For those of you who were pining for the return of the December version of YOUR Carolina Hurricanes (looks around… sees no one), last night was just for you. Despite outshooting Anaheim by a better than 2 to 1 margin, the Canes lost the game by that very score. And there was this:

In the first period, the good guys had a 14-5 edge in shots, mostly dominated play, even had a power play, but couldn’t manage to get one past John Gibson. It was a frustratingly familiar feeling sitting in the arena and watching this team do so much right, but not generate quality chances.

While the shot total was great, very few were high percentage shots or came from within 15 feet. In what was a harbinger of things to come, Alex Semin had the puck in the slot, but kept it on his stick, apparently looking for a better play than just shooting from a good position.

Just before the halfway point of the 2nd period, Carolina opened the scoring through a lot of traffic in front of Gibson. Skinner was credited with the powerplay goal, and assists went to Liles and Semin. So, congratulations to the team’s 3 biggest Twitter targets for being the only ones on the scoresheet! I’m sure that means a lot to them.

What’d you say about my wine!?

Just a few minutes after the goal, Tim Gleason dropped the gloves with Tim Jackman. While it was a damn fun scrap to watch, it seemed to give Anaheim a spark and really changed the momentum in the game. In the ensuing 5 minutes, the Ducks scored two goals, one of them thanks to a horrible play by Rask, which would end up being all they’d need (and get) to win the game.

At the end of two periods, the shots were 29-13, and the team with the much higher total was losing. Just more fuel to the quality over quantity argument, and Coach Peters said as much in his post-game remarks. The Canes bench boss pointed out that Anaheim went to the net, made the greasy plays, and the Canes simply didn’t.

Remember in the first when Semin passed up a shot that many felt he should have taken? Well, a similar scenario happened in the third when I believe it was Lindholm (feel free to correct me) had a decent shot opportunity, a teammate driving the net, and one trailing who also had multiple defenders on him. Guess what happened. He passed it back to the guy who was covered by Ducks and any scoring chance was squashed. I have no idea why this team (yes, there are some exceptions) keeps trying to make the fancy play instead of the options that present themselves, but it’s damned frustrating.

The Good

Jeff Skinner: Good to see Jeff get a goal. Yes, he was on the ice for both Anaheim goals as well, but I don’t think there was much he could do on the first, and only Rask is to blame on the second (more on that later).  Skinner ended up with 7 shots on goal, and by some Festivus miracle, was also credited with 3 hits. It wasn’t a GREAT game from Skinner, but certainly an improvement over the last month or so.

Sod Farmers: Jordan was great on the draw last night, going 14/22, including winning 7 of 9 against Ryan Getzlaf. The top line was able to generate some of the better chances last night, and also played solid defense against Perry and Getzlaf (who, perhaps you’ve heard, are good at hockey).

The Bad: 

Victor Rask: It pains me to put him in this category just because of one play, considering he otherwise had a good game. But his decision to show off his sweet stick handling skills IN CAM WARD’S CREASE (#phrasing) was just awful. His dangling demo was interrupted by Matt Beleskey who potted the game winner by simply poke checking the puck away from Rask.  Victor’s a young guy, and he’ll learn from this, but DAMN!

That’s all I care to write about this one. For more details on how last night’s game went, just read any of the game recaps from December and they’ll probably line up pretty well.