A late-game redirection off Ron Hainsey’s skate cost Carolina any points in the standings Thursday, with Tampa Bay scoring twice on flukey bounces to top the punchless Hurricanes, 2-1.
1. Thursday’s game wasn't one the Hurricanes deserved to win. But they also didn't deserve to lose. Two bad bounces felled the Hurricanes and spoiled another good outing by Cam Ward. But the underlying issue continues to be that Carolina cannot generate enough offense to support good defensive efforts.
2. Justin Faulk’s plus-minus (minus-14) will make many second guess his play this season, but the 22-year-old blueliner is blossoming as an offensive player. Faulk scored Carolina’s only goal Thursday, his fifth of the season, and now has 17 points in 28 games. That ties him with Shea Weber and a few others for the 16th-most points by a defensemanin the league this season. The Canes have just 60 goals, so Faulk’s 17 points means he has registered a point on 28.3 percent of Carolina’s goals. Comparatively, Calgary’s Mark Giordano, the league's top scoring defenseman with 30 points, has notched a point on 32.2 percent of the Flames’ 93 tallies.
3. It's time to take a long, hard look at Eric Staal and his future with the Hurricanes. Staal is mired in a five-game pointless streak and has simply not been a difference maker on the ice. Injuries and lack of talent have been legitimate excuses in the past, but now it seems Staal has just settled into being an inconsistent and streaky player. Prior to his past five games, Staal had seven points in the previous six outings, so the talent and ability to produce is still there. But as Staal goes, it seems, so goes the Canes. Right now, Carolina isn't scoring. It's not coincidence that Staal isn't either.
Number To Know
4 — Consecutive games with just one goal for the Hurricanes. Carolina lost all four games, which were all one-goal losses with the exception of Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, when the Red Wings tacked on a late-game empty net goal in a 3-1 win.
Victor Rask — He didn't show up on the score sheet, but in watching the game one couldn't help but notice that Rask won every battle — in the neutral zone, along the boards, in the defensive zone — against the high-powered Lightning. Rask has only nine points this season — and just three at even strength — but he is already emerging as a major piece in the Hurricanes rebuild.
Jiri Tlusty — Tlusty has a team-high 10 goals, but he's now gone six games without a point. It's his second six-game run without a point this season, and Carolina could certainly use more consistency from its best secondary scoring threat. The good news for Carolina is Tlusty has done much of his damage on the road this season (nine of his 10 goals have come away from PNC Arena), so perhaps he can work his way out of his funk in Philadelphia and Montreal.