Two desperate teams met in Scotiabank Place last night, but only one team played like it. The Hurricanes fell behind early and could never put the foot on the gas enough to get much going while losing to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 5-1.
The team came out with pretty good energy in the first period, but fell behind because of a couple of major errors in their own end. The first was when Dennis Seidenberg went to double team Jason Spezza who then found a wide open Dany Heatley. The next goal came off of a Nic Wallin turnover.
Down 2-0 in the second, Joe Corvo tried to make a game of it with another of his patented blasts against his former team. He might be wishing he could play against the Sens every night. But other than that goal, there was not much positive happening for the Hurricanes. The home team pummeled Carolina goalie Cam Ward with 23 shots during that period and the netminder was equal to the task right up until the last few seconds when Heatley bothered him in the crease and he was unable to stop a shot by Antoine Vermette.
Ward was looking for an interference call on the play, but none was provided.
Given their situation, the Canes could have come out loaded for bear in the final period, but apparently that late goal in the previous period sucked the life out of the team. Even though they were behind by a score of 3-1, they could only muster three harmless shots on goal the rest of the way.
The Hurricanes now have lost three in a row and look much like the team that Maurice inherited, a group with very little focus, inspiration, and defensive cohesiveness. Next up will be another team currently out of the playoff picture, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Will the Canes provide a better effort in front of the home crowd?
Tim Gleason was a late scratch. The team sounds hopeful that he will play on Thursday night against the Leafs. They definitely missed him in Ottawa.
Rookie goalie Brian Elliott earned his first NHL win with the effort.
It was a game for breakouts as Dany Heatley had his first goal in 8 games, Dean McAmmond scored his first in 21 games, and Mike Fisher ended a 20 game drought.
While folk expected a very physical and intense contest, the actual event proved to be fairly lackluster. Ottawa built up a lead and didn't necessarily need to be physical, but the Hurricanes never brought the fire one might expect from a team in their precarious position, especially in the third period.
Cam Ward made several incredible saves but looked like he ran out of gas in the third. He ended up making 35 saves out of 40 shot attempts.
Nic Wallin had a rough game. The defenseman had numerous turnovers and was a (-3) in just 12 minutes of TOI. One must wonder about his health.
The team had a closed door meeting after the game. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during that. Expect a tough practice at the RBC on Wednesday.