Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes held the Anaheim Ducks to just 17 shots and threw more than double that amount on John Gibson, but the Ducks got the better of the Canes for the second time in 10 days (this time in regulation) by a score of 2-1.
"We’ve got to bear down and finish on our chances. There was a little lull in our game," Jeff Skinner said. "Coming down to the end we picked it up and had some good chances but just couldn’t get that second one."
-- Oh, hockey. All it takes is a bounce.
Despite having a 25-8 shot advantage over the Ducks better than halfway through the game, the Hurricanes had just a one-goal lead, and it was erased by one fortunate bounce for Anaheim. Corey Perry drove the net, forcing Cam Ward out of the crease to make the save, and Francois Beachemin was there to clean up the rebound, lofting the puck into the gaping cage.
"It’s a play in tight," Peters said. "It’s a greasy goal, a grinding goal and a gritty goal."
So, despite the Canes having more than doubled the Ducks in shots, Anaheim took the 2-1 lead to the locker room at the second intermission.
"We had a good start, obviously, but a little false sense of security offensively. I don’t think we were dangerous or on the inside, especially in the third period," Peters said. "That’s disappointing. We had good pace and good puck speed to our game early, but then the puck speed went away and we started to play slow."
"I just don’t think we executed passing the puck well in the second half. Once we gave those two up, our execution level as far as moving pucks out of our end and through the neutral zone just wasn’t as good," Eric Staal said. "They didn’t have to score any more goals. They just made it a simple game, and we weren’t able to scrape one there at the end."
-- Tim Gleason dropped the gloves with Tim Jackman when the Canes had a 1-0 lead, what turned out to be about two minutes before the Ducks would even the score.
Could that bout have changed the tide and sparked a Ducks team that was playing its final game of a five-game Eastern road swing? Possibly, though it’s not like Anaheim took control of the period following the fight; they did, however, capitalize on a couple of miscues by the Hurricanes and snag momentum heading into the final frame.
"I thought from the fight on we weren’t very good," Peters said. "I don’t know what happened there, but to me, that’s when the game changed a little bit for whatever reason. I didn’t think we played with the same pace and intensity from that point on."
-- Jeff Skinner scored the Canes’ lone goal of the game, his first in 11 games. On the man advantage, Skinner took a shot from the near circle that hit Gibson high and bounced up and in. It was Skinner’s 11th goal of the season, one that has been a long time coming, and his first on the power play.
"It’s a little bit frustrating when you can’t seem to get one," Skinner said. "It was a great pass by Johnny [Liles] and a nice little bounce off the goalie’s shoulder, but I’ll take that right now."
"It's nice to see him get on the board. He's counted on offensively on this team," Staal said. "He was moving pretty well ... really attacking and getting shots to the net."
"[Skinner] was dangerous. He had lots of shots. Jiri had lots of shots," Peters said. "Now when we're getting those shots we need somebody in front of the goaltender. It felt like a game earlier in the year, like some of those games that were 2-1 when we had some shots but no chances. That’s what it felt like to me."
-- With four days separating the Canes' last game and tonight, their start wasn't the issue against the road-weary Ducks.
"I think our start was good, especially considering the layoff we had. We had a few good practices trying to stay sharp, and I think we did a good job coming out in the first and playing pretty solid hockey," Skinner said. "We just couldn’t seem to find that second one."
"We were ready to go and well-rested. I thought our jump was good, and we went after them," Staal said. "You want to be rewarded with a couple goals, but we had enough offensive chances to score. We just didn’t score. That can be frustrating."
"We quit moving the puck, and we started skating with it," Peters said. "As the game went along, guys tried to do a little too much and force plays that weren't there."
-- The Canes will hit the road again for a pair of games in Minnesota and Ottawa.
"We came off that West Coast trips pleased with the results," Skinner said. "We want to keep building on the good things in our game."