The Olympic break has finally come and the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves outside of a playoff spot looking in. The Canes did not help their cause with a disappointing, 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in front of a sell out crowd at the PNC Arena on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes started out well and they were happy with their scoreless first period, but after Drayson Bowman put the club up 1-0 early in the second period, the team's intensity seemed to lessen as the game went on.
Coach Kirk Muller was unhappy with the overall effort and said after the game that not all of his players were "on board".
Max Pacioretty had to be helped from the ice after being injured in the first period, and did not return, but he did say after the game that he was okay and would still be playing for Team USA in Sochi. His plane leaves tomorrow.
His team started out with seven defensemen and ended up playing most of the game with just 10 forwards, though they looked like the fresher team in the third.
The Canadiens scored twice within a minute and change near the end of the second period to take a 2-1 lead, then put the game away with another goal, 6:15 into the third. The Habs added an empty-netter near the end to complete their scoring.
The good news for Carolina is that the fourth line of Tuomo Ruutu, Drayson Bowman, and Riley Nash continues to shine. The bad news is that the Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, and Jeff Skinner line continues to struggle.
The first line had some chances but could not get the job done on this night and the third line of Manny Malhotra, Patrick Dwyer, and Nathan Gerbe did very little and were rewarded with the least amount of ice time. Malhotra played a team low, 7:33.
The team's defense had some breakdowns and that led to four goals on just 24 shots for the visitors.
Anton Khudobin has had better nights but did make some nice saves in the game.
Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera, Alexander Semin, and Tuomo Ruutu will now travel to Sochi while the rest of the team will take off for two weeks. In the meantime, Carolina brass will be trying to figure out how to improve this team during the shut down.
- Faulk and Sekera will try to put this game in the rearview mirror fast. Both finished at -3 for the night.
- The Canes outshot the Habs 32-24 and were led by Bowman with five shots.
- Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Semin were credited with a game high three giveaways each. Jordan won 83% of his draws.
- It was a very unhappy dressing room after the game as the coaching staff had a post game meeting with the team.