The Carolina Hurricanes kept things close, but dropped a contest to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, 3-2. The Canes have struggled all season long in the faceoff circle and currently rank last in the NHL in that department. Their poor performance taking draws cost the team dearly in this game as the Flyers scored twice, right after winning a draw in Carolina zone.
When asked about his team's faceoff troubles after the game, a frustrated Paul Maurice was almost without words to describe the situation. "It's been a bit of a problem, there's no question about that," said Maurice.
"Ruutu's numbers are improving, I think Sutter's numbers are improving. But they are improving from a level that is so low......um......our percentage has got to improve, no question about it."
The Flyers jumped out to a lead in the first period when Scott Hartnell backhanded in a rebound off a Jeff Carter shot to make it 1-0. Falling behind in the opening period has also been a consistent problem for this Carolina team.
Patrick Dwyer would tie things up early in the second period on a very nice breakaway move. Jeff Skinner picked up an assist on the play, making the 18-year-old and the league's youngest player, the team's leading scorer.
The home team would take the lead again later in the period when Joni Pitkanen was called for hooking. The Flyers won the ensuing faceoff on the powerplay and the puck eventually went to Claude Giroux who turned and rifled it, all in one motion, past an unsuspecting Justin Peters.
In the third period, the Flyers won another faceoff in the Carolina zone which led to a goal. Jeff Carter beat Eric Staal and sent the puck to Kimmo Timonen who fired it at the net. It then bounced in off Hartnell, who was credited with his second goal of the night.
The Hurricanes had trouble mounting much consistency in the Philadelphia zone and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had his team clog up the neutral zone aptly throughout the second half of the game. The Canes mounted a frantic attack in the final two minutes and Joe Corvo scored with 27 seconds left to give his team some semblance of hope, but it was too little too late as the Flyers killed the rest of the clock to wrap up their fourth win in a row.
The Canes return home to do battle with the New York Islanders at the RBC on Wednesday night.
Quick Hits and Stats:
- The team won 39% of their draws. Tuomo Ruutu had 44%, Staal 38%, Sutter 39%, Matsumoto 20%, Jokinen 33%, and Dwyer 50%. If they can not win faceoffs, then they need to be in immediate defensive mode right after them or else it will be a long year for the club.
- The Canes were out-shot 37-28 for the game and were dominated in the second period, 16-8. Eric Staal had a team high 6 shots.
- Jay Harrison and Tim Gleason were tied with a team high, four blocked shots each.
- Tuomo Ruutu was credited with a game high 7 hits. No one else was close to that total.
Post game quotes are next: