Cary, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes won their last preseason game against the Washington Capitals 3-1 to end their preseason with a mark of five wins, two losses. The teams on the ice were as close to opening night rosters with the game having nearly everything a regular season game would have. Big name missing was Alex Ovechkin for Washington.
Get To The Game Early, Enjoy The Full Experience
Getting to the game early, seeing the crowd getting excited and watching the teams’ warm-ups is something that is part of the whole game experience. Watching how players interact with certain other players or the fans is fun to watch. Cam Ward’s family was at the game and it’s fun to see how Wardo taps the glass when his son is waving to say “Hey Dad, it’s me.”
Not to be outdone, Jeff Skinner skates up to the Ward family along the glass in typical Skinny fashion – real fast, then taps the glass flashing his broad smile. One thing the Cane management looks for in players is character. During the draft, even players’ families and former coaches are “interviewed” just to make sure they have a player that meets the Canes total package criteria.
Faulk Sends Canes Up 1-0
Just 24 seconds into the game, Matt Niskanen tackled former teammate Justin Williams at the goal line giving the Canes an early powerplay. While the Canes powerplay in the preseason has been very good, they just couldn’t get things going at all and didn’t have a shot on net. Right after the man advantage, the Caps’ Jay Beagle was all alone on new Cane goalie, Scott Darling’s left side, had the puck with ample time to pick a spot to stuff the puck but Darling went to his knees and with his six-foot-six-inch frame still had every spot covered and made a huge save early.
Midway in the period, the Canes’s fourth line was on the ice and doing a great job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Newcomer Marcus Kruger was along the far half wall then passed up to Justin Faulk of the right point. Faulk was being pressured and didn’t have a pass, so he did what coaches preach and just flung the puck to the net. Brock McGinn was in front of the net, did a great job of screening then quickly moved sideways to watch the puck hit the back of the net to put the Canes up 1-0. McGinn didn’t get on the score sheet for the goal, but without his play, that goal doesn’t go in. McGinn continued to have play very good all game and his physical game continues to be impressive.
Hanifin Gets Powerplay Goal, Necas Impressive
The Caps tied the game with just 30 seconds gone in the second when Niskanen sent a wrister past Darling from short range. The hype of 18 year old Martin Necas is well justified. This kid is the real deal in every aspect. His ice sense, passing ability and skating are certainly at the NHL level. What he brings to the team is making for a tough decision for the Canes’ brass.
Early in the second, Necas had the puck down low to the left of the Caps goal. He deeked around his defender, waited patiently, then sent a sweet pass to Skinny who was tied up by his defender. See that same play in another game, count on a goal going in. Just seconds later on the same shift, Necas drew a penalty by All Star Nichlas Backstrom. Noah Hanifin scored on the powerplay after hard work by Derek Ryan and a nice pass from Jordan Staal.
TVR Seals The Win
In the third, both teams tightened up on the checking and were skating harder. The passing was crisper at both ends of the ice and slamming of bodies going on in the neutral zone. The Caps are a fast team but the Canes are faster. Coach Bill Peters wants a high energy team and the team met his demand.
Midway in the third, Haydn Fluery passed up to Joakim Nordstrom who brought the puck over the blue line. Nordy passed over to Trevor van Riemsdyk (TVR) who skated down the far wall sending a wrister that fooled Philipp Grubauer and went top shelf short side to end the scoring 3-1. Impressive game for the Canes with the only real noticeable let down was faceoffs. The Canes are typically a good faceoff team so plan on Coach Rod Brind’Amour having a few more lessons on the art of faceoffs.
One interesting call was the Caps did get two faceoff infractions that gave the Canes another powerplay. Will be interesting if the calls during the regular season will be as tight.
Opening night is next Saturday, October 7th against Eric Staal, Matt Cullen and the Minnesota Wild. Special 20th Anniversary hats to everyone in attendance. Be there!