About a week ago, the Carolina Hurricanes were in first place in the Southeast and were looking very good. Now they have lost five straight games and cannot seem to do much of anything right. They have also incurred the wrath of a visably upset head coach as they dropped another important game, 4-1, this time to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at the PNC Arena.
Coach Kirk Muller held a closed door meeting after this game and when he spoke to the media afterward, he had some choice words for his team, echoing much of what Dan Ellis said on Tuesday.
We need more effort from some guys. This was a big game and we played well in the first, but got out-worked in the second. They took over and that's not going to work. We are all about accountability and some guys need to take a look in the mirror and get their game going and get their work boots on because that is what it's going to take. It's playoff hockey now, everything is cranked up, everything is harder, and you have to earn your space. And if you don't work and out-work your opponent, you don't get the same results.
The coach did not mention names but said his team will be working on things over the next few days. Their next game is next week Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets and perhaps this break could not come at a better time.
As the coach said, the Canes started well and they were living in the Jersey zone, putting plenty of pressure on goalie Martin Brodeur. But during a coming powerplay, (Patrick Dwyer drew a hooking call), Jordan Staal sent a pass back toward his own end which bounced off the side boards and went all the way down into the Carolina goal.
The Devils had the benefit of a 1-0 lead and Brodeur got credit for the goal because he was the last Devil to touch the puck when he made a save.
The lead held up through the first period even though the Canes outshot the Devils 11-4.
The second period was all New Jersey though as they reversed their shots on goal and time of possession from the first. They also scored twice, pushing the lead to 3-0 as they outshot the Canes 12-3 in that period.
The Hurricanes lost any momentum they had and Jersey carried it into the third. It was well past half way through the period before the Canes could register more than one shot on goal, although Jeff Skinner blasted a shot past Brodeur, a rare powerplay goal, to break up the shutout bid.
Later in the period, Eric Staal was called for tripping against Patrik Elias and the Devils would score a powerplay goal to close out the scoring and stifle any hope of a comeback.
- The Canes now have a losing record on home ice, (7-8)
- Jeff Skinner had a team high 6 shots on goal. The team had 18 for the game.
Adam Hall had a team high seven hits.
- Muller mixed the lines up a bit, including putting the Staal brothers with Semin. Ruutu was also mixed around a bit.