My all-time favorite movie turned 20 years old this week, and seeing as Our Special Boy was the one to score the game-winning goal tonight, it seemed appropriate to recall this piece of wisdom from the other Jeffrey Lebowski, the millionaire. To the bullets:
–The Hawks got killed in possession and shots tonight, so even those who played well (more to come on that) seemed like they had a dismal night if you just look at those stats (so don’t bother). We’re used to the Hawks dominating in those numbers while still managing to lose, but tonight they had a 37.5, 22.2, and 36.7 CF% in each period. Added to that, for most of the game the Canes had double or more than the number of shots that the Hawks did. The Hawks barely got to over half the amount of Canes’ shots, finishing with 24 to 40. Now, given the Canes’ consistency in giving up so few chances, I can’t say I’m exactly shocked by this. The fact that the Hawks only managed 24 shots but scored twice really drives home the point that Scott Darling has been quite bad.
–On that note, J-F Berube stole the show, and except for the one number that matters most, he led in every metric both qualitative and quantitative. I should point out that the first respective goals for each team couldn’t really be pinned on either goalie. Jurco tipped in a monstrous, classic Seabrook shot from the point, and a few minutes later Lindholm did exactly the same off Slavin’s own very Seabrookian shot. Redirects are tough to deal with. However, the second Hawks goal demonstrated what second-rate goaltending will get you. Sharp’s goal was all thanks to Duclair wresting the puck from under Darling’s pads, who then proceeded to completely lose his positioning which allowed a clumsily falling Sharp to put it in the open net.
Berube, on the other hand, finished the night with a .925 SV% after facing 40 shots. Williams just beat him one-on-one in the second, when today’s spotlight Justin Faulk sprung him the perfect pass as he left the box, and there also wasn’t much Berube could do on Aho’s power play goal off Finnish Jesus’ shot. All of this is to say that Berube’s positioning was far superior to Darling’s all night, and he had pretty saves throughout the game, with both the pads and the glove, which kept this from being an embarrassment. Notable among those were his stops in the third on Staal at point-blank range, and Skinner who, every time they said his name I just heard “Skinner, Skinner, faster than liiiiiightning…”
–Anthony Duclair had a strong performance, and I honestly was confused whether having Foley and Eddie say complimentary things about him during the broadcast was some kind of reverse-motherfuck, or if they were genuinely praising him and not following a script. This is how many strands are in old Duder’s head. But the point is, Duclair’s persistence in the crease led to the second goal, and he and Sharp had moments of chemistry. Granted, Duclair fumbled a pass at his feet when he had Darling one-on-one, and he botched a pass to Kampf in the same sequence. But, for being on the fourth line he was on the puck consistently, had a few shots and an assist. If you’re trying to work your way back up after a demotion, making Patrick Sharp look serviceable is a pretty nice feat.
–Of course Teuvo’s shot was the one that won the game. I know Aho is credited with the goal but it was yet another redirect. And it seemed destined to happen, but it still hurts.
The Hurricanes are fighting for a playoff spot, and with the exception of TVR, I can’t really root against any of the Parade of Former Hawks. So good for them, good for Our Special Boy, and good for Berube who still comes out looking decent from all this. Onward and upward.