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Khudobin, Luongo steal wins on Tuesday

Mar 19, 2014, 1:41 AM EST

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers Getty Images

Almost – if not every – NHL team is guilty of taking its feet off the accelerator to at least some extent to preserve a win. Call it “going into a shell” or “playing not to lose,” but plenty of head coaches would rather go into prevent defense mode instead of trying to enhance a lead.

Tuesday just happened to provide two of the starkest examples of such practices, and for those who cringe at such tactics, the troubling part is that both the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers were rewarded with wins in the process. Let’s take a simplistic look at what happened:

The Florida Panthers enter the third period against the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 lead

  • The Sharks scored once on 29 shots in the third period and lost 3-2 overall. Roberto Luongo made 52 out of 54 saves.
  • To be fair, the Sharks received four power-play opportunities in that final frame. Still, teams tend to take penalties when they exert such limited pressure that they only fire two shots on goal in a period.
  • Overall, the Panthers fired 24 shots on net. Yes, that’s less than what San Jose generated in the third period. The Sharks fired 30 more shots on goal overall.

The Carolina Hurricanes go into the third period with a 3-0 lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Kirk Muller says losing is for losers, but maybe winning isn’t necessarily for shooters. They didn’t register a single shot on goal in the third period.
  • Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets fired 19 shots on goal in that final frame, with Boone Jenner being the only player who could beat Anton Khudobin all night. Carolina managed to cling to that lead and win 3-1.
  • Unlike the Panthers, the Hurricanes at least technically aren’t completely out of the playoff picture, even if their chances are very slim (tonight’s win bumps them to 1.6 percent odds, according to Sports Club Stats). Still, unlike the other game, the gap between teams doesn’t seem that pronounced; Columbus now has seven more standings points than Carolina while San Jose has 37 more than Florida. The Hurricanes even approached the Blue Jackets’ shot total in the second period, as Columbus only held a 17-15 advantage.
  • Khudobin finished with 46 saves.

***

It’s tough to say if it’s the best bet to play conservatively or aggressively, but these two contests might embolden a coach or two to lean all the way toward the former.

  1. blomfeld - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    MUCHAS GRACIAS EL PARASITO !

    Parasite: an organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

    Too funny, as tonight two of my favorite targets for ‘amusement’ have helped to make it still possible that we Kings will be Pacific Division Champions after all … you just gotta love it man ! :)

    *** special ‘thank you’ video for El Parasito and all Panther friends ***

    • machosasquatcho - Mar 19, 2014 at 2:29 AM

      You’re a parasite, you mongoloid.

  2. sjsharks66 - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Sorry Blomfeld, absolutely no way the Kings can win the Pacific. The only change in the division will be if the Sharks take the first spot. Other then that the Pacific will stay as is.

    • nightfireop - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      don’t take blomfield seriously, and not all kings fans are like him.

  3. sjsharks66 - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    Also, what a game for Luongo! Very impressive win for himself.

  4. jennettalia - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Toronto knew they liked Luongo for a reason.

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