Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu scored twice and Alexander Semin had the tying goal with less than two minutes left in regulation, but Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien ended the game in overtime to keep the Jets in the playoff hunt. The loss mathematically eliminated the Hurricanes from postseason contention. Here's a closer look at Thursday’s loss.
1. Scoring has been a problem for the Hurricanes throughout this rough stretch, but Carolina finally seems to be coming around with nine goals in the past three games. The big reason? Traffic. All three Carolina goals were scored in part because of traffic in front of the opposing net. Game after game for the past month, Carolina has piled of shots without registering goals. Thursday illustrated how important it is for the Canes to get to the net to create traffic or collect rebounds.
2. The Hurricanes are clearly getting a good, long look at Justin Peters so they can make a decision on whether or not he's ready to be Cam Ward's backup in 2013-14. Peters has made some dazzling stops the past couple games, but that hasn't led to wins. Peters' deal — the second year of a two-year contract — is one-way and guaranteed next season at $550,000. Regardless, Peters is going to get his money. Now Carolina's brain trust needs to decide if he'll get the No. 2 job, too.
3. Carolina now sits 28th in the NHL standings with five games remaining, and the team looks like a good bet for a top-three pick in the NHL Draft. While no one on Edwards Mill Road is rooting for losses, a No. 3 pick or better should provide Carolina with an impact player, perhaps one that can contribute immediately. While probable first overall pick Seth Jones — a big, skilled defenseman — should be atop Carolina's wish list, a consolation prize of forwards Nate McKinnon or Jonathan Drouin isn't too shabby either.
Number To Know
50 — Penalty minutes this season for Eric Staal after he took two minors Thursday night. That ranks tops on the Hurricanes and is two more than he had during 82 games in 2011-12. Staal ranks seventh in the NHL in scoring, and the next closest forward in points with 50 or more penalty minutes is Corey Perry (32 points, 70 PIMs).
Tuomo Ruutu — Clearly the big plus out of Thursday's loss was the play of Ruutu. The 30-year-old Finn, who missed the majority of the season recovering from surgery, scored his first two goals of the season to lead Carolina. On the first, Ruutu made a beautiful move in the slot and beat Ondrej Pavelec. Later, Ruutu deflected a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot in front of Pavelec to keep the Canes in the game.
Jamie McBain — McBain’s ice time continues to dwindle, and he played less than 10 minutes (9:21) for just the second time in his career. That's one game after playing only 10:39 at Ottawa. McBain has just six points this season and seems to have lost the confidence of the coaching staff. Due $1.9 million next season, McBain could very well be somewhere different next season.