Videos: Breaking down Carolina’s much-needed first win

Much of the focus from tonight’s Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes game will be on what the defending 2011 champions did wrong. That doesn’t seem very fair to the Canes, though, as they excelled in a few areas to eek out a 3-2 win, which is their first victory of 2011-12.

Hurricanes win special teams battle, especially shorthanded

Sure, the Bruins power play woes are continuing; they went 0-for-5 against the Hurricanes and are an ugly 1-for-18 so far this season. That shouldn’t totally take away from Carolina’s shorthanded efforts, though.

Check out this video breakdown of some of their better moments.

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Cam Ward comes up big

My feeling is that Ward would put up sexy numbers if he played behind a more responsible defense. That’s not the case, so he often carries a big burden to keep the Canes in games. His first two games weren’t very pretty, but he was a difference-maker tonight.

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Opportunistic offense

Finally, check out Ed Olczyk’s breakdown of how the Hurricanes scored tonight (and why they ultimately won). Their good work on offense combined with solid special teams work and strong goaltending for their first win of the season.

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Goal of the Night – Olli Jokinen (March 21)

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

The hockey world enjoys making fun of Olli Jokinen, but he’s been quietly effective since December. The oft-ridiculed center has 41 points in his last 51 games after getting only nine in his first 21 contests. That makes him something of a steal for the Flames, although we’ll have to see if he can keep up this momentum next season (the final year of his two-year, $6 million deal).

Either way, he’s been surprisingly effective for Calgary the last few months. Watch as he gathers a well-placed breakout pass from Cory Sarich and then buries a game-tying goal for the Flames. The Kings eventually won it, but not before Jokinen earned his team a charity point.

Video: Kris Letang changed positions in juniors, becomes an All-Star defenseman in NHL

If you look at Kris Letang’s full season numbers alone, it might be natural to think that he still has a chance to win the Norris Trophy. After all, it’s tough to scoff at a 46 point campaign, especially since there are plenty of games left.

Yet there shouldn’t be any doubt that he’s struggling quite a bit now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have been without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for a prolonged period of time. Still, those concerns are mainly in the short term. The bottom line is that Letang is a talented, young asset on the team’s blue line.

After watching the offensive defenseman skate, pass and shoot, it makes sense that he spent many of his hockey days as a forward. The video below details the fact that he changed positions as a teenager, moving from forward to defense. Several years later, he made the 2011 NHL All-Star team, so it looks like he made the right choice.

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Linus Omark wins his second straight Goal of the Week award (December 13-19)

(Note: you can still vote for the Save of the Week here.)

In his four-game NHL career, Edmonton Oilers prospect Linus Omark has one goal and three assists for four points.

Yet illogically enough, the flashy forward has more goal of the week victories than he has regulation goals. That’s because his first victory came on a dazzling shootout display that left many panties in a bunch (um, metaphorically?). Chances are, that tally will live on in “best [insert number] shootout goals” highlight packages for years.

Omark’s first “real” goal didn’t make a huge chunk of the hockey world angry like his shootout achievement did, but it was almost as fancy. He essentially created one of the most impressive self-passes to foil the Columbus Blue Jackets defense and goalie Steve Mason and please the goal-loving masses.

Check out the poll results below, as Omark narrowly bested Colorado Avalanche youngster Matt Duchene.

(click to enlarge)

Check out video of his award winning goal at the bottom of this post.

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Video: Last night’s four hat tricks

Last night we saw the ever rare grand slam of hat tricks around the NHL. Tomas Fleischmann netted three against Chicago, Nicklas Lidstrom earned his first career hat trick against St. Louis, while Buffalo’s Drew Stafford and Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler each scored all their team’s goals in wins over Boston and Columbus.

If it seems like there’s been a lot of players getting hat tricks this year, you’d be right as more than 35 players have each done the deed this season. To show our appreciation for the gratuitous show of offense, we give to you videos of all four of last night’s dynamic offensive play which includes seeing an overtime game-winner courtesy of Ryan Kesler.

Drew Stafford vs. Boston

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Nicklas Lidstrom vs. St. Louis

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Tomas Fleischmann vs. Chicago

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Ryan Kesler vs. Columbus

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