Barclay Goodrow has scored bigger goals in his postseason career than his game-winner Sunday night, to be sure. It’s tough to beat a Game 7 overtime winner, like the one he had in 2019, especially for a player who doesn’t typically score many.
It still felt pretty big to the Carolina Hurricanes, who should probably be wondering: Where’s their Barclay Goodrow now that they really need one?
Not the actual Goodrow, although they could have had him if they wanted him. He was a non-roster invitee to their 2011 summer development camp — so too, that July, was Torey Krug — which makes him one of a handful of NHLers to have seen the inside of the Polar Ice House.
That kind of thing happens all the time. The Hurricanes were one of four teams to pass on the undrafted Goodrow before the San Jose Sharks finally signed him as a free agent. If anything, Krug was really the one who got away.
But in 18 games against the Hurricanes, Goodrow has scored against the Hurricanes at about four times the rate he has against everyone else in his NHL career, and just as David Clarkson did in the 2009 playoffs, another non-roster temporary Hurricane who scored two postseason goals against the Hurricanes, Goodrow is coming back to haunt them.
Like Clarkson then and Goodrow now, the Hurricanes need, and have needed, someone other than their stars to chip in with some offense after falling behind 1-0 in their second-round series to the Tampa Bay Lightning when Goodrow caught Alex Nedeljkovic moving with a tight-angle shot in Sunday’s third period.
Goodrow helped the Lightning win a Stanley Cup last fall, and while he’s thought of as a grinder — Lightning coach Jon Cooper called him a Jeep on a team full of Ferraris — he has “some undercover skill,” as teammate Ryan McDonough put it.
“He usually doesn’t get his accolades from game-winning goals,” Cooper said. “He’s usually the guy stopping game-tying goals from happening. You’re really happy for guys who are true team-first players to get the opportunity to bask in a little of the limelight, which he deserves.”
In the past, that’s usually been Brock McGinn for the Hurricanes, scorer of a Game 7 overtime winner of his own, and he’s delivered this postseason with three goals and an assist, even earning a promotion to the Hurricanes’ top line at one point.
But McGinn can’t stop there, and he certainly can’t do it alone.
The Hurricanes’ stars essentially fought the Lightning’s stars to a draw Sunday night, and it’s reasonable to expect that battle to remain roughly even given the talent on both sides. (And if the Hurricanes lose the goaltending battle again, all of this is moot anyway.) But this series could be decided by the players further down the roster, and in Game 1 that edge went to Tampa.
One bad shift by the fourth line — at the time, Cedric Paquette, Warren Foegele and Steven Lorentz — and one failed clear by Jani Hakanpaa and home-ice advantage slipped away from the Hurricanes. None of those four saw the ice again in the final seven minutes and change.
While the scoring woes of Niederreiter, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen get most of the attention —and deservedly so — the Hurricanes have received a total of one goal from Foegele, Paquette, Lorentz, Jesper Fast and Jordan Martinook.
It’s unfair to expect those guys to score — and Martinook in particular has been a physical force — it would be a lot cooler if they did, to quote a famous Dallas Stars fan. The Hurricanes may yet need a surprise goal from one of them, or yet another from McGinn, as they struggle to unlock Andrei Vasilevskiy.
It’s not complicated. The Hurricanes aren’t going to win many games with one goal. More scoring has to come from somewhere.
Rod Brind’Amour, on Monday, was vague about any potential changes, but the Hurricanes have to shake something loose. The Lightning got a goal from someone and somewhere entirely unpredictable and unexpected Sunday.
The Hurricanes need a wild card of their own.