring chances and producing three goals. All of which came off the captain's stick. E. Staal spent a good amount of time with some different linemates, which is why he came away even in chance differential, but these three were a force when they were together. Semin didn't record any points last night but he definitely made an impact on this line and he will get his first of the year very, very soon. At even strength, Jordan Staal didn't have his best defensive game as he gave up a lot to the Pominville-Hodgson-Vanek line but he managed to produce enough offense to break even at 5v5 play. The penalty kill is where J. Staal did his best work, though. He recorded an assist on Faulk's shorthanded goal and allowed only one chance to the Sabres strong powerplay. It's only three games into the year but Jordan has looked very strong for the Hurricanes thus far. The reunion of Joni Pitkanen and Jamie McBain went about as well as I thought it would. They were very good in terms of producing offense but they also gave up quite a few chances in their own end, as well. They weren't on-ice for any goals and Pitkanen ended up being a +4, but they probably won't be so lucky in future games. Both players did record primary assists, though and Pitkanen did some solid work on the PK on top of that.  Tim Gleason and Justin Faulk also surrendered quite a few chances and came out on the negative end of the scoring chance spectrum for the first time this season. The Vanek line managed to get to these two a lot and they ended up being on-ice for all three goals against. They also played fewer minutes than they are normally accustomed to but I'm guessing this is due to the high number of powerplays. Still, this is far from the worst outing by a Carolina shutdown defense pair in recent seasons. Sabres Individual Scoring Chances # Player 5v5 PP SH 1 Jhonas Enroth 40:31 13 15 11:42 2 3 7:42 0 4 3 Jordan leopold 14:47 2 4 3:53 0 2 2:38 0 2 9 Steve Ott 11:52 1 3 3:49 1 1 3:32 0 2 10 Christian Ehrhoff 15:03 10 6 7:59 2 2 2:15 0 0 19 Cody Hogdson 10:45 5 6 6:35 2 2 1:33 0 0 21 Drew Stafford 12:00 5 4 4:55 0 1 3:54 0 1 24 Robyn Regehr 10:08 1 4 0:00 0 0 3:24 0 2 25 Mikhail Grigorenko 9:12 2 3 2:35 0 1 0:00 0 0 26 Thomas Vanek 11:19 5 5 7:26 2 2 0:00 0 0 29 Jason Pominville 11:27 5 7 7:16 2 2 1:33 0 0 32 John Scott 4:45 1 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 36 Patrick Kaleta 8:02 2 0 0:12 0 0 2:15 0 2 42 Nathan Gerbe 10:01 1 4 0:05 0 0 0:00 0 0 44 Andrej Sekera 12:37 2 5 0:00 0 1 2:43 0 2 52 Alexander Sulzer 13:43 8 6 0:00 0 0 1:32 0 1 55 Jochen Hecht 9:35 1 0 0:05 0 0 2:37 0 2 57 Tyler Myers 15:10 2 4 4:16 0 1 2:52 0 1 63 Tyler Ennis 10:49 5 5 6:58 1 2 0:00 0 0 82 Marcus Foligno 11:32 7 4 2:26 0 0 0:00 0 0 Best EV Forward: Marcus Foligno +3 Worst EV Forward: Nathan Gerbe -3  Best EV Defenseman: Christian Ehrhoff +4 Worst EV Defensemen: Andrej Sekera & Robyn Regehr The Sabres top-line has done virtually everything for them in these first few games. They have contributed on literally every single goal Buffalo has scored this year and account for just about all of their offense. This trend continued last night as they were on-ice for all three Buffalo goals but they were also on-ice for five of the six Carolina goals, as well. Pominville, Vanek and Hodgson have the potential to be an offensive juggernaut but how bad they are when it comes to playing in their own end is a problem for the Sabres. Scoring depth is also an issue for them but the Foligno-Ennis-Stafford line came close to lighting the lamp a few times and could pitch in very soon.  