The Carolina Hurricanes are going to have a tough time winning the Southeast Division if they can not win the majority of their division games. Last night's loss to Florida gives them a 3-5 divisional record. While they are 2-0 against Tampa Bay and have split games so far with Florida, they have yet to beat Washington or Atlanta in four attempts.
Coach Laviolette seemed happier with last night's effort, but it was not good enough to overcome the last place Panthers. As we mentioned yesterday on the blog, Florida coach Peter DeBoer called out his team. They obviously responded and seemed to have more jump than the Canes did, especially in the opening period while taking a 2-0 lead.
In the second period, the Hurricanes turned it on and kept pressure in the Florida zone for several minutes. They shot the puck and crashed the net, a simple recipe for success. The only problem is, the club does not seem to do it often enough.
Tuomo Ruutu scored the team's first goal on a rebound, and Chad LaRose scored the next, also on a rebound/loose puck in close. Once the score was tied, the team eased off a bit and Florida picked up steam. The Panthers scored what would eventually be the game winner with just a couple of minutes left in the period.
In the third period, the team could only muster seven shots on goal while playing from behind and did not seem as desperate as they needed to be. In the final 36 seconds, even with a two-man (6-4) advantage, the Canes could not get any decent shots on net and mysteriously were still passing the puck as time expired.
The loss gives the Canes a two game losing streak as they come back home to face the Flyers tomorrow night.
Should they start taking the ice for their "pregame skates" or maintain their non-ice workouts? Should the coaches scramble up the lines again? The team's three game winning streak is now a thing of the past and a tough stretch of games is coming up.
Joni Pitkanen was given a jolt up high last night and left the game early. No word on his status yet.
Tim Gleason reportedly is feeling better, but there is no word about his return.
Amazingly, the Hurricanes did not get called for a single penalty the entire game. Unfortunately, that meant Brandon Sutter only got about seven minutes of ice time.
Matt Cullen doesn't seem to mesh well with Bayda and LaRose, and Brind'Amour seems a step or two slow. How about they switch lines? Or maybe even allow Sutter to center Bayda and LaRose?