The Carolina Hurricanes continued their winless streak on the road as they lost another game to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, 6-1. The Canes have now lost eight games in a row, tying the highest number of consecutuive losses for them since the franchise moved to Carolina. They have an 0-5-2 record on the road so far this season and have an overall mark of 2-7-3.
Goaltender Michael Leighton got his first start of the season for the Hurricanes. But the goalie had a very tough time of it and struggled with the puck all game long, seemingly even on the easiest of saves. Perhaps he was rusty, perhaps it was more than that. The biggest question might be, why start him at this time? Leighton's wife just had a baby Thursday night at 4:30 a.m. He missed practice on Friday and was probably functioning on very little, if any sleep.
When asked about it after the game, Paul Maurice said that he asked the goalie if he was ready to go, and Leighton responded yes. But the coach accepted responsibility for making the decision, which in retrospect was a questionable one. Now the organization as well as fans have to be asking themselves, is this the real Michael Leighton, or did he just have a bad game?
Other than the obvious goaltending issue, this was a fairly typical game for the Hurricanes. They had some good parts and bad parts, but unfortunately for them, the bad parts prevailed.
The Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead. They were able to score just 15 seconds into their first powerplay attempt of the game while the Canes drew blanks when they were with the man advantage. (According to the scoring sheet they were 0-7 on the powerplay).
The Hurricanes came out buzzing in the second period and controlled play for prolonged periods of time. But once again, with the opposition already ahead 3-0, there was not much reason for them to attempt to create offense.
The highlight of the game for the Hurricanes was when Sergei Samsonov made some fancy moves and found an open Brandon Sutter, who rifled a one-timer past Ray Emery. The goal was the first for Sutter since his recall, just three games ago. The Flyers would score again quickly though, just 14 seconds later, killing any possible momentum for the visitors.
Try as they might, none of the other Hurricanes could get one past the sometimes controversial Flyers netminder, who looked solid once again against the Canes.
On one play, Joni Pitkanen found Chad LaRose all alone streaking toward the net, but Emery was equal to the task and stopped LaRose on his initial shot as well as the rebound attempt. On another close call, Scott Walker put a rebound into the net. But the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead just before Walker's shot.
That's about as close as the Canes got.
The game got chippy and there were several fights, but none of them ruined momentum like in the previous game against St. Louis. Jay Harrison, Tim Conboy, and Tom Kostopoulos each picked up five minute majors in the second period.
In the third period, there were eight roughing calls, four on each team.
The Flyers did not let up on the scoring as they would notch two more goals in the third period to close out the win.
All the Hurricanes can do at this point is continue to move on and hope that the return of Tuomo Ruutu and possibly Erik Cole and Tim Gleason will spark the team at home tomorrow, this time against powerhouse San Jose.