Head-to-Head My thought after watching the game was that Jordan Staal lost the even strength battle against the Hodgson line but he actually outchanced them by two. This is probably because of how bad that line was defensively, though since they gave up a ton in their own zone. In addition to that, Kirk Muller was able to get a few good matchups for his top-line as Eric Staal's unit did some major damage against Buffalo's second and third lines. They also did quite a number on the Sekera/Regher defense pairing. However, while Staal was able to win his matchup against Ennis' line, Jokinen along with Gleason/Faulk had a lot of trouble against that unit. Something to be on the lookout for in tonight's game because Muller won't have the last change. Period Team Time Player CAR OPP   1 CAR 19:33 E. Staal 12 19 28 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 1 CAR 17:15 Bowman 21 36 4 44 30   25 63 21 3 57 1 4v5 1 CAR 16:01 Sanguineti 11 19 28 24 44 30 19 42 29 24 52 1 5v5 1 CAR 16:00 Tlusty 11 19 28 24 44 30 19 42 29 24 52 1 5v5 1 BUF 12:26 Foligno 12 19 28 4 25 30 63 36 82 10 51 1 5v5 1 BUF 1:40 Vanek 11 12 53 6 27 30 9 19 29 26 10 1 5v5 2 BUF 19:27 Foligno 12 19 28 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 2 CAR 18:58 Skinner - GOAL 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 24 57 1 5v5 2 CAR 17:38 E. Staal 12 19 28 4 25 30 9 25 42 10 52 1 5v5 2 CAR 17:31 Semin 12 19 28 4 25 30 9 25 42 10 52 1 5v5 2 BUF 16:20 Pominville 37 36 6 27 30   9 19 29 26 10 1 4v5 2 CAR 15:54 Faulk - GOAL 11 19 25 27 30   9 19 29 26 10 1 4v5 2 CAR 13:54 E. Staal 12 53 28 36 25 30 55 36 24 44 1   5v4 2 CAR 13:17 LaRose 19 59 36 4 27 30 9 21 3 52 1   5v4 2 CAR 12:28 Tlusty 12 19 28 24 44 30 63 21 82 24 57 1 5v5 2 CAR 11:37 Skinner 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 10 44 1 5v5 2 BUF 11:11 Hodgson - GOAL 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 3 52 1 5v5 2 BUF 9:21 Pominville - GOAL 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 10 52 1 5v5 2 CAR 6:04 Skinner - GOAL 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 10 52 1 5v5 2 CAR 5:55 E. Staal - GOAL 12 19 28 4 25 30 63 21 82 24 44 1 5v5 2 BUF 3:40 Hecht 11 22 21 24 27 30 55 36 32 10 52 1 5v5 2 CAR 1:59 Jokinen 19 28 36 4 25 30 63 29 26 3 44 1 5v5 2 BUF 0:44 Vanek 11 19 6 27 30   19 63 29 26 10 1 4v5 2 CAR 0:10 Dwyer 12 39 25 44 30   19 63 29 26 10 1 4v5 3 BUF 18:56 Grigorenko 12 53 28 4 25 30 25 21 82 3 44 1 5v5 3 CAR 15:05 Bowman 59 21 36 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 3 BUF 13:54 Pominville - GOAL 11 53 39 6 27 30 19 29 26 24 57 1 5v5 3 BUF 13:30 Hodgson 12 19 28 6 27 30 19 29 26 10 57 1 5v5 3 BUF 13:01 Stafford 59 21 36 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 3 BUF 13:00 Foligno 59 21 36 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 3 BUF 12:43 Foligno 59 21 36 4 25 30 63 21 82 10 52 1 5v5 3 CAR 11:43 Dalpe 11 22 53 27 44 30 9 25 42 3 44 1 5v5 3 CAR 10:34 E. Staal - GOAL 12 53 28 4 26 30 19 29 32 3 57 1 5v5 3 CAR 8:10 E. Staal 12 19 28 25 27 30 9 21 24 57 1   5v4 3 CAR 7:56 Dalpe 11 22 53 4 25 30 55 36 3 44 1   5v4 3 BUF 4:49 Foligno 11 12 21 4 25 30 25 42 82 10 44 1 5v5 3 CAR 3:45 Dalpe 11 22 53 6 27 30 19 29 26 3 57 1 5v5  
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