Dating back to the worst of their offensive woes in the first half of the season, the Canes have been talking about wanting to score more ugly goals through screens, redirects and rebounds.
For that being the objective, they sure are scoring a lot of pretty ones lately.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Joe Corvo’s overtime winner against Florida, Eric Staal’s coast-to-coast effort at Atlanta, and a pair of beauties by Corvo and Sergei Samsonov in the team’s last game at home to the Thrashers.
Despite the team stuffing the highlight reel lately, coach Paul Maurice said that the message hasn’t changed.
“We’re trying to score the other kind, and that’s usually when you score the pretty ones,” he said. “When your focus is to score them ugly, get pucks to the net and do it simple, all of the sudden seams and holes open up that you can’t believe. But if you go out and you’re looking for those, the other team just stands in the middle of the ice and you get nothing and everybody’s frustrated."
A few of those goals from the group mentioned above, most notably Staal’s and Corvo’s against Atlanta, can be attributed in part to a larger commitment to puck possession. Both players brought the puck into the offensive zone with speed and held onto it rather than dumping it in and giving chase.
Despite the run of flashy goals, Maurice said he believes the ugly ones will still be the key to beating some of the Eastern Conference’s more defensive teams.
“We’re not trying to take away their creativity,” he said. “We’re trying to generate offense when there’s really no offense there. Boston and New Jersey take away the core off the ice and there’s nothing to be had off the rush, so it’s got to go to the net and something else might happen. That’s what we’re trying to do.”