It was the second straight sell out for the Carolina Hurricanes and the second straight blow out as they lost to the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-1. The Canes have been outscored 10-1 in the last two games, and no one seems to have any answers about how to make the pain stop.
The game started pretty well as the home team kept some pressure in the Columbus zone for a good part of the first half of the opening period, but at the 9:26 mark, Mike Commodore scored on the very first official shot on goal for the Blue Jackets. It's never a good sign when that happens. The Canes finished with 9 shots on goal in the period, but young Steve Mason was equal to the task on each of them.
The second period started out slowly. About half way through, Nic Wallin was called for hooking and the lowest rated powerplay in the league looked good against the Canes penalty kill and was able to get another one past Cam Ward, making the score 2-0. The Canes generated a couple of spurts of good energy during the period, but still were unable to solve Mason.
In the third period, the Canes gave the Blue Jackets a 5 on 3 with both Ruutu and Eaves in the box, and again the vistors took advantage of their opportunity, making it 3-0.
About four minutes later, Dennis Seidenberg rifled a shot toward the net which seemed to hit a skate or two and found it's way in the Blue Jacket goal. After over five consecutive periods of being shut out at home, the Canes finally broke through, but that would be the end of the home team's scoring.
Columbus would score another time, effectively putting the game away at the 10 minute mark, and would score an empty netter with over three minutes left on an odd play in which the Canes on the ice seemed surprised to see that their goalie was missing from his station.
The game was another huge disappointment as fans witnessed the team's now slim playoff hopes, continue to diminish.
No one had any words of wisdom in the locker room as Rod Brind'Amour said that he felt the team generated enough chances, but they seem "snake-bitten".
There were several mysterious plays in this game when players would make passes instead of shooting in seemingly obvious shooting situations. For instance, Chad LaRose had an open break away on a short handed attempt and instead of making a move on Mason, he tried to make a pass back to Matt Cullen.
The defense continues to have trouble. Joe Corvo was -3, which makes him -7 in just these last two games. The blueliner apparently was disheartened that Toronto allowed Florida to score late in recent games, which gave the Panthers extra points that they did not deserve. He is waiting for Florida to "lose it's horseshoe", but he might have a long wait.
Steve Mason looks like the real deal. He was calm, cool, and collected and never seemed out of position. Isn't that how people used to describe Cam Ward?
The Blue Jackets blocked 29 shots compared to 17 for the Canes.
After having 11 shots on goal Thursday night, Eric Staal had 2 tonight.
The Canes had 7 giveaways, the Blue Jackets had 2.
Paul Maurice was daring and pulled the goalie with almost 4 minutes left in the game, but the players on the ice did not seem aware of what happened and allowed a pretty easy open net goal. A few chants of "Mo Must Go Again" were heard in the arena.
The Canes flew to Buffalo right after the game for a Sunday match against the Sabres, who will try to put another nail in the coffin which holds Carolina's playoff hopes.