By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
We can debate the reasons why if you want, but Dougie Hamilton simply isn't playing sharp hockey for the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final against his former team. Needing to be one of their key defenders against the deep, tough Bruins forwards, Hamilton has been sloppy and unfocused. Sometimes reckless.
And with the Canes trailing 2-1 in the final minute of Game 3, threatening a tie against Tuukka Rask, Hamilton forced them into a faceoff outside the zone when he illegally high-sticked a fluttering puck.
All he needed to do was glove it down. Instead, this:
The Hurricanes got their chances after Hamilton's gaffe. But the mistake stopped Carolina's momentum right in its tracks. It gifted the Bruins a quick breather at the most important time of the game. A relatively small play, but a careless one.
Hamilton's night didn't go much better otherwise. He led the team with six shots on goal, tied with fellow poop sandwich enthusiast Justin Williams. But per Natural Stat Trick, none of Hamilton's shot attempts fell into the "high-danger" category. On multiple occasions Hamilton fired futile slappers from the point toward a wide-open Rask for easy stops.
He can't take low-percentage shots like that if he has any hope of solving a goaltender that's playing the best, most clutch hockey of his career. And he most certainly can't be high-sticking pucks when he could have knocked it down with his glove, costing the Hurricanes precious time when they were running out of it.
That play epitomizes how Hamilton has played. Game 3 was a slipshod effort in what's been an oil spill of a series for Hamilton and his team.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].