RALEIGH, N.C. – It was a nice way to entertain the lean crowd (8,895) on hand for the Carolina Hurricanes’ second preseason game.
Playing the back end of successive games against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, the Hurricanes added to a 3-0 win the previous night with another shutout – this one a 2-0 differential.
Fueled by goals from Steven Lorentz and Clark Bishop, Carolina remained undefeated while not giving up a goal.
Although the result was positive, the quality of the outcome was different.
“Night and day,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“The goalies were good. The fourth line, if you want to call it that, played all their shifts the way it was supposed to be. That was nice to see. The rest, not so much.”
Top-heavy load drags
Goaltenders Petr Mrazek (6 saves) and Alex Nedeljkovic (15 saves) made all the stops against an AHL-dominant roster of skaters who made the trip to the Triangle from the Sunshine State.
The Hurricanes went the other way with a bench full of many of the NHLers who helped advance the team to the postseason last April for the first time in 10 years.
This game should have been a blowout.
Yes, it is the preseason, and it is early.
But, and this is a big but, a power play that finished 0-for-5 with personnel who will start the regular season made some on a roster of Tampa Bay hopefuls earn more time to skate another day at their respective training camp.
Following a 1-6 finish 24 hours earlier from a less NHL-experienced squad, the power play looked slow and predictable, and sloppy.
At one point during a sequence in the opening period, Tampa forward Boris Kachouk lost his stick and the Hurricanes still couldn’t convert against the other three defenders and goaltender Spencer Martin.
In fact, a pass in the low slot was eventually intercepted to deny further scoring opportunities on that extra-man opportunity.
There was a reason for Brind’Amour’s lack of enthusiasm to heap any praise on his veterans following a win.
“Sometimes you get that,” he said.
“You dress a really veteran group, so to speak, you can kind of have that (result). We’ll work the kinks out. There was some good stuff, but some old habits that really frustrate me. That’s gonna be a revolving door early I think. We’re gonna be trying some different things, some different people. Hopefully we’ll find something before the season gets going. Definitely, there’s a different look to it now.”
As much as the power play was unproductive and frustrating to watch, there were a fair share of positives to note.
Brind’Amour called it – goalies and hard-working AHL forwards earned the win.
If Mrazek and Nedeljkovic didn’t stop pucks, this game could have looked ugly.
A loss would have just made the separation of effort and results amongst the haves and want-to-haves more glaring.
Charlotte Checkers products Lorentz and Bishop showed they could finish and along with Julien Gauthier, were the featured stars of this game.
The experience of winning a Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers last season developed the work ethic and confident attitude they put forth that produced results.
Their keeper stated as much.
“It’s easy to succeed when you have guys like that, who wanna win for each other,” Nedeljkovic said.
“Going into this year, just having that confidence and knowing that you can do it, you can win at a high level.”
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