Hurricanes 2-0 in preseason, beating Tampa Bay again

View The Original Article Here

Quick observations from the Carolina Hurricanes’ 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday in the second preseason game for both teams at PNC Arena.

— Was the pressure already on Scott Darling? Not in preseason, but goalie Petr Mrazek performed well Tuesday in his first outing for the Canes, stopping all nine shots against a veteran Tampa Bay lineup in the Canes’ 4-1 win at Amalie Arena.

It was Darling’s net Wednesday for half the game and he did his part, making 16 saves before leaving midway through the second period for Callum Booth. The Lightning came inches from scoring in the first, the puck getting through Darling, but he recovered quick enough to collect the puck near the goal line and steadied as the period wore on.

Call it a first test passed for Darling. There will be more.

— Martin Necas should be a fun player to watch. The Canes’ center has a quick first step and instant acceleration, and impressive playmaking skills.

Playing Wednesday with Teuvo Teravainen and Warren Foegele, Necas scored a second-period goal on a redirection of a Justin Faulk shot and set up Teravainen and Foegele for scoring chances with well-placed passes.

Necas was lean 18-year-old a year ago and sent back to his native Czech Republic for further development in the top Czech league. He said he came to Canes camp last September at 176 pounds. At 6-2 and 192 pounds, he’s noticeably bigger in the arms and shoulders and growing into his body.

— Brind’Amour has said not to read too much into his defensive pairings in training camp, but Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton could be the Canes’ top pair. Calvin de Haan and Faulk are a good fit. Haydn Fleury and Trevor van Riemsdyk were solid Tuesday in Tampa.

Hamilton, who scored in the second period on a bullet from the right circle, appears so smooth on the ice and uses his long reach well. Faulk appears to be playing with more confidence.

— Important game for Foegele, Janne Kuokkanen and Saku Maenalanen and they didn’t disappoint.

Kuokkanen stood out. The Finn played on a line with Jordan Staal and Justin Williams, scoring on a first-period power play off a perfect setup pass from Williams as he beat Tampa Bay’s Andy Andreoff to the net. He later earned a power-play assist as Micheal Ferland followed up the long rebound of a Kuokkanen shot.

Canes fans remember Foegele scoring in his NHL debut late last season after being called up from Charlotte and the AHL. He could find a place on the Canes roster with his hustle, energy and determination. Very good on the penalty kill and a shorthanded threat.

Maenalanen, signed as a free agent in May out of the Finnish elite league, is a big man who can skate and showed some feistiness in the game. He’s playing in North America for the first time, with some adjustments to be made.

— Canes owner Tom Dundon was on hand before the game as team personnel collected donated items for the Hurricane Florence Relief Drive. Dundon, while interacting with fans, said he didn’t expect any slippage in the Canes’ game Wednesday. There was none.

— Nice to see Victor Rask in good spirits as he as the Swedish center watched the game with some of his Canes teammates from the press level.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Rask said he sliced into his right hand cutting sweet potatoes, noting the hand surgery went well. Jokingly told he probably needed stay out of the kitchen, Rask smiled and said he had hired someone to do the cooking for him.