My excitement for the start of Carolina Hurricanes hockey abruptly turned to anger after a first period in which the Hurricanes allowed the Florida Panthers to score four goals. After that outburst, the ‘Canes managed to calm the Panthers down but still obviously got crushed 5-1 in a disappointing opening. There’s no doubt that the Panthers are a great team and at a different level than the ‘Canes, but you’d like to keep it within three goals.
Second-year defenseman Justin Faulk played in 25 minutes and got off three shots on goal with an assist in an excellent game. He showed us a lot as a rookie, and Faulk continues to play at a high level for a young defenseman. Faulk also chipped in a blocked shot.
When you outshoot your opponent 42-25 you should win, and I think you have to put the blame on Cam Ward and just tip your cap off to the Panthers for converting on power play opportunities.
Drayson Bowman was the most valuable player on the ‘Canes in the losing effort with five shots on goal, but it was fellow winger Pat Dwyer who netted the away team’s lone goal.
Jordan Staal was a little bit disappointing in his debut with no points and just two shots on target in a game in which he looked anonymous. It’s tough to take out anything from this game, other than Bowman and Faulk looked solid.
The Florida Panthers received two goals from elite defenseman Brian Campbell, and Jonathan Huberdeau and Alex Kovalev added a goal and two assists each to spearhead the Panthers scoring outburst.
Those three players were light years ahead of everyone else on the ice, and the Hurricanes couldn’t take advantage of six power plays. They simply could not convert when they needed to despite outshooting their opponents, and Ward really had an off game in the opener. I’m not considered, though, and it seems like he always struggles against Florida too.
Man, Huberdeau had one heckuva of a game for the Panthers. Is it too early to think that he is going to be a star for those guys soon?
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.