I seem to have tunes by the Police in my head lately and while "Syncronicity" seemed appropriate for the previous 2 games, this title fits the Hurricanes better right now. Most of you have probably seen the reports that several of the Canes are ill with some type of bug. The healthy players were told to stay away from the ones who didn't feel well, and vice-versa. Well, last night the players on the ice took the instructions one step further. They played like 18 individuals, not so much like a team.
The New Jersey Devils wore down the hapless Hurricanes last night, 4-1. These outcomes are becoming all too familiar for Caniacs who travel to the RBC hoping to see their beloved heroes perform at a higher level than what they have seen in recent games. Carolina now has an overall losing home record of 10-9-2. Since the 1st of December, the team has a home record of 2 wins and 5 losses. So much for home ice advantage.
Last night, the Devils opened the scoring in the 1st period on a powerplay goal by Travis Zajac. Carolina looked clueless on the play as two players went to cover Zach Parise who brought the puck into the zone. The end result was a wide open Zajac who had the easiest goal of the night. The play prompted Carolina coach Peter Laviolette to immediately call a time out as he tried to wake his team up.
The Canes were able to respond and tied the game early in the 2nd period on a goal by Keith Aucoin, who tipped in a Dennis Seidenberg shot for his first ever NHL goal. But later in the period, Patrick Elias rifled a perfect shot past Cam Ward, and the game was as well as over. The 3rd period was an exercise in futility as Carolina would take foolish penalties and allow 2 more goals.
Even though the Canes were losing and should have mounted some type of consistent pressure in the Jersey zone in a come back effort, they could only generate 6 official shots on goal for the entire 3rd period. Laviolette was noticeably upset after the game and called the effort "gross" in his post game press conference.
To be fair, the Hurricanes were missing an abnormal number of players from their lineup. Williams, Hedican, Walker, Cullen, and Tanabe are still on the IR. Wesley, Whitney, Letowski, and Brookbank were all under the weather. But a few of the guys on the ice may as well have stayed home in bed as well. It's not a good sign when most of the better players on the ice for the home team were call-ups from the AHL.
Some observations from Bubba's Bloggers Box.... (say that 3 times fast)
Where are numbers 17, 26, and 61? The team needs you.
Kudos to Keith Aucoin, who not only had the team's lone goal, but also arguably had the best overall game for Carolina as well. This game was the 3rd in 4 nights for Aucoin, who also had to travel all day yesterday as well as 2 days ago. Maybe this type of travel before a game should be required for the rest of the team on game day?
Since the team plays better on the road than at home, maybe Laviolette should make the boys stay in a hotel in Cary on nights before a game at the RBC?
Is Cam Ward taking his role of Brodeur's apprentice a bit too far? It almost looked like a Brodeur-type dive that coerced the refs to take a Jersey goal off the scoreboard in the 2nd period.
How can 5'7 Brian Gionta cause so much havoc in the crease and why can't any Hurricanes defenseman move him out of there? Why couldn't any of the Canes play that role at the other end of the rink?
To Jersey's credit, they look very good. They played as a team and Sutter has them playing hard.
I'll have more at lunchtime and give my 2 cents about Alexander Ovechkin's huge new contract. No, he didn't sign with Nashville! TGIF!