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Game Analysis: Canes Lack Scoring Punch Vs. Chicago

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Carolina lost their fourth-straight game, falling 3-1 to Chicago Monday at PNC Arena. Victor Rask scored the Hurricanes’ lone goal, and Carolina’s home winless streak extended to six games.

Jordan Staal and the Hurricanes peppered Corey Crawford with shots Monday, but only got one past the Chicago goalie in a 3-1 loss.
Jordan Staal and the Hurricanes peppered Corey Crawford with shots Monday, but only got one past the Chicago goalie in a 3-1 loss.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but imposed their will on the Chicago Blackhwaks the rest of the way to make a game of it. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the Canes scoring woes continued, and they fell 3-1 Monday at PNC Arena.

Three Observations

1. It may sound like the company line, but it's nice to see the Hurricanes continue to establish an identity despite their fate already being sealed. Furthermore, it's fantastic that the identity is based in a key thing: hard work. Carolina had 44 shots (to just 25 for Chicago) despite not having a power play opportunity and outhit the Blackhawks 33 to 31 (led by four from Riley Nash).

2. That being said, Carolina’s scoring woes have definitely returned. In the past six games, the Hurricanes have just seven goals and have managed to get three just once (the only win in that stretch, 3-2 over Columbus). Look no further than Carolina’s highest-paid forwards: Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner all have not scored in that stretch.

3. With Cam Ward still recovering from the aftereffects of a virus that the team’s TV crew said cost him 10 pounds, Anton Khudobin has started the past five games and performed well. But much like earlier in the season, he's not getting the goal support (see above) needed to get wins. The 2014-15 season will easily go down as Khudobin’s worst statistical season, but there’s no reason to be down on the 28-year-old netminder. Khudobin has not pouted about the back-and-forth goaltending situation, and even on the worst nights by the team’s defense he has battled to stop pucks.

Number To Know

14 — Shots on goal Justin Faulk would need in the season’s final 10 games to set the Hurricanes mark for most shots by a defenseman in a season. Sean Hill currently holds the mark with 228 in the 2003-04 season. Barring injury, Faulk should top that and also the points mark set by Joni Pitkanen in 2009-10 — Faulk has 45 points, one behind Pitkanen’s mark of 46. He is also two goals shy of matching Anton Babchuk’s nine power play goals and 16 total goals in 2008-09.

Plus

Danny Biega — Not too shabby for a guy playing just his third NHL game. Biega logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time in the loss playing alongside a revitalized John-Michael Liles, and the rookie looked comfortable in all three zones, even jumping into the play a few times in the attacking end. Carolina didn't shelter Biega either: he and Liles had the most defensive zone starts (five) of any player on the Canes.

Minus

Andrej Nestrasil — It was a bit of a struggle for Nestrasil as he spent most of his time in the defensive zone Monday. He was one of only two Hurricanes to finish with a minus Corsi differential (minus-8; Jay McClement was the other, but with just a minus-1) and also stretched his streak without a point to four games, which is his longest drought since joining Carolina.