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Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Jets — Slow Start Gives Winnipeg Needed Boost

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The Hurricanes fell to 0-3-2 on the season, losing in Winnipeg in the second game of their five-game road trip.

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters is still looking for his first NHL win after Carolina lost its fifth straight game to start the season, falling to 0-3-2.
Hurricanes coach Bill Peters is still looking for his first NHL win after Carolina lost its fifth straight game to start the season, falling to 0-3-2.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes remained the NHL’s only winless team, falling in Winnipeg 3-1 to slip to 0-3-2 on the season.

Three Observations

1. Paul Maurice had said everything short of "yes, we're a fragile team" in his media scrums leading up to the game. So the one thing Carolina could ill afford to do was let the Jets get out to a fast start. Yet that's exactly what happened, with Winnipeg scoring twice in the game’s first three minutes and never looking back. The Hurricanes got back into the game with a power play goal at 7:03 of the first, but Justin Faulk’s mishandling of a puck at the blue line gave Dustin Byfuglien a breakway goal and the Jets a 3-1 lead.

2. Jeff Skinner played his first game of the season and had flashes of brilliance that were overshadowed by two frustration penalties. The Jets can thank sophomore defender Jacob Trouba for that. The 20-year-old defenseman was arguably the best player on the ice Tuesday, contributing in all three zones, hitting everything that moved, and getting under Skinner’s skin. Skinner still had a team-high five shots, but he was kept off the scoresheet and had time to think about it during his four minutes in the box.

3. The Hurricanes are struggling with the game's fundamentals right now: clearing pucks out of the defensive zone, not turning the puck over at center ice, executing zone entries at even strength and on the power play. You'd like to attribute that to youth, but veteran players like Alexander Semin have been as guilty or more so than the 20-somethings in the lineup.

Number To Know

3 — Power play goals for Jiri Tlusty through five games after he scored Carolina’s lone goal Tuesday on the man advantage. Tlusty had zero goals and just one power play point all of last season, but now has four power play points through five games. Tlusty has also been coach Bill Peters’ most used forward at 20:42 per night. That includes an average of 3:16 on the power play (the team is now at 25 percent, tied for eighth in the league) and 1:57 on the penalty kill (80 percent, T-17th).

Plus

Riley Nash — Nash continues to be Carolina’s most consistent and hardest working player. While all the preseason talk was about fellow center Victor Rask, Nash quietly had an efficient camp and has emerged as the Hurricanes’ steadiest player. How much has he improved? We're only five games into the 2014-15 season, but his advanced stats look great, as does his traditional stat line (1-3-4 through five games; 61.7 percent faceoff rate, T-4th in the NHL).

Minus

Justin Faulk — Speaking of Trouba, he was everything Carolina is hoping to get out of Faulk on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, right now Faulk is a total disaster on the back end. All that Peters can hope is that Faulk plays his way out of his funk. It's good to see Brett Bellemore play well and Ryan Murphy contribute wherever he is used, but the Hurricanes will continue to go nowhere fast if one of their best defensemen continues to play like he should instead be in the press box.