Well, That Was a Weekend!
Starting this past Friday, or Thursday if you want to get technical about it, the Canes hit the road for their annual tour of North America While The NC State Fair Is In Town ™. Prior to packing their bags for Detroit, the team looked flatter than Stanley against Florida, and a jolt of energy was most certainly needed. That jolt came in the form of the 6 foot, 185 pound forward better known as OUR CLIENT, BRRRROOCK MCGINN!
Even better than just a call-up and typical 3rd/4th line minutes that are handed to Checkers showing up in Raleigh, OUR CLIENT was tossed on the top line with Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg. It made sense, almost too much sense. Brock McGinn scored 2 goals in Charlotte, and his penchant for hitting and playing a powerful, agitating game is just what this team, and the captain, needs.
Did it pay off? You damn right it paid off! McGinn scored his first NHL goal just 55 seconds into his career. The last person to do it any quicker was Alexander Mogilny, and he turned out to be alright. Am I in any way suggesting McGinn will be Mogilny 2.0? No, because I’m not on crack.
— Mike Sundheim (@MikeSundheim) October 17, 2015
While that would be the only goal of the opening period in the Motor City, the Canes kept control going on their way to outshooting the Wings 13-5 thru 20 minutes. However, in a span of just over 6 minutes in the second, Justin Faulk banged home a beauty of a PPG, and Eric Staal chipped in another to put the Canes up 3-0. Easy game, right?
C’mon, this is still October! Later on in the second period, Carolina gave up 2 goals in just over a minute making things slightly more complicated heading into the 3rd. Thankfully the 3rd played out more like the first: Canes outshot Detroit 10-4, and more importantly ouscored them 2-1.
That’s right, the Canes won 5-3, giving Carolina their first October win since 2013, and really their first win without being out of the playoff picture in nearly 2 seasons.
So that’s the good news. Bad news: the team turned in a clunker in Washington. If you wanted to relive Tuesday’s game against Florida but deleted it from your DVR, lucky day.
Cam Ward got the start in Washington on the heels of a mostly successful Friday. While I’d prefer giving Lack more time to play early on this season, I also am in favor of letting a guy play the night after a win, particularly when it was the team’s first win of the year.
To save people from vomiting, I won’t go into much detail about Saturday’s contest, but it was a lot of getting outshot, outhustled, and outplayed. Also, like the Florida game, despite giving up 4 goals, one can’t really put this on the goalie when the team in front of him is so flat.
Brock McGinn: Hell of a debut, with a goal and a helper on the scoresheet. His energy was noticed and certainly played a role in everyone on his line scoring a goal Friday night. Hell, Peters tried putting McGinn on other lines briefly just to see if his energy would transfer via Brockmosis™ .
Eric Staal: Speaking of strong efforts, Friday was what we all want to see from the captain. He played center, and was seemingly motivated to show the coaching staff that he’s better at the pivot than the wing. After a goal, 2 assists, and the fireman’s helmet, he certainly made a strong argument.
Justin Faulk: He does hockey really well. His PPG on Friday gave him a 4-game point streak to start the season, which, because it was talked about so much, came to an end in Washington the next night.
Kris Versteeg: Another beneficiary of Brockmosis™, Verbeauty matched Eric Staal with a goal and 2 helpers in Motown Friday night.
Noah Hanifin: Was 3rd on the Canes in TOI Saturday at just over 20 minutes. He’s not on the scoresheet much if at all, and ordinarily I wouldn’t point out his game if it weren’t for his passing. Seriously, if you’re new to hockey or have been watching since Truman was in office, watch the way Hanifin passes the puck. Whether it’s an in-zone buddy pass or an outlet to the wing, it’s almost always right on the tape. He’s the best passer on the team, and it’s not even close.
That’s all for the weekend. Load up on beverages and caffeine (old-school Four Loko, anyone?) this week as the Canes don’t see a puck drop before 10:00 EST.