The Carolina Hurricanes losing streak reached three games after the team allowed another late-game goal. Adam Henrique scored the game-winner with 3:29 remaining to give New Jersey a 3-2 win over the Canes. The Hurricanes now stand at 5-7-3 and their 13 points ties them with Winnipeg for 11th in the Eastern Conference.
1. Having a successful shutdown line is a great thing, but Brandon Sutter's scoring prowess is wasting away in such a capacity. Rod Brind'Amour was able to win two Selke Trophies while still getting ample offensive opportunities both on the power play and at even strength. The solution? Try Chad LaRose as the third line center. Moving LaRose to the middle would allow Maurice to slot Jussi Jokinen on Eric Staal's wing and then Sutter could perhaps be paired with Jeff Skinner on the second line. Tuomo Ruutu could join Staal and Jokinen, while Zach Boychuk or Zac Dalpe could provide more punch on the right side with Sutter and Skinner. LaRose could be joined by Patrick Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty — sounds like a checking line, right? — and you could fill out the lineup around Tim Brent on the fourth line.
2. Carolina was murdered in the faceoff circle Tuesday, winning just 18 of 56 draws, including a clean loss by Sutter in the third period that led to Petr Sykora's goal that made the game 2-1. Believe it or not, Staal — who has a history of ineptitude at the dot — has been the beacon of hope for the Canes on faceoffs, and last night was no different. He won eight of 17 (47 percent) and was the only Carolina player to crack 30 percent other than Dwyer, who went 1 for 1. It's Brent who has been the most disappointing, winning just 40.2 percent of his faceoffs on the year.
3. The Hurricanes allowed two more goals in the third period, pushing their league-worst total to 20 goals given up in the final frame. The team has been outscored 20-15 in third periods and 17-10 in the second, while scoring 12 goals to their opponents' 10 in the first period.
Number To Know
3 — Fights for Carolina this season, and none since a frustrated Boston squad initiated two brawls on Oct. 18. Needless fighting doesn't solve a team's problems, but an occasional dropping of the gloves has been known to fire up a team. Remember Doug Weight fighting Jeff Halpern in 2006? The Hurricanes have been willing to stand up for their teammates, but there comes a time when a fight can swing a team's fortunes.
Zach Boychuk — The former first rounder got his first point of the season Tuesday — a secondary assist on Joni Pitkanen's third period tying goal to get the Canes back in the game — to help justify his current spot in the top nine. While one point in almost 100 minutes of ice time does not jump off the page, Boychuk has been Carolina's most energetic forward of late.
Tim Brent — Carolina's fourth line center has been, as mentioned above, disappointing on faceoffs (one win in five draws Tuesday) and also turned the puck over on what turned into Dainius Zubrus' redirection goal in the second period to tie the game at 1. Brent lost the faceoff, then failed to get his clearing attempt past defenseman Bryce Salvador. He then slid to block Salvador's pending shot, but the New Jersey defenseman instead found a passing lane to Patrik Elias because Brent was on the ice. Elias fired the puck cross-ice to Anton Volchenkov, whose shot was deflected by Zubrus for the tying goal.