Game Analysis: Canucks At Hurricanes

Jordan Staal scored for the second straight game and was Carolina's best player against the Canucks. - Jamie Kellner

The Carolina Hurricanes’ power play failed again, leading to a 3-2 home loss to Vancouver Sunday that dropped them to 10-12-5 on the season and sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

Jordan Staal and Nathan Gerbe scored just 10 seconds part in the first minute of the second period Sunday at PNC Arena, but that was all the offense Carolina could muster in a 3-2 loss to Vancouver.

Three Observations

1. Carolina's power play is dreadful. The team's inability to carry the puck into the zone leads to too many plays where they lose possession, and the curious decision to add Mike Komisarek to the point with the already-limited Jay Harrison on one side didn't solve any problems. When Kirk Muller was hired, he was touted as a power play genius, and when he replaced Paul Maurice on Nov. 28, 2011, one of the reasons mentioned for Maurice’s downfall was the woeful power play. At that time the Canes ranked 28th in the NHL at 12.2 percent. After Sunday’s game, the Muller-led power play is 27th at 12.0 percent.

2. While it's not the Hurricanes’ M.O. to get chippy, I figured someone — anyone — would at least let Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler know that the team did not appreciate him injuring Eric Staal on a dirty knee-on-knee hit at last summer's World Championships. Instead, Kevin Westgarth played a scant 1:43 and Edler left Raleigh without a scratch and a 3-2 win.

3. With six of the next seven games on the road, the Hurricanes are at a crossroads in the 2013-14 season. The struggles of the Metropolitan Division as a whole have kept Carolina in the hunt for a playoff spot, but anything less than eight points in the next seven games could very well sink the Canes’ season. Jim Rutherford could look for a spark for his power play — could creative-but-struggling forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard be the kind of bargain acquisition the Carolina GM has acquired in the past with hit-and-miss success? — or ride out the month with what he has. Either way, the team needs to find its way or face another spring and summer without postseason play.

Number To Know

0 — power play points for Komisarek in his 527-game career. Komisarek still played a befuddling four minutes with the man advantage, which is more than he played in any of the past three entire seasons (none in four games in 2012-13; 2:31 in 45 games in 2011-12; 2:55 in 75 games played in 2010-11). The most time Komisarek ever logged on the power play in a season was 25:17, which came in 75 games in 2007-08.

Plus

Jordan Staal — The younger Staal is playing like the way a team leader should. Jordan Staal was Carolina’s best forward Sunday, scoring his fifth goal of the season and leading all Hurricanes forwards in shots with four. Staal has now scored in consecutive games and has points in four of his last six games.

Minus

Mike Komisarek — Outside of drawing a penalty by goading Brad Richardson into dropping his gloves, Komisarek struggled to contain the Canucks. Despite seeing most of his starts in the offensive zone, Komisarek managed to be on the ice for nearly twice as many shot attempts allowed (12) as generated (seven). He can't be faulted for his aforementioned power play time, but was slow getting back to the shooting lane on Vancouver's second goal.

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