Six regulation and two extended time losses later, the Carolina Hurricanes have still yet to record their first win of the season. Bill Peters was put in a tough spot from the get-go as Jeff Skinner started the season on injured reserve with a concussion and Jordan Staal projected to be out of the lineup for 3-4 months with a broken fibula suffered in the preseason. Since the start of the season, the injury bug hit the Hurricanes like a sack of bricks with Andrej Sekera, Eric Staal, John Michael-Liles, Nathan Gerbe, and Patrick Dwyer all missing a game or more.
However, the injury bug may not have been the ‘Canes entire problem. In fact, their effort appeared amplified with key players missing. They might want to look at the crease for a major portion of their drawback.
How is it possible to rotate goalies on a per-game basis and expect the best? Even in back-to-back starts it’s no simple task to build momentum. It’s not ideal to have $4 million plus sitting on the bench either, but considering the Hurricanes look like a completely different team without Cam Ward in net, it’s probably for the best. There’s a sense of Anton Khudobin’s cool confidence in the way the Hurricanes play while the Kazakhstani mends the pipes.
It seems far-fetched for a goalie to build confidence by alternating starts, even while it was evidently clear from last season’s outing that Khudobin proved himself worthy of starting goaltender. He doesn’t struggle with soft shots like Ward does. Why does Peters continue give Ward the benefit of the doubt?
After eight losses, Khudobin still comes out with the higher save percentage of .891 and goals against average at 3.24. Ward sits with a save percent of .840 and GAA of 3.95. Although the numbers aren’t significant, the Hurricanes have averaged 23.75 shots on net with Ward in goal and 26.5 with Khudobin.
Four goals in recent contests were converted within the first five minutes of the game, with both goalies having two a piece. Not all of that is weighted on the goalies, however. Defensively speaking, there are often fundamental errors in front of the crease.
The second goal Vancouver scored Tuesday night was on the power play, and although the Hurricanes were a man down, there was a clear defensive collapse or a lack of communication.
Here you see Daniel Sedin(1) completely wide open in front of the net. Now even though this is a power play, shouldn’t at least someone be on top of the man in front of the net?
Tlusty completely lets Linden Vey get out of his reach while he cuts to the front of the net and as a result catches Sedin’s missed pass and places one past Ward.
On another note, Alexander Semin was benched for the majority of the third period Tuesday night in Vancouver. "[T]here are individuals that, even in the circumstances, can and need to play better," General manager Ron Francis stated. Whether or not it was directed at Semin, his effort and production hasn’t been up to par to say the least.
Jiri Tlusty has shown his talent ability leading the team with seven points and recording a hat trick against the Islanders. Chris Terry is the only player on the team with a plus rating with +1.
With a hopeful mindset going in to their game against Arizona on Saturday, who are the last place team in the West, they need this win. If they don’t, that’s nine losses to start the season. What’s the breaking point for Ron Francis to make drastic changes to personnel on the ice? It’s time to get angry.
"We’re in a hole, and we’ve got to stop digging and figure a way to make ourselves better to get out of it."