Found October 20, 2013 on Shutdown Line:
Another night, another one-goal game for the Hurricanes and they managed to come out on the right side of the coin in yesterday's tilt against the New York Islanders. Although, this game was much different from the other close contests that the Hurricanes have been involved in this year. Instead of battling back from an early deficit, the Canes built a strong 3-0 lead in the second period and forced the Islanders to play from behind. There were some scary moments towards the end, as the Islanders managed to make it a one-goal game, but last night's game gave Canes fans a lot to be encouraged about. For the second game in a row, Carolina won the possession battle and didn't need the aid of a fluky bounce on any of the four goals they scored. They also had a solid defensive performance at even strength (only 20 shots surrendered) and got a much needed big game from the first line. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, as Carolina will now head out West on the heels of a two-game win streak. The Canes still need to work on defending leads and staying out of penalty trouble but there were sequences where the they dominated last night and it was nice to see, especially against a division rival. There are plenty of interesting nuggets to dig out of last night's game so let's not waste anymore time and get to the analysis. Fenwick Timeline from Extra Skater An early power play gave the Islanders the edge in shots in the first period (thanks Westgarth), but the Hurricanes picked it up after that and had control of the game during five-on-five play. The chart shows how much they controlled the game in the second period, especially after Jordan Staal's goal, and they still had the edge in territorial play even after the Islanders late-game surge. On that note, the Hurricanes sat back a lot when they had a three-goal lead and despite that, I thought they contained The Islanders well at even strength. It was penalties that got the Hurricanes into more trouble than anything, as all three of the Islanders goals came during extra-man situations and two of them were on the power play. The Canes PK has been so hit-and-miss this year and thankfully, it didn't cost them the game last night. Strong even strength play can go a long way sometimes. Period Total 5v5 PP 5v3 SH 3v5 4v4 EN 1 2 3 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 3 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 7 3 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Totals 13 13 10 7 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 From here, it looks like the Islanders outplayed the Canes in every period but the second but I think this is a little misleading. It was a low-event game overall and the Islanders really only got the better of the Canes in the third period, when Carolina was sitting back. Even then, the Isles did most of their damage on the power play and Hurricanes contained them well at even strength. I suppose you can say the same thing about the Islanders since the Canes were held to only 10 chances at even strength, but Carolina still won the battle overall and looked like the better team for the good majority of this game. I will say that the special teams for Carolina are a pretty major concern, though. Early on it was the power play that was dragging them down but the penalty kill was very sketchy last night and it didn't help that they took three penalties late in the second & third periods respectively. That was the main reason why the Islanders got back into the game and made it as close as they did. Hurricanes Individual Scoring Chances # Player 5v5 PP SH 4 Andrej Sekera 19:16 6 3 3:08 1 0 6:08 0 4 5 Mike Komisarek 15:59 1 2 0:13 0 0 2:10 0 1 7 Ryan Murphy 12:39 3 2 1:38 2 0 0:00 0 0 8 Kevin Westgarth  1:45 0 0 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 11 Jordan Staal 15:48 0 1 1:54 2 0 3:30 0 2 12 Eric Staal 16:14 6 2 3:28 3 0 2:26 0 2 14 Nathan Gerbe 15:00 0 1 2:04 0 0 0:59 0 0 15 Tuomo Ruutu 11:22 4 3 2:27 1 0 0:00 0 0 18 Radek Dvorak 8:31 0 2 0:00 0 0 1:13 0 0 19 Jiri Tlusty 10:46 6 1 2:55 3 0 1:44 0 1 20 Riley Nash 12:34 4 3 0:00 0 0 1:30 0 0 21 Drayson Bowman 8:46 0 2 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 27 Justin Faulk 18:18 6 3 1:31 0 0 4:33 0 4 28 Alexander Semin 12:49 6 1 2:55 3 0 1:38 0 3 39 Patrick Dwyer 14:42 0 2 0:00 0 0 3:04 0 2 44 Jay Harrison  11:12 3 2 0:00 0 0 0:28 0 0 53 Jeff Skinner 12:38 4 3 2:04 0 0 0:00 0 0 65 Ron Hainsey 16:36 1 2 0:38 0 0 2:45 0 1 30 Cam Ward 46:59 10 7 4:59 3 0 8:02 0 5 Best EV Forwards: Jiri Tlusty & Alex Semin +5 Worst EV Forwards: Drayson Bowman & Pat Dwyer -2 Best EV Defensemen: Andrej Sekera & Justin Faulk +3 Worst EV Defensemen: Ron Hainsey & Mike Komisarek -1 The Hurricanes top guns showed up to play last night, as their first line had their best game of the season by a mile. This was actually one of the best games I've seen this unit play at even strength, all things considered. Despite lighting up the scoresheet, these three would often be on the wrong end of the possession battle but they hit the Islanders hard in both areas last night. Kirk Muller's helped them out by giving them a boat load of offensive zone draws, but it's hard to fault them for taking advantage of their assignments. The funny thing is that both of their goals came in transition, so the high number of offensive zone starts didn't play as much of a factor there. The "third line" of Skinner, Nash & Ruutu also had a solid game and produced a big goal in the second period that came as a result of a good keep-in by Ruutu and a nice finish by Skinner. Both Skinner & Nash have quietly been two of Carolina's better territorial forwards this year and the goals should continue to come for them if Ruutu stays on this line. Although, I'm sure one of them will be moved up to spark Jordan's line, who failed to do much offensively last night. They were also the only line that got outshot at even strength, which is a little concerning even if they were going up against the Tavares line.  Also logging a lot of minutes against the Tavares line was the defense duo of Justin Faulk & Andrej Sekera, who did a very solid job at keeping the Islanders best players in check at even strength. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for their work on the penalty kill as both of them were torched there. Most of Carolina's defense corps was guilty of this, though. Islanders Individual Scoring Chances # Player 5v5 PP SH 3 Travis Hamonic  24:10 3 4 0:15 1 0 3:07 0 3 7 Matt Carkner 12:21 2 4 0:00 0 0 0:20 0 0 11 Lubomir Visnovsky 2:44 0 0 2:39 0 0 0:00 0 0 12 Josh Bailey 14:08 1 0 1:41 2 0 0:00 0 0 13 Colin McDonald 9:11 0 4 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0 14 Thomas Hickey 14:47 2 3 0:00 0 0 1:32 0 0 15 Cal Clutterbuck 8:19 3 3 0:10 0 0 0:00 0 0 16 Peter Regin 9:58 4 3 2:17 2 0 0:57 0 0 17 Matt Martin 10:01 1 3 2:20 2 0 2:51 0 3 21 Kyle Okposo 16:56 2 4 6:03 3 0 0:00 0 0 26 Matt Moulson 12:39 2 3 5:24 3 0 0:00 0 0 37 Brian Strait 15:55 2 3 0:00 0 0 2:31   2 40 Michael Grabner 11:07 2 2 0:00 0 0 2:08 0 0 47 Andrew MacDonald 22:39 5 6 5:18 5 0 2:28 0 1 51 Frans Nielsen 12:38 1 1 6:22 3 0 1:06 0 0 53 Casey Cizikas 8:00 0 3 0:00 0 0 2:56 0 3 91 John Tavares 17:08 3 3 6:26 3 0 0:00 0 0 96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard  13:18 2 1 2:16 1 0 0:00 0 0 20 Evgeni Nabokov  45:55 7 10 7:01 5 0 4:59 0 3 Best EV Forwards: Josh Bailey, Pierre-Marc Bouchard & Peter Regin +1 Worst EV Forward: Colin McDonald -4 Best EV Defenseman: Lubomir Visnovsky EVEN Worst EV Defenseman: Matt Carkner -2 I lost track of what the Islanders lines were because of how much Jack Capuano changed them, I felt that the Hurricanes did a good job of keeping the Islanders best players in check at even strength. Their third line seemed to produce most of their offense there and that ultimately did not hurt Carolina too much. Still, Regin and Clutterbuck gave the Hurricanes some fits at even strength last night even with limited minutes. Everyone else was pretty quiet there, although Tavares, Nielsen & Moulson made up for it on the power play. The Islanders were also forced to change up their defense pairings after losing Lubomir Visnovsky to a concussion in the first period. Taking over his minutes were Andrew MacDonald & Travis Hamonic, the former of which logged a ton of ice time both at even strength and on the power play. The Hurricanes did expose some of the Isles broken defense combinations, though, the most notable instance being when the first line caught Matt Carkner pinching & created a transition rush the other way. Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five The head-to-head report reveals some interesting things. Eric Staal's line was out against Cizikas long enough to record two scoring chances and it appears that they took advantage of the Isles bottom-six all night long. One would think that Capuano would try to keep Nielsen out against the Staal line but it appears Capuano had different ideas. Although, the Isles bench boss did get some matchups in his favor, though. Tavares being out against Harrison/Murphy long enough to create a chance being one of them. Carolina seemed to get the better of most of the key ones, though. 5v5 Zone Entries Hurricanes Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries Sekera 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 Komisarek 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Murphy 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 Westgarth 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 J. Staal 3 1 3 1 0 0 0 E. Staal 5 3 5 3 0 0 0 Gerbe 5 0 2 0 3 0 3 Ruutu 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 Dvorak 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 Tlusty 5 4 2 3 3 1 0 Nash 5 3 1 1 4 2 1 Bowman 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 Faulk 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 Semin 8 8 8 8 0 0 0 Dwyer 6 2 3 1 3 1 0 Harrison 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Skinner 7 4 2 1 5 3 3 Hainsey 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 Team 55 28 32 21 23 7 8 Carolina had their best neutral zone performance of the season and most of it was thanks to Alex Semin & Eric Staal having huge games. These two combined for 13 controlled zone entries and Semin looked like he was ready to have a four-point game. He had eight controlled zone entries and produced at least one shot on each of them, which is very impressive. It's been awhile since Carolina had a player post these kind of numbers in one game, so we shouldn't take it for granted. Jordan Staal also had a nice game in the neutral zone but his entries didn't lead to much, which perhaps says something about his linemates. It's one of the reasons why I think one of Skinner or Ruutu will be promoted to his line if this continues. Skinner, Ruutu & Nash were able to generate a decent amount of offense off dump-ins and could potentially do a lot more if they played with a center who is able to gain the line with control of the puck more often. Islanders Player # of entries Shots generated Carry-ins Shots generated Dump-ins Shots generated Failed Entries Hamonic 6 5 5 5 1 0 0 Carkner 4 0 0 0 4 0 0 Visnovsky 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 Bailey 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 McDonald 4 0 0 0 4 0 1 Hickey 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 Clutterbuck 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 Regin 7 3 5 3 2 0 0 Martin 6 3 2 0 4 3 0 Okposo 7 2 4 2 3 0 0 Moulson 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 Strait 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 Grabner 4 0 2 0 2 0 0 MacDonald 4 3 1 2 3 1 0 Nielsen 3 2 3 2 0 0 2 Cizikas 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 Tavares 7 2 7 2 0 0 1 Bouchard 5 1 1 0 4 1 0 Team 69 22 36 17 33 5 5 The Islanders led in overall entries but they were not generating much offense off them. Even some of the players who managed to carry the puck in a lot (Tavares & Okposo) weren't creating much with any of their entries and I guess you can credit the Hurricanes defense for that. Although, they seemed to have trouble with the Isles third line (see Peter Regin) and Travis Hamonic gave them some fits, as well. Speaking of which, Hamonic looked more active offensively than I had ever seen him before. The young defenseman was joining the rush every chance he got and it somewhat helped make up for the early loss of Visnovsky. You can see here that the Isles benefited from it a decent amount. 5v5 Zone Exits Hurricanes # Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing 4 Andrej Sekera D 22 2 6 1 2 0 5 Mike Komisarek D 17 0 0 0 3 1 7 Ryan Murphy D 12 1 2 0 2 0 8 Kevin Westgarth RW 2 1 0 0 0 0 11 Jordan Staal C 11 3 3 0 0 0 12 Eric Staal C 7 2 0 0 2 0 14 Nathan Gerbe LW 8 3 1 0 0 0 15 Tuomo Ruutu LW 7 1 2 0 2 0 18 Radek Dvorak RW 5 1 0 0 0 0 19 Jiri Tlusty LW 4 2 0 0 1 0 20 Riley Nash C 14 3 1 1 2 0 21 Drayson Bowman LW 6 2 0 1 2 0 27 Justin Faulk D 22 0 5 0 4 1 28 Alexander Semin RW 8 3 0 0 0 0 39 Patrick Dwyer RW 5 2 0 0 1 0 44 Jay Harrison D 8 0 2 0 2 0 53 Jeff Skinner LW 7 3 1 0 0 0 65 Ron Hainsey D 15 0 3 0 2 0 Carolina's defensemen had a pretty good night in terms of being able to exit the zone, but the turnovers were worrisome. Murphy had an ugly one in the second period and Faulk was way more careless with the puck than usual. It's not typical for Sekera to be the better half of this defense pairing, but this was the case last night. If you subtract Mike Komisarek's goose-egg, the Canes defense corps had a solid success rate on the night, but the turnovers remain a problem and it will come back to haunt them against better teams. Islanders # Player Pos. Touches Carry Pass Other Turnover Icing 3 Travis Hamonic D 30 3 1 1 3 2 7 Matt Carkner D 18 0 2 1 2 0 11 Lubomir Visnovsky D 3 1 1 0 0 0 12 Josh Bailey C 5 1 2 0 0 0 13 Colin McDonald R 5 1 2 0 0 0 14 Thomas Hickey D 15 2 3 0 1 1 15 Cal Clutterbuck R 2 1 0 0 0 0 16 Peter Regin C 7 6 0 0 0 0 17 Matt Martin L 2 0 1 0 0 0 21 Kyle Okposo R 2 0 1 0 0 0 26 Matt Moulson L 7 0 2 0 1 0 37 Brian Strait D 22 1 4 2 0 2 40 Michael Grabner R 6 1 2 0 1 0 47 Andrew MacDonald D 26 1 1 1 2 2 51 Frans Nielsen C 7 1 2 0 0 0 53 Casey Cizikas C 7 1 2 0 0 0 91 John Tavares C 5 3 0 0 0 0 96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard C 8 1 3 0 0 0 Hamonic might have been very aggressive in the neutral zone, but he had a lot of trouble when it came to advancing the play out of his own end, either turning the puck over or icing it as many times as he successfully got it out. His partner, MacDonald, also had a very rough game in this regard and so did almost everyone on the Islanders defense corps. Their forwards helped mitigate this, as they were able to advance the play at a high rate, but the Isles still heavily relied on their defensemen for breakouts and the guys logging big minutes struggled.
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