Carolina slid to 10th in the Eastern Conference after falling at home to Winnipeg, 4-1. The loss extended the Hurricanes' winless streak to six games, and they are now six points behind the Jets with just two games in hand and 17 total remaining. Here's a closer look at the game.
1. You can't pin Tuesday’s loss on Justin Peters, but it was clear there was a difference in quality of goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec stymied Carolina several times in the first period, whereas Peters probably should have stopped Olli Jokinen’s shot on the Jets’ 2-on-1 goal that tied the game, and really didn't do anything to will the Hurricanes to a win. Peters did enough to give his team a chance, but didn't do anything to earn a win. Even though Dan Ellis has outperformed Cam Ward this season in net, the Hurricanes are a different team when No. 30 is behind them. Ward — who is probably out a minimum of three more weeks — can't get back soon enough.
2. Plainly put, the PNC Arena ice has been dreadful of late. More Hurricanes have wiped out trying to turn on the sloppy surface in the past month than maybe ever have in the history of the building. It's not an excuse for the Canes' play — even the glassiest of ice wouldn't solve Carolina’s struggles right now — but what was once a source of pride for one of the league’s standouts Sunbelt teams is now a blemish.
3. Rookie defenseman Brett Bellemore has played well in his first two NHL games, and the Hurricanes haven't even sheltered him from getting defensive zone starts despite his inexperience. While Bellemore is big and strong, his best asset is his long stick, which he is deftly using to limit space on opposing forwards. He even showed a little snarl in his first-period fight (a decided loss) with Patrice Cormier. Carolina still needs to add a veteran stay-at-home blueliner to solidify the back end, but Bellemore is showing he could be capable of being a No. 7 or bottom pairing guy down the road.
Number To Know
90 — combined percentage of Carolina’s power play (13.4 percent, 28th in the NHL) and penalty kill (76.6 percent, 29th). Those numbers make the Hurricanes’ collective special teams the worst in the league.
Jeff Skinner — Despite not registering a point, Skinner hit double digits in shots on goal by registering a career-high 10 in the loss. Skinner also led the team with three takeaways and rightfully played more than any other Carolina forward on the night (22:18).
Jamie McBain — It was a rough night for McBain, one the Hurricanes can't afford with top blueliner Justin Faulk out of the lineup. McBain’s play led directly to two Winnipeg’s four goals: the first an untimely pinch, the last a puck he personally deposited past Peters. While McBain’s offensive numbers are down this season, his own-zone play has actually been improved. But his bad decision in the offensive zone on Jokinen’s goal deflated a good start from Carolina, and things went downhill from there.