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House of Blues: Canes Drop Seventh Straight, 5-2

The Carolina Hurricanes lost to the St. Louis Blues at the RBC Center on Wednesday night, 5-2.  The loss gives the Canes a record of 2-6-3 and it was the team's seventh consecutive game without a win.  The seven game losing streak is the longest for the club since 2002-03, when they lost eight in a row.  The franchise record is nine losses in a row, dating back to the 1983 season.  

The Blues jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and never looked back.  Two of the goals were scored within 16 seconds of each other, the 5th time this season, (in 11 games), that Carolina has allowed multiple goals in less than a minute. 

The Hurricanes made mistake after mistake, lost battle after battle, and at times did not look like a very good hockey team.

Carolina started the game out pretty well with some good jump and pressure in the St. Louis zone, although they were unable to get a puck by  Chris Mason.  But about seven minutes into the first, David Perron stuck a rebound past Cam Ward and the Canes previous good effort was all in vain. 

Near the 16 minute mark, Yan Stastny stole a Jay Harrison clearing attempt, skated in untouched, and beat Ward easily, making the score 2-0.  Harrison's pass went right toward the middle of the ice and hit Stastny in perfect stride, something that should never happen.

Just 16 seconds later, Chad LaRose bobbled a bouncing puck at the blueline and the Blues jumped all over the loose change once again.  This time, Jay McClement would do the honors, making the score 3-0.

Joe Corvo eased the pain just a bit as he scored a powerplay goal just before the end of the period to make it 3-1.  The defenseman did a better job of getting his shot through this game and led the team with six shots on goal.

The second period was a quiet one as both teams combined for a grand total of eight shots on goal.  St. Louis had 3 and Carolina had 5.  But the Blues would put another puck past Cam Ward as Andy McDonald scored during a 3-on-1 break because of a bad Carolina line change.  They did not need more than three shots.

Scott Walker would continue to try to make a game of it as he batted a puck out of mid-air to make the score 4-2 during another Carolina powerplay at the eight minute mark of the third period, but Perron would score another goal on an empty netter to ice the game for the Blues. 

All in all, it was a disappointing effort by the home team.  Something seems seriously wrong with this bunch, will they be able to figure it out before they find themselves in such a deep hole that they will not be able to recover?  Fans can only hope.

Game Notes:

  • FIGHTING 101: When to fight and when not to fight? Jay Harrison and Tim Conboy both were involved in separate fights early in the game before either team had scored.  The problem is, the Hurricanes had the jump at this stage in the game and were controlling play.  The puck was in the St. Louis zone when both of these altercations took place.  That is NOT the time to be starting fights.  The momentum changed a bit after the Conboy fight, especially.  The Blues scored shortly afterward and the wheels fell off after that.  There are good times to fight and bad times, and both of those fights did more to hurt the team's momentum than help it.  I have also never been able to figure out why a player starts a fight, (or accepts one), when his team is in the offensive end trying to score a goal.  Are they trying to keep their teammates from scoring?
  • The coaches must have agreed with this assessment because Conboy never saw another shift.  He played a total of 22 seconds for the entire game.
  • Aaron Ward and Jay Harrison had brutal games, although Eric Staal and Joni Pitkanen each finished with a team worst -4.  Staal had just one shot on goal and misplayed puck after puck on a frustrating night for him.
  • Scott Walker, Tom Kostopoulos, and Brandon Sutter appeared to have the most zip in their games.  Each of these players were moved to various lines throughout the game as the coaching staff seemed to be playing "musical lines" as they tried to find some magical scoring formula among the forwards.
  • Both Carolina goals were powerplay tallies, improving their home ice totals to 3 of 24.  They were a respectable 2-6 for the night.
  • The Canes accomplished their task of staying out of the penalty box.  Other than the two fighting majors which went to both teams, Tom Kostopoulos took the only minor for the team, a charging call when he left his feet for a hit on star defenseman Erik Johnson.
  • The Hurricanes out-shot the Blues 36-18, but fanned, whiffed, or missed the net on their best scoring opportunities.  As coach Maurice pointed out in the post game interview, the Blues were up by a healthy margin.  They stopped trying to score after awhile, concentrating more on not allowing Carolina to get prime scoring chances.  The shot differential is pretty meaningless in this scenario.
  • Cam Ward did not get much help from his defense and was left out to dry a few times, but still had a rough night.  On one play, he whiffed on a puck behind the net and slipped before he could get back in the crease.  Joni Pitkanen saved the goal by leveling the perpetrator before he could stick the puck into the open net.  When asked after the game if he considered taking Ward out, Maurice responded, "I felt they all deserved to stay out on the ice together".  Interpret that anyway you want to.

Next up for the Canes is an angry Flyers team waiting for them in Philadelphia.