Penalties Killing Carolina

Jussi Jokinen is called for a penalty in the third period - Grant Halverson

Hurricanes near worst in league at penalties per game this young season

The Carolina Hurricanes had just outplayed the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period and momentum was on their side. They were competing against a team who had played the night before, as well as in their third game in four nights. Only down 2-1, the home team should have had the advantage in the upcoming, deciding third period.

But to start the third, the Lightning scored their third goal of the night and instead of responding with a goal of their own, the Hurricanes began a parade to the penalty box.

At 1:56 into the period, Tim Brent was called for tripping. A little over two minutes after that, Chad LaRose was called for interference. Then at the 9:36 mark, Jussi Jokinen was called for hooking.

Needless to say it is difficult to mount a comeback if you are playing shorthanded so often. The Lightning scored the backbreaking fourth goal during the ensuing powerplay after Jokinen's penalty.

The Hurricanes notched two more penalties later in the period when Eric Staal got frustrated and tried to send a message.

In the two games played so far this early season, the Canes have been called for 15 minor penalties, an average of 7.5 per game, which puts them at 28th in the league at that category.

Last season, the Hurricanes were called for a total of 298 minor penalties, (an average of 3.6 per game), which placed them at 13th in the league. The last time the Canes made the playoffs, (the 2008-09 season), they were called for a total of 322 minors, the second fewest in the league just behind Minnesota.

Special teams has not been the team's forte in recent years, (they have allowed four powerplay goals and scored one so far this campaign), so they really need to start being more disciplined if they wish to turn this early season losing streak around. Look for improvement soon.

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