Isn’t it weird that the Carolina Hurricanes keep getting goalies?
I told you.
For the fourth straight season (we’re skipping the 2020 playoffs because… well, come on), and every season under coach Rod Brind’Amour, the Hurricanes look damned unlikely to make the most of the regular season. In fact, they don’t seem to be winning a game past the second round as they have been. Maybe they’ll manage to pull off a sweep. That’s why they don’t hang banners (unless you’re from Nashville). Regular season division titles feel good at first, but pretty quickly they are just a stepping stone to the next steps. They were the escalator to nowhere for commas, however.
Pam Grier’s Family Thanksgiving Sports Traditions
Commas will hurt their luck. They hit the post three times in Game 3. They had most of the puck, they ran more than 70 percent of the attempts and expected goals. Sergei Bobrovsky plays ridiculously high level. Hockey can be cruel for reasons you will never explain or find. That’s what the canes will be telling themselves when they break out the golf clubs, at least.
But there is an odd note here. Sergei Bobrovsky posted a .981 save percentage in this series. Last year, when the Canes lost to the New Yorkers in seven The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin hit .949 and the Canes had just 13 even-strength goals during the streak. In 2021, when they lost to the Lightning in five games, Andrei Vasilevskiy hit .940. In 2019, when the Bruins had a chance to kick the Canes. back in the closet, Tuukka Rask ran a .956 save percentage.
Strange, isn’t it?
He will get it foreign if you look at the opposite numbers Canes goaltenders. When Rask was sticking his head in the toilet, Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek combined for a .857. With Vasilevskiy swatting them like they were gnats, Alex Nedeljkovic and Mrazek were hitting .895. Last year, when the Rangers put them to the sword, Antti Raanta put up a pretty respectable .917, but Pyotr Kochetkov caught fire twice. He registered a .792 (!).
That doesn’t explain it all, and especially this year, as Raanta and Frederik Andersen have been good or great. So there’s something else.
Well, that probably explains most of it.
While Bobrovsky was great, the Canes make it easy to be great. Look at the table. It’s all about points. Nothing comes from the front or from the circles, where teams usually get their shots when moving a goalkeeper from side to side. to open things. This has been the story every season. It’s not that the Canes didn’t get some great opportunities, because they did, and Bob just had the answer. But they don’t get enough of them, and what’s worse, they never seem to get an answer on how to get them. Their style is to take the puck deep, win it, score points, and fire away. October-March works because they are so committed to hard work. It’s no secret why they rush in during the January and February fever (January 15-3. 19 to March 9 this season, 12-3-2 over the same stretch last season) because most teams ran out of the shit they could give then. But their exceptional effort matters much less in the playoffs when everyone else is doing it.
Sure, they pile on the tries, but those kind of tries just seem to get the keeper into a rhythm. At least that’s the feeling. The style of play by the Canes will keep him the margins are quite narrow, which means they rely on their established goalkeepers, and their not-quite-1A stars to finish or save one more chance than the other guys. They don’t get out of the rush, they don’t try anything new.
It could also be argued that the Canes simply don’t have the killers to break through a goaltender who plays as well as Bobrovsky, or as well as others in previous seasons. Sebastian Aho played great in Game 3 with four or five key scoring chances. But he didn’t score. It’s awfully rude to criticize a player when you have the chance. Sometimes your luck runs out. But the Canes and Aho’s luck always seems to be that way to be out and he is the no. 1 center. Of course, Andrei Svechnikov was out, and this series was so close it could very well have been. Then the Panthers were without Sasha Barkov for virtually all of Game 3 and still found a way. It always helps if Brent Burns is hell-bent on losing Matthew Tkachuk in coverage to open things up. Here, watch him needlessly chase Sam Bennett behind the net while getting nowhere near it, opening up a passing lane for Tkachuk to Sam Reinhart:
The commas The offense runs almost entirely through their blue line, but not through an entire playoff stretch. Last year, no one other than Vincent Trochek had more than two goals against the Rangers and was gone. No one has had more than one in five games against the Bolts in two years. The same story in 2019.
The Canes tried to live up to the old hockey axiom that it’s the ultimate team game, and one team simply threw four straight without a big layup. But maintaining depth in the salary cap is difficult league without sacrificing anything. The canes have sacrificed true sharpness at both ends for their precious depth. And he keeps eating teams that have inspired performances in net, and with someone making the playoffs, he scores against them.
These players aren’t easy to find, but if the Canes want to do more than add cannon fodder to the second or third round, they better figure it out.
This Nikola Jokic’s shot includes the Nuggets-Lakers series
I wouldn’t think you can book one very often entire series in the NBA playoffs with one shot, but Nikola Jokic is not really concerned with what is normal:
While LeBron James was able to summon his old self in the first half to try to be defiant in the face of a sweep, it clearly took almost everything out of him as he spent much of the second half either watching, settling or limping. And Jokic simply provides too much to too many teammates. This shot shows just how powerless the Lakers have been to do anything against this entire series, and as soon as it came in, you could feel the entire arena knew they were boned. Sometimes this DUDE is too powerful to plan or counter.
The Dodgers reverse course, invite the guest of Pride Night again
It’s good to know that shaming can sometimes work both ways:
While it’s still sad that the Dodgers had to be forced to do this, at least they got there. Perhaps the increased attention is more of a blow to the nurses’ overall message and cause. You can be sure there will be louder voices of protest both on the field at Dodger Stadium and online. But any victory tolerance and acceptance is worth noting.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate.