Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- In a Sunday matinee, the Carolina Hurricanes dropped their second game in a row, a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. After digging an early 2-0 hole, the Canes scored twice in 10 seconds in the first minute of the second period to even the score. Vancouver roared right back, taking a 3-2 lead that they never relinquished. “They pushed us out of the first period. They won all the battles. They were more competitive. They owned around our net,” head coach Kirk Muller said of his team’s opening 20 minutes. “All that stuff adds up, and that’s not good enough.”
-- Vancouver jumped out to an early lead, as Ryan Kesler tallied on a five-on-three advantage, tapping in a rebound along the side of the net. Tom Sestito – who cruised through the crease and bumped Cam Ward with no call on the play – then tipped in a shot at the 15:48 mark to make it 2-0. “It was not a good start at all. We were getting outworked in that first period,” Jordan Staal said. “We’ve got to find a way to have a good start and build on that instead of having a bad start and trying to come back.”
-- At the 39 second mark of the second period, Staal raced toward the crease and poked in a loose puck that was sitting underneath Eddie Lack. Off the ensuing faceoff, Eric Staal muscled his way to the net, and Nathan Gerbe punched in a rebound that bounced in off Lack, who also ended up in the back of the net. “It’s good we fought back and put ourselves into the game. We had a tough first period. We got outworked and lost battles,” Gerbe said. “We came back, played a grittier game and got two goals from it.”
-- The power play continues to be a talking point for the Hurricanes, and not in a positive way. They were 0-for-6 on the man advantage today, including a four-minute double-minor and a brief five-on-three. If a team does not score on the power play, they at least want to grab some momentum from it; the Canes weren’t able to do either tonight. “It’s frustrating. It’s tough because we talk about it all the time. We’ve got to find a way to get one in,” Jeff Skinner said. “We’ve got to find a way – any way – to get a goal on it.”
-- To be fair, the Hurricanes were matched up against the NHL’s best penalty killing team in Vancouver, who entered the game with an 88 percent success rate on the kill. But, that doesn’t excuse Carolina for not being able to capitalize. “It’s not helping us, that’s for sure,” Staal said. “There is no momentum off of it, and there are no goals. We’ve got to find a way to be better.”
-- A visibly frustrated Muller on the power play: “it’s two things. It’s desperation and execution. You have to play like the last shift there where we all of a sudden got desperate … that’s how you have to play it. When you get a chance, the guys out there have to execute. If they can’t execute, I guess we have to start looking for other guys in our lineup and give them the opportunity,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s all it is. Everyone runs the same plays. It’s no different one team from another. It’s a matter of getting the job done, doing it at a higher tempo, outworking the PK and making your plays. I don’t know. Maybe our some guys can’t make the plays.”
-- Some random notes: Justin Faulk extended his point streak to four-games (1g, 4a) with the secondary helper on Gerbe’s goal, his 10th assist of the season. … Ron Hainsey is also streaking, as he has points in three straight games (1g, 2a). He had the lone assist on Staal’s fifth goal of the season. … Per Elias Sports, today marked the first time the Canes have scored two goals in the first minute of a period since Ron Francis tallied twice in the opening minute of the third period against Quebec on Nov. 1, 1987.
-- The Canes get back at it on Tuesday in Washington, their lone intraconference match-up in their first eight December games. They’ll then travel to Nashville before hosting the San Jose Sharks in Raleigh on Friday.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ryan Kesler scored twice and the Vancouver Canucks killed off 11:33 in penalties in a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Tom Sestito also scored and Jason Garrison added two assists. Goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 29 shots for his third win of the season.
With the Canucks leading 2-0 after one period, the Hurricanes tied the game less than one minute into the second. Jordan Staal jammed home a loose puck in the crease at 39 seconds and Nathan Gerbe beat Lack with a short-side goal 10 seconds later.
But Vancouver answered at 1:16 on Kesler's second goal. Chris Higgins played the puck behind the goal and shoveled it in front before Kesler scored at the top of the crease.
The Hurricanes then tested Vancouver's league-leading penalty-killing unit. Daniel Sedin's four-minute high-sticking penalty combined with Brad Richardson's unsportsmanlike conduct minor resulted in 5:33 of consecutive power-play time for Carolina, including 27 seconds of 5-on-3. But the Canucks limited Carolina to five shots and cleared the defensive zone 13 times to preserve the one-goal lead.
The Canucks started the scoring at 3:24 of the first period, capitalizing on a two-man advantage. Kesler struck 10 seconds into the power play with his 11th of the season, taking a pass from Garrison in the slot to beat goaltender Cam Ward. Hurricanes defenseman Mike Komisarek had put the Hurricanes down two skaters when his clearing pass sailed over the glass behind the Vancouver goal.
The Canucks extended the lead to 2-0 when Sesitito redirected Garrison's shot from the point at 15:48. Former Carolina forward Zac Dalpe picked up his first point with Vancouver, earning the second assist.
Canucks defenseman Jannik Hansen left the game midway through the first period after tumbling hard into the boards. Hansen left the ice holding his right shoulder, but he returned to the game in the second.