Game Analysis: Flyers At Hurricanes

The Hurricanes got two shorthanded goals from Patrick Dwyer, but Claude Giroux and the Flyers were again too much for Carolina as Philadelphia won, 5-3. The Canes are now just 2-5 in the pivotal month of November and have dropped into a tie with Winnipeg for last in the Southeast with 15 points (6-9-3).

Three Observations

1. At the end of the day, Cam Ward can only do so much. People who look at the boxscore or watch the highlights and see Ward pulled for Brian Boucher on Monday might think the Canes' goalie had failed the team, but Ward — who allowed four goals on 17 shots — was hung out to dry by his teammates again. It's a difficult statement to make, but Carolina has the looks of a franchise that is throwing away the prime years of an elite goaltender. When you have a player openly admitting that his team lacks the talent of its opponents (Dwyer: "If we're winning going to win hockey games, it's going to be fighting. We're not going to go out and out-skill very many teams. We've got skill, but top to bottom we're not as deep as a lot teams and we're going to win games on our work ethic.") it's time to reassess the squad you're putting on the ice, especially when you have a goaltender that can lead the way if given the help.

2. Coach Paul Maurice's continued indifference to playing the fourth line is concerning, especially when you consider that the three players on it were all high draft picks with scoring upside. Burying Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk and Jiri Tlusty and playing them a combined 10:54 impedes the growth of these young players and hinders the team's opportunity to find a way to provide a balanced attack. Both Tlusty and Boychuk had some success of Eric Staal's wing earlier in the year, and Dalpe was earmarked for a top-six role this season only to see his ice time peak in the opener (10:38) and reach a career low Monday (2:41).

3. Tomas Kaberle played a season-high 24:52 Monday, including 20:29 at even strength, and held his own filling the role of Joni Pitkanen  — who missed his second straight game with an injury — as Carolina's go-to defenseman. He did take a hooking penalty in third (believe it or not, his first penalty minutes of the season) and the Canes’ power play went without a goal in four opportunities, but Kaberle is looking more comfortable. But until he starts putting up points, he will not be living up to his contract.

Number To Know

187 — Faceoff wins for Staal through 18 games, an average of 10.7 wins per game. Staal has won 49.7 percent of his faceoffs this season and finally looks like someone who can be relied on to be decent in the circle. He won 11 of 15 Monday, leading the way in Carolina's 42-29 advantage at the dot.

Plus

Patrick Dwyer — Dwyer had just two points entering Monday's game, but he doubled that output with two shorthanded goals against the Flyers. The first came with less than a second remaining in the first period when Staal threaded a pass past Chris Pronger on a 2-on-1 rush and Dwyer deposited it past Sergei Bobrovsky to kae it 2-1 Flyers. Dwyer got his second after drawing a penalty shot early in the third while on the penalty kill, again beating Bobrovsky and bring Carolina within a goal.

Minus

Chad LaRose — LaRose and his linemates, Brandon Sutter and Staal, made up Carolina's best line Monday. But LaRose had several chances to score on Bobrovsky only to come up empty. He was also on the hook for a minus-3 on the night, though he was only at fault on Matt Read's goal when his errant pass sent the Flyers the other way on a rush that led to the nail-in-the-coffin goal.

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