Cleat Geeks

NHL: Canes Fall To Playoff Hopeful Wild 3-1

HURRICANES (24-32-7) 55 Points                                          MINNESOTA (36-22-7) 79 Points

The Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Minnesota Wild last night by a final score of 3-1, for their second consecutive loss. The Minnesota Wild on the other hand, added to their current winning streak, now five games in a row. Carolina went head to head against Minnesota most of the night, but failed to keep pace with the Wild during portions of each of the three periods in head to head play.

devan-dubnyk

Minnesota’s goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, had a solid, but uneventful night, stopping 37 of 38 shots. The only goal against Dubnyk came in the 2nd period, when Jeff Skinner found Riley Nash for a laser past his glove side. Throughout the rest of the game, there simply weren’t many scoring chances for the Hurricanes, or well-placed shots on net. Carolina was further complicated throughout the night by the same issues in their offensive zone (mainly in the 2nd and 3rd periods). When the Canes were able to get the puck to the blue line for an open lane to shoot from, no one was in front of the crease to screen Dubnyk and cause any disruption. When the Canes were able to get bodies in front of the crease, the Minnesota Wild were able to defensively swarm the puck and prevent any open lanes to the blue line; stifling out any potential scoring opportunities.

Carolina’s goalie, Anton Khudobin, had a much smaller workload and yet was much less fortunate; stopping 16 of 19 shots on goal. The first goal scored by the Wild came with 9:00 minutes remaining in the 1st period. Captain Eric Stall found himself out of position as he failed to anticipate the speed of Wild’s Charlie Coyle, who sped by him to put the puck past Khudobin on crisp pass from Nino Niederreiter. The 2nd goal came with 15:38 left in the 3rd with a bit of bad luck for the Canes. Mikael Granlund took a shot on goal that hit the left skate of Cane’s Chris Terry, and then deflected off of Khudobin’s left skate into the net. With 13:42 left in the 3rd, Zach Parise was able to grab a rebound off of a shot from Jason Pominville and slide it in for what was the final goal of the night.carolinaplayersonice

Carolina coach Bill Peters, was greatly displeased after the game and didn’t shy away from the Canes inconsistent play. When asked about his thoughts on how his team played, he responded, “We didn’t look like we wanted to put the work in to be successful. We used to be a hard-working, honest group. We haven’t been the last two times out.”

Carolina’s record doesn’t reflect their play. Aside from an atrocious October that seemingly knocked them out of the playoff race altogether, the Canes for the most part have been a consistently hard team to play against and specifically since the New Year began. They are tenacious on the forecheck in both ends, and they do an excellent job at clogging up the center of the ice; preventing rushes into their defensive zone and forcing the opposition to the boards. Not a lot of that was seen tonight or in their previous game against Chicago when they lost 5-2 on March 2nd. The Hurricanes seem to be headed into what appears to be another slump, but out of any of the teams out of the playoff race, the Canes have shown the most intestinal fortitude among opponents and will look to get back to what makes them such a tough team to play against.bellemore

On the other side of the ice, Minnesota continues to ride the consistent play of their goalie in net. The Wild have now added to their lead on the number one wild card spot, moving 3 points ahead of an injury ridden Winnipeg Jets. It would appear that the Wild are not going to slow down, as their momentum looks to take them into a playoff run with 17 games remaining on their schedule. This also means that there is a lot of hockey left to be played. With the West as tight as it is, there is no time for any team to take a day off if they hope to hold a playoff position.

One Comment

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