One might wonder if things can get any worse for the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was another frustrating game for the boys from Tobacco Road because they had a ton of chances but could not convert when it mattered and they went on to lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2 on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the RBC.
It was the fourth straight loss for the team, (0-3-1).
To say that the Carolina powerplay was struggling would be an understatement. They came into the game converting just 3 of their last 52 and went 0-9 in this one, which included three abbreviated chances of a 5-on-3.
Coach Paul Maurice admitted to the frustration after the game and said the team would keep working on it. Certainly, anything the group can do to gain some confidence would be of benefit because they looked like they had no confidence with it on this night.
It was another game where the Hurricanes fell behind 2-0. The BJ's would score just 4:44 into the game on a shorthanded chance. The Canes were a bit slow taking a line change and the visitors actually generated a decent 2-on-1 chance while killing a penalty and took full advantage of it.
Then just 42 seconds into the second period, Derek MacKenzie wristed a long shot past Cam Ward and the home team had to be wondering if this was going to be another one of those nights. The Canes ended up missing a couple of open nets, close chances near the crease, and other opportunities, but Steve Mason was making the stops down at the other end.
About midway through the third period, Jeff Skinner finally got his team on the board when he sneaked a puck short-side by Mason. Erik Cole set him up with a nice pass after Jussi Jokinen won a draw.
It looked like the Canes might finally have some momentum, but Cory Stillman was called for boarding as he tried to work someone off the puck with a hard hit into the boards. The Canes did a nice job killing the penalty and tried to get more going again.
Jokinen drew a penalty behind the net with 3:08 left in the game. About a minute and change into the powerplay, Maurice pulled Cam Ward for a two man advantage, but Columbus killed it and MacKenzie would score another goal with a long clear into the open net with just 1:01 left on the clock.
"The Juice" missed a wide open net during the sequence, but he said the puck was spinning and he could not hit it cleanly. Still, he admitted after the game that he should make those. (see video below) Jokinen was not the only one to miss prime chances though.
Tuomo Ruutu got another puck past Mason short-side with 35 seconds left to give the team a glimmer of hope, but they were not able to make another shot and skated to the dressing room frustrated again.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- Similar to the Washington game, the Canes had several shots blocked on them, (Columbus had 19 tonight). Maurice said they need to get those shots on net.
- Carolina had 31 shots on net to 28 for the Jackets.Eric Staal led the way with seven.
- The team was credited with 22 hits. Tim Gleason had a team high four.
- The team won a couple of key faceoffs, but they finished at 39% for the game. Brandon Sutter had a team low 29%.
- Maurice tried mixing the lines during the powerplays. At one time he had Harrison and Cole on the points. Chad LaRose and Sutter also got some time. The players on the ice during the last two 5-on-3 chances were, (53-12-36-15-61) and (16,77,12,36,61).
- The second games of back-to-backs have not been kind to this young team. Carolina is now 6-9-1 on the back end of those games while they are 9-3-4 on the front.
- Drayson Bowman got more time in this game, 7:28, but Troy Bodie got less, 3:25. Of course with so many penalties, it's tougher to get the fourth liners more playing time.
- The powerplay has dropped to 15.7%, now 25th in the league.
Post game interviews: