Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- Returning home after dropping a 3-0 decision to a divisional opponent in Columbus that snapped a five-game losing streak, this isn’t the game the Carolina Hurricanes envisioned. The Calgary Flames, winners of just one of their last eight games, blanked the Canes again, 2-0, marking the first time the Hurricanes have been shut out in consecutive games since Nov. 16-18, 2011 (4-0 MTL, 1-0 BUF). “We had a few good chances, but we didn’t capitalize,” forward Jiri Tlusty said. “We have to move forward.”
-- The tone of the game was set in the first period, when Calgary took the reins and outshot the home team 14-5 in the first 20 minutes. For whatever reason, the Canes didn’t have the jump they were expected to have, especially coming off a shutout loss. “We didn’t have that extra jump. We had three new guys in the lineup that hadn’t played in a while, and we kind of felt that would be the opposite,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “I thought we were ready to jump out there in the first, but (Calgary) came out hard.”
-- Even still, the Canes had their chances in the second period. It started with a rebound opportunity that Tuomo Ruutu punched high. A line change or so later, and Ramo and the Flames had staved off the Canes’ best scoring opportunities of the game. “We got shots and chances … but we didn’t penetrate enough around the net to make it tough on their goalie and get some of those scrappy-type goals tonight,” Muller said. “In games like tonight, if you get an opportunity, you have to have a shooting mentality.”
-- In total, the Canes recorded 23 shots, proving to be a pretty easy task for Karri Ramo en route to his first career NHL shutout. It wasn’t just that the shot total was a bit low, but it was also the fact that there weren’t many second and third opportunities to be had. That’s due in part to the Canes’ occasional lapses in shooting mentality and the Flames’ collapsing defensive strategy. “We didn’t do a great job of putting pucks into places that we could forecheck. When we did, we felt that we had some really good sustained pressure and got our chances,” forward Manny Malhotra said. “But we didn’t have quite enough shots and real traffic in front of their goalie tonight, and that was the difference.”
-- Once the Flames got the first goal – a tap-in on the rebound for Mikael Backlund on the power play – and especially after their second – Sean Monahan’s tally on an odd-man rush – they were more than content to sit on their lead. “You play teams like Calgary … it was going to be a game in the trenches and hard-working,” Muller said. “They got the lead, and once they did they were able to sit back a little bit and defend. They defended well and played hard, and we didn’t penetrate enough or win one-on-one battles.”
-- The Canes will now have four days to sit on this one, as they don’t return to action until Saturday, the beginning of a back-to-back set at home versus Florida and Tampa Bay. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to the extended break in the schedule. Following a four-day break in October, the Canes lost five in a row. Following a five-day break in December, the Canes were winless in five straight. In both of those instances, Carolina entered the break with a three-game point streak. They enter this scheduling gap being shut out in consecutive games. “Our whole mentality this year has been you take the good, learn from the bad and move on,” Malhotra said.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan scored, and Karri Ramo stopped 23 shots for his first NHL shutout as the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 Monday night.
The Flames (16-24-6) snapped a three-game losing streak. Calgary played without leading goal-scorer Mike Cammalleri, who suffered a concussion Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins and did not travel to Carolina.
Protecting a 1-0 lead in the third period, Monahan finished a 3-on-2 after consecutive passes from TJ Galiardi and Paul Byron at 9:36. The rookie tied Cammalleri for the team lead with 13 goals.
Calgary opened the scoring at 15:26 of the second period. With Carolina forward Patrick Dwyer off for interference, Backlund tucked a loose puck under Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin for his seventh of the year. Jiri Hudler started the play with a centering pass that deflected off the skate of Hurricanes forward Radek Dvorak. Dennis Wideman had the second assist.
Backlund also scored the lone goal against Pittsburgh, snapping the team's 174:59 scoring drought.
The Hurricanes outshot the Flames 12-7 in the second period. Tuomo Ruutu had Carolina's best scoring chance, but his shot from the slot sailed over an open net.
The Flames held a 14-5 advantage in shots in the first period, with each team killing one minor penalty.
Khudobin made 27 saves. Carolina has lost two straight following its five-game winning streak.
Since defeating Carolina 2-1 in overtime Dec. 12, the Flames had gone 3-9-2, scoring 20 goals in 14 games.
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