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Prospects Showcase Recap: Suzuki Leads Canes Past Bolts

Suzuki tallies five points (1g, 4a) in 7-4 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

NASHVILLE - The Carolina Hurricanes bounced back in the second game of the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase with a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ryan Suzuki tallied a game-high five points (1g, 4), while 10 other Hurricanes found the scoresheet.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday evening's tilt.

1. A Better All-Around Effort

After a lopsided 10-3 loss to the Washington Capitals in the opening game of the showcase, head coach Ryan Warsofsky's message was simple: Focus on getting better.

The Hurricanes did just that in virtually all facets of their second game. They controlled the pace of play from the drop of the puck, grabbed a lead and held onto that lead for the balance of the contest.

"100 percent. Way better. I thought our compete was good. I thought our desperation was better," Warsofsky said. "The one thing that was really lacking was our desperation, and that was really good tonight."

The message heading into a practice day on Monday and Tuesday's finale doesn't waver, especially as the team will look to clean up some mistakes in its own end.

"This is why they're here: to get better," Warsofsky said. "Tomorrow, we'll look to get better again. Every time we're in that room or on the ice, we have a chance to get better."

2. Suzuki Steps Up

When Ryan Suzuki was available for the taking at 28th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Hurricanes were ecstatic. They had him ranked much higher on their draft board, and he showed why he possesses that first-round talent on Sunday.

Suzuki sparked the Hurricanes' offense with a goal and four assists.

"The puck was just following me around tonight," Suzuki said. "I think the whole game I just tried to move my feet as much as I could. Everything just clicked."

Suzuki opened the scoring in the first period when he located a rebound at the top of the crease and banged the puck in. He capped off a stellar performance with three assists in the third period.

"He was engaged," Warsofsky said. "He was proactive with his feet and got going a little bit quicker. I thought he did a nice job of that."

3. Shootout Prowess

At the end of each game in the Prospects Showcase, regardless of the score, a five-player shootout takes place. The Canes didn't have much luck in the skills competition on Saturday, but they scored on four of five shots in Sunday's shootout - not that it counts for anything.

Suzuki, in addition to what he did during the actual game, added another goal for good measure in the shootout.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: In addition to totaling five points (1g, 4a), Ryan Suzuki scored on this nifty backhander in the postgame funsies shootout. pic.twitter.com/UgRFnVZt72

4. Making Adjustments

Suzuki didn't have a great outing in the first game of the Showcase. Not many on the Hurricanes' roster did. There are perhaps a few reasons for that, one being that this is the first time a number of these players have been exposed to playing hockey at an elevated level. That game was eye-opening in a sense.

"[Suzuki] was shocked by it and surprised by it, but you saw tonight how good of a player he is," Warsofsky said.

Suzuki met with Warsofsky on Sunday morning to digest video from the first game. That meeting, he said, provided a springboard for his productive evening.

"The biggest thing for me was I just had to have a good start," he said. "You can't take a breath. That's what coach has been saying. You can't take a breath or they're just going to jump right on you."

"He's a first-rounder. He's expected to light up the scoresheet, and sometimes it doesn't go that way. It's not that easy," Warsofsky said. "He's a young kid who is learning. He's going to get better and better every day. We had a nice meeting this morning. He understood what it takes to play at this level."

5. Bean vs. Everyone

One player who is already comfortable at this level and playing head and shoulders above everyone else is defenseman Jake Bean, who played two games with the Hurricanes in addition to a full season with the Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers.

It might sound strange to call a 21-year-old a veteran, but that's what Bean is at this level. It's the little things that set him apart.

In a particular sequence in the second period, Bean skated behind the net to retrieve a puck. He got a Lightning attacker to bite hard on the rim. Instead, Bean settled the puck and skated it out of harm's way in open ice.

Later, he eyed Chase Priskie cutting toward the net and put a pass on his tape for an easy tap-in goal on the power play.

"He sees the ice at an extremely high level. One of the best we saw in the American League last year," Warsofsky said. "He's confident. He can make plays at a high level and high speed. I think his vision really supports the rest of his game."

Up Next

The Hurricanes will close their three-game slate in the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase when they face off with the host Nashville Predators on Tuesday at 2 p.m. (ET).

2019 NHL Prospects Showcase
Saturday, Sept. 7 2 p.m. Capitals 10, Hurricanes 3
Sunday, Sept. 8 5 p.m. Hurricanes 7, Lightning 4
Tuesday, Sept. 10 2 p.m. Hurricanes vs. Predators
DATE TIME (ET) MATCH-UP
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