Hurricanes Find Power Play Juice

The Carolina Hurricanes plugged in their power play Monday night in their game against the Detroit Red Wings and finally found the juice. Their man-advantage has been more like a big-city blackout since the start of the season, but the Hurricanes finally found the switch that turned on the current and lit the lamp in the Motor City…twice.

The Red Wings are going through their own set of challenges as they try to rebuild their team. It’s not important who the Hurricanes were playing or who they scored on to break the blackout. Getting power play goals from Justin Faulk and Michael Ferland was exactly what this team needed.

Justin Faulk
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman, Justin Faulk (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hurricanes Power Play Blackout

While there has been a lot to talk about and be excited about so far this season regarding the Hurricanes – their “young guns” having fun, their fast-paced offense, and the team’s overall response to the leadership of new head coach Rod Brind’Amour, the power play blackout has been an area of concern.

Before Monday night’s tilt with the Red Wings, the Hurricanes had gone an abysmal 2-31 on the man advantage. Against the Red Wings, they were able to score twice what amount, getting two on the power play which moved them to 4-33. Nobody is cheering that statistic, but being able to light the lamp a couple of times on special teams felt like power being restored in one’s home after it has been out for a while.

The feeling of, “Whew, I’m glad the blackout is over,” is universal. When the power is not flowing everyone is glad it is restored. But, like an aftershock can interrupt the good feeling one gets when there has been an earthquake, and nothing has shaken for a bit and it appears to be over, sometimes the lights go out again. Before the flashlights and candles are put away, it’s good to wait and evaluate if the power is back on for good.

Faulk Flips the Switch for the Power Play

It was Justin Faulk who flipped the power play switch and the juice flowed for the ‘Canes as he scored with the man advantage.

For those who care to remember, it was not that long ago that Faulk was the go-to anchor for the team’s power play. To start the 2015 season, he blasted in several of his trademark long-range bombs – 12 in a row to be exact as Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer wrote before the 2016 season:

“Faulk, beginning his sixth NHL season, is coming off a year he called “OK.” Faulk scored 12 goals – all on the power play, an interesting anomaly – in the first 30 games of the season, then finished with a career-high 16.” (From “Canes’ Faulk on track despite missing spot on US Team” – News & Observer – 9/12/16).

In the wake of all of the trade talk that surrounded Faulk during this offseason, Faulk has remained steady. He is playing solid defense and is still a leader on the Hurricanes, despite no longer wearing the “C.” His power play goal was huge in breaking the blackout on this part of the Hurricanes’ special teams.

Ferland Doubles Up on the Power Play

Just to make sure that the juice was still flowing, Michael Ferland scored another power play goal for the Hurricanes in the second period against the Red Wings:

Ferland has been a huge addition to the Hurricanes, coming over from the Calgary Flames with Dougie Hamilton and the rights to Adam Fox in exchange for Hurricanes’ all-star defenseman Noah Hanifin and forward Elias Lindholm. All eyes were on Hamilton who is definitely proving to be a vital part of the team’s defense.

While Ferland was behind Hamilton in the headlines regarding the trade with the Flames, he has surged to the top of the Hurricanes’ goal-scoring list, leading the team with six goals through nine games played. A couple of weeks ago, Andrew Ahr noted at that, “A lot of this offense has been fueled by new acquisitions, particularly ones that weren’t considered blockbuster. Micheal Ferland has been an invaluable third member on the Sebastian Aho/Teuvo Teravainen line.”

Faulk and Ferland lit the lamp and got the power back in the Hurricanes’ power play. Does this mean the dry spell is over or just a surge that will quickly go away? This Friday night the team will find out against the visiting San Jose Sharks.