The Carolina Hurricanes started out flat against the Atlanta Thrashers, fell behind in the second period, and could not recover in the third as they lost in front of 16,108 at the RBC on Saturday night, 4-0.
It looked like the visitors had the jump early on the home team and captain Eric Staal seemed to concur. "They came out with more desperation than we did tonight" he said after the game.
The Thrashers scored twice within a minute's time in the first half of the second period and added another by time the period was over to make it 3-0.
The Hurricanes picked up their attack in the third, but could not get a puck past Johan Hedberg, who finished with 34 saves on the night.
Manny Legace made 39 saves on 43 Atlanta shots.
The Thrashers out-shot the Hurricanes, 18-6 in the opening period, even though the Canes had three powerplay chances. Manny Legace was equal to the task at that point but could not stop the continued onslaught in the second.
By time the second period was over, Carolina was down 3-0 and Atlanta was leading in the shot totals, 29-15.
The home team picked up their offensive acumen in the third, but it was too little too late. Paul Maurice mixed the lines up in that final period, "to try to give them some kind of spark" the coach said, and while the club was able to control the puck for a bit more in the Atlanta zone, they still could not light the lamp.
There did not seem to be much bite or fight in the Hurricanes' game on this night, but they get to play this same Thrashers team in Atlanta on Monday.
The loss moves Carolina back down to second from last in the East and they presently have the third worst record in the league. Their 71 points is tied for the third lowest point total in the NHL.
- It was a frustrating night for the powerplay. The Canes did not seem to be in sync with each other and had a difficult time setting up in the Atlanta zone. But as Eric Staal said, give some credit to the Atlanta defense for doing a good job against them.
- The fourth line was victimized as Samsonov, Brind'Amour and Kostopoulos each finished with -2. Brind'Amour had a team low 6:52 of TOI and did not see any time in the third.
Joni Pitkanen played over 27 minutes but it was a rough night for him. He led the team with two giveaways, had just one shot on goal, and had a lot of trouble setting up the powerplay.
Erik Cole and Eric Staal led the team with five shots on goal each. The Canes finished with 19 shots in the third period and 34 in the game.
- The team faceoff percentage was dismal as the team won just 31% of their draws. Staal was at 38%, (6-16), Sutter was at 30%, (6-20), and Dwyer was at 25%, (3-12).
- Brian Pothier led the Canes with four hits. The team was credited with 25 for the game.
- Maurice pulled Legace from goal with over three minutes to play and the club tried to get something going in the Atlanta zone, but Pitkanen took a hooking penalty with 2:24 to go and the Thrashers scored on the ensuing powerplay to complete the scoring.
I taped this Eric Staal interview after the game.