It’s an old nugget of hockey wisdom: if you don’t score on a 5-on-3, you don’t win the game.
But is it true?
It sure seems like it lately. The Brandon-Sutter-inspired kill in last Tuesday’s win over Montreal and the Canes’ 0-2 showing in the first period of yesterday’s loss against Nashville were both crucial to the game’s eventual outcome.
However, the body of work over the entire season shows they aren’t as do-or-die as you might think.
Although they’re now 0-8 on the season with the two-man advantage, the Canes are merely mediocre at 3-4-0 when they don’t convert. When the opposition takes care of business, which they’ve done four of eleven times, the Hurricanes actually have a winning record at 2-1-1.
The second game of the season was a double-whammy. Tampa Bay scored on a 5-on-3 to put the Canes down 3-0, and Carolina followed that by missing a chance of their own. Carolina still came back to win the game in overtime.
So don’t call it game over the next time there’s a 5-on-3 in a Hurricanes game (that’s bound to be soon, seeing as how there’s been a two-man advantage for one team or the other in 15 of the Canes’ 21 games). Sure, the goal helps, but what goal doesn’t?
Another piece of conventional wisdom has proven to be true this season – the best way to bounce back from a tough loss is to play the very next night. The Canes are a perfect 3-0-0 on the second half of back-to-back games this season, despite only going 1-3-0 in the first halves – a trend they’ll hope to continue tonight in Florida.Patrick Dwyer
is in for Patrick Eaves, who is out with an undisclosed injury but was seen in a sling after yesterday’s game. Former Cane Cory Stillman is out with a concussion, as is defenseman Nick Boynton.