TAMPA - The Carolina Hurricanes opened their six-game preseason schedule with a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in Tampa.
Max McCormick, Lucas Wallmark and Colin Markison tallied for the Hurricanes, while James Reimer and Anton Forsberg combined for the 15-save shutout.
Here are five takeaways from the preseason opener.
1. The Process
The preseason, like training camp, is all about the process, the process of coming together as a team and establishing an identity in time for the 82-game marathon of the regular season.
Last season, under first-year head coach Rod Brind'Amour, the Hurricanes were known to be a hard-working bunch. That identity did not fade in this first game of the preseason.
"I've got to be honest with you, that's one of the better preseason games I've been a part of," Brind'Amour said. "Guys were committed. They did a nice job, top to bottom. It was tough to find a guy you would say didn't contribute. That's pretty good."
Despite icing a rather inexperienced lineup, the Hurricanes were far and away the better team, due in large part to their stout work ethic.
"You can be in every game if you play hard away from the puck. If you eliminate their scoring chances, you've got a chance every night. That's what happened tonight," Brind'Amour said. "It's a preseason game and it counts for nothing, but the process of how we want is what's important."
Wins and losses are ultimately irrelevant in the preseason, but a victory is certainly better the alternative, no matter the time of year.
"It doesn't matter if it's preseason, Game 7, the regular season or if you're just playing shinny, you want to win. It feels good to win," James Reimer said. "You want to shake the rust off, too, and be ready when it matters."
2. Reimer Starts Strong
James Reimer faced just eight shots in nearly 33 minutes of game action, but when tested, the newest Hurricanes' netminder was sharp.
"A lot of rust on there from the summer. You want to come out there, work hard, work on your game and be good," he said. "You want to start getting into that rhythm, seeing the puck, reading plays and talking. It's always nice when you don't let any in. The guys played great."
The lack of work for Reimer is a testament to the Canes' worth ethic, especially away from the puck in limiting opportunities for a Tampa Bay lineup that included Steven Stamkos.
"You don't mind seeing only a few shots if they're not grade A opportunities. We handled them pretty well," Reimer said. "I thought the guys worked incredibly hard. They were dialed in, battling, skating and hustling."
3. Forsberg Finishes It Off
Anton Forsberg relieved Reimer in net just past the midway point of the second period, and though he entered the game cold, he turned away all seven shots he faced (all at even-strength) to complete the team's shutout.
"When we had our breakdowns, they were there. That's what you need in goalies," Brind'Amour said. "Both of them played really well."
"Both of them had a great game," Wallmark said. "It's not easy when you don't have so many shots on you, but they both looked good."
4. McCormick Nets the First
It didn't take long for a pair of new faces to make an impact in the preseason for the Hurricanes.
Max McCormick crashed the net to deposit a rebound off a Brian Gibbons shot just 79 seconds into the game. Either of those players figures to be high in the mix of forwards competing to be just outside of the top 12 on the depth chart.
"They were buzzing. That's what they're known to do," Brind'Amour said. "You could tell they brought a little energy for us, and it was nice they contributed."
5. Tic Tac Power-Play Goal
In preseason game No. 1, the Canes' top forward line consisted of Jordan Martinook, Wallmark and Brock McGinn, a trio that was also prominently featured on the power play.
On a third period man advantage, the Canes moved the puck up the ice with speed. Martinook fed McGinn, who drove the middle of the ice. As he attracted a pair of defenders, McGinn laid the puck off for Wallmark, who scored on a quick snap shot.
"We had a good breakout. We created a good opportunity, and it was nice to score," Wallmark said. "Our line had some good chances during the game. It was a fun goal."
"What liked about that was we said, 'They're going to pressure us. Let's move it up quick.' We did. We caught an odd-man rush, and we scored," Brind'Amour said. "It's about the process. The guys made some adjustments and played hard. I liked it."
The Lightning and Hurricanes will square off again back in Raleigh on Wednesday night.
"We can build a lot on this. We are trying to build on last year and take another step," Wallmark said. "This game showed that we're going in the right direction right away."
"I want to see the same effort. That's the key. It's about the process and how to play," Brind'Amour said. "Now, you're not so concerned with the end result, but it's about how you get to it is what we're all about."