These days, the weather can be nearly perfect one day, mid-70s and sunny, with the next day barely breaking 40, cloudy, then back to the 70s and sunny the following day. The Canes are mimicking the weather; after all, they’re one of two teams named after weather, where they come off beating Tampa Bay, the other ‘weather team,’ 4-0, which had to be the best full team effort game in a long time to go cold, barely showing any real threats to lose to the Flyers 3-1 for the start of a nice long home stand.
Hockey Fights Cancer
With another SRO crowd for the special and meaningful Hockey Fights Cancer night, the Canes might have been showing the effects of too many days off. That’s highly doubtful and might be used as an excuse, but Rod Brind’Amour says inconsistency and being ‘too cute’ too often are big issues. In looking at the game stats, the Canes had 32 shots on net but an astounding 33 shots blocked. Give the Flyers credit, as their game plan was to get in the way, and stuck to that plan. On the other side of the ledger, the Flyers had ‘only’ 24 shots on net with 9 shots blocked.
Early And Late Goals Are Killing The Canes
The Flyers scored early on their first shot of the game; the only explanation was it surprised Pyotr Kochectkov. The Canes turned the puck over in the neutral zone with the Flyers quickly bringing it into the Canes’ end. Morgan Frost had the puck in the near faceoff circle, then lightly passed it up to Owen Tippett, who blasted a shot from 55′ out, going into the upper right corner with no traffic in sight and only 1:50 into the game. Kooch had to want a second chance on that one, as it could only be classified as a softie.
That was a wake-up call for the Canes, but they must have hit the snooze button.
It might have been a restless sleep, as the effort was mostly there, just not the results needed: a sound sleep or goal. The early and waning minutes have not been kind to the Canes for a couple of seasons now, and this game was no different. Late in the first, the Flyers had the puck in the Canes’ end and probably their best forechecking of the game, blocking any attempt by the Canes to clear the puck. Sean Couturier knocked the puck off a Canes stick, passing up to Nick Seeler on the left point.
Just as the announcer yelled, ‘one minute left in the period, Seeler slapped a shot from 70’ that a lonely, read into that totally unmarked, Travis Konecny tipped from the slot 10’ out that Kooch had no chance on. Big momentum-changer as the Canes had most of the advantage in the first.
Noesen From Far Out Gives Hope
In praying for a different start for the second, the Canes’ prayers weren’t answered. The Flyers won a faceoff just outside the Canes’ blue line, rimming the puck behind the Canes’ net. Dmitry Orlov had the puck with time, then tried what Rod might call a pass that was too cute and hit Scott Laughton’s skate, sliding up to Sean Walker on the right point. Walker made a great pass to Ryan Poehling in the dirty area in the crease then outmuscled Tony DeAngelo for a snap wrister up over Kooch’s left shoulder for a 3-0 lead with just 29 seconds gone in the second.
The Canes had two golden opportunities to get back in the game as the Flyers had two powerplays. If DeAngelo were a game official, the Canes would have had nearly a full 2 minutes of a 2-man advantage powerplay, as he called for the puck going over the glass, but the ref motioned it was tipped. Replay showed that TDA was right.
The Canes failed on both powerplays, but getting back in the game was in sight. On what had to be the best-looking play of the game, Orlov retrieved the puck behind the Canes’ net, passing it to Jack Drury along the far boards. Drury took a few strides to clear the puck then passed up to Stephan Noesen in front of the Canes’ bench.
With Drury going full speed, Noesen touched the pass back to Drury, carried the puck into the Flyers’ zone, looked up and saw TDA joining the rush and passed right to TDA’s stick. DeAngelo methodically brought the puck into the near circle then made a great pass across the grain as he saw Noesen coming with speed over the blue line, hit Noesen’s tape who one-timed a shot into the upper corner from 60’ out.
No facts to check on this but that may be the farthest out Noesen has scored a goal for the Canes as he’s more of a Chad LaRose dirty area goal producer. Give credit where it’s due, and this was a great-looking team goal.
Powerplay Goes 0-
The Canes got their third powerplay early in the third period, and if they convert, it’s a whole new ballgame. Unfortunately, the lackluster powerplay was one of the keys to the game. This powerplay yielded no shots on goal and probably had less than a minute of possession in the Flyers’ zone. Credit coach John Tortorella on a game plan to be frustrating to the Canes. Winning ugly is still winning, and it’s all about the wins.
The Canes continued to press, getting their most shots on goal and probably the most missed and blocked shots for the game. Throwing rubber and hoping for the best just didn’t work for the Canes this game. Buckling down for no leaky early goals worked, and despite having up to 70% of the possession in the period, nothing was getting by Flyers goalie Carter Hart.
Tough loss that could be summed up by a lackluster powerplay, decent effort most of the time but simple letdowns cost the Canes dearly. It doesn’t get easier as the restocked Pittsburgh Penguins are next up on Saturday. Be there!