For the moment, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to be a snake-bitten hockey team while competing at the RBC. After playing the Anaheim Ducks to a draw in the opening period last night, they completely dominated them in the second period, outshooting the Ducks 17-3.
They hit the post, they missed pointblank chances, they even had the puck behind the goalie rolling in the crease. They did everything but score. But once again, their inability to get the puck into the net when they had their opportunities, cost the team a valid chance at winning.
In the all-important third period, the Ducks were given a two-man advantage on what the Hurricanes felt were "marginal" calls. The Canes were able to kill the first of the two penalties, but couldn't kill the second as Chris Pronger shot his patented blast toward the net that Teemu Selanne tipped in for the game winner.
The momentum shifted and the wheels fell off for the Canes as the Ducks would score twice more before the final horn mercifully sounded.
Anaheim played like a team on a roll and they took advantage of their opportunities. Carolina played like a team nursing a losing streak with a heavy weight on their shoulders, and they tightened up when things didn't go their way. It's funny how one team will get bounces some nights and another team does not.
Last night the Canes sure didn't get any.
While the effort was certainly commendable for the first two periods, a few things continue to plague this team.
- They fell behind 1-0 for the 10th game in a row.
- Their powerplay was ineffective, (0-4) and is now 1-34 in the last eight games.
- The team "leaders" did not lead. The third line, (Cullen) came through with the only score for the Canes.
Carolina now has a few days off before the next game on Thursday night. They most assuredly need the rest. Currently, their home record is 6-7 and they have lost three in a row at the RBC. Perhaps they can put the recent results in the rear view mirror and start the month of December on a new note?
Things will not get any easier though as the Penguins will be the next team to visit.
Notes from the peanut gallery-
Cam Ward left after the first period with an assumed groin problem. Peter Laviolette mentioned after the game that it's not known how serious it is, but they would closely monitor the situation.
Nic Wallin reportedly was ill between periods after receiving a high hit. He might be suffering from an "unofficial" concussion.
Patrick Eaves had one of his better games, led the team with four hits, and had several decent shots on net.
Chad LaRose got some well deserved powerplay time.
The Canes continue to allow too many odd-man rushes and breakaways. As John Forslund noted after the game, that is rarely supposed to happen, but the Canes seem to allow a few every game.
The game was not televised by either franchise, shutting out fans, even those who paid for Center Ice. I mentioned this before when the Canes played Atlanta that the NHL should require one team or the other to pick up their games. It's inexcusable in this day and age for the NHL to allow games not to be televised.