Four straight games without a win. A season defining west coast road trip that will push the Canes beyond the brink of being a playoff team. Sub par goaltending and failures up and down the ice for as far as the eye can see. Once again, last night showed little sign for hope and another terrible waste of a season continues on.
For now there are no bright spots for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Anaheim Ducks took full advantage of the Canes’ miscues and made them pay en route to a 3-2 victory. For the Hurricanes, and their fans, it just feels like we’ve been stuck on repeat for the past three weeks.
Same old Canes
When Justin Williams opened the scoring for the Canes just 1:37 in to the game there was a moment of joy, then quickly the realization of here we go again set in. The Canes have made a habit of scoring first then ultimately choking as the game goes on.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to come up with ways to describe the way the Hurricanes have played for the better part of three weeks. From abysmal goaltending to questionable coaching decisions to outright failing to execute - it’s all the same stuff on repeat.
As the game wore on, Scott Darling would continue his shaky play in the Hurricanes’ net, Haydn Fleury would prove he is still a rookie, and the Canes would show they still don’t know how to score. Sound familiar?
The proverbial question here has to be are the Ducks really that mighty or are the Hurricanes really that bad? The Ducks started the game by giving up the early goal to Williams. For many teams that would be a back breaker. Instead they kept on and then Scott Darling let in an extremely easy goal to get them on the board:
From there the Ducks would go on to play a fairly even game with the Canes, and just when you thought the Canes would escape their dreaded 2nd period unscathed the Ducks struck. With 35 seconds left in the second period Fluery misplayed a puck in the neutral zone, then tripped, allowing Jakob Silfverberg to walk in alone on Scott Darling. For all the bad rebounds Darling has given up and his uncanny misplays of pucks that has led to goals, another shortcoming is his ability to stop breakaways. So naturally, Silfverberg buried the puck past Darling, giving the Ducks a 2-1 lead heading in to the 2nd intermission.
Powerful you have become, the Ducks Side we sense in you. pic.twitter.com/OSOatRnq25— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) December 12, 2017
Then right out of the gate in the third period the Ducks would strike again. Darling had lost his stick and then got beat on his stick side by Logan Shaw at the 1:52 mark.
From there on it was all John Gibson in net. He stopped multiple chances and the Canes had no answer for him.
But again, aside from Gibson’s play were the Ducks really that good? No, they weren't—but they found a way to capitalize on their chances and get the win.
The Canes would not die out easily as the game wore down through the third period. They had many chances to get back in yet couldn't break through until Victor Rask finally beat Gibson with 2:40 left. The only person lately who has shown the willingness to get to the dirty areas is Rask. He has four goals in his past eight games and ever since he was benched has been a different player. He had a chance to clear his head and has come back driven.
It would sure seem like the coaches would bench some of their players for not performing aside from just Rask and Fleury. Maybe that would help. There is certainly a goaltender that could benefit from a bit of time away from the ice to figure out his situation.
Aside from that, the team has had effort the past two games with no results, and quite frankly, it’s puzzling. Sebastian Aho has seemed very reluctant to take a shot; instead, he has been attempting far too many “pretty plays”. Teuvo Teravainen has cooled off, as has Jeff Skinner. The Canes cannot afford to have this happen and despite a multitude of chances they have to have someone step up and finish. That starts by getting to the front of the net and staying there. The Canes refuse to go to the front of the net. If you watch other teams they always have a man stationed in front of our goalie, yet we never do that to other teams.
Still waiting on something to happen... This stretch has essentially rendered the rest of the season nearly meaningless, and yet nothing has been done. Will it happen when the team gets back to Raleigh? Who knows. But until then, Brian has an idea on what the team needs to do and he might be on to something:
The Canes are so far deep inside their own heads that Google Maps can’t give them directions to get out. I don’t think it’s a coaching thing per se, although he’s the most likely (and understandable) scapegoat. But that locker room needs a come-to-Jesus moment, badly.— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) December 12, 2017
I know, but they’re so damned fragile. They are absolutely petrified to make a mistake. Maybe the big move they need is to hire a psychologist.— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) December 12, 2017
Moral of the Story
The Hurricanes’ play on the ice is extremely inconsistent and every night they find new ways to lose games. From embarrassing blowouts to not capitalizing on their chances, the Canes are stuck in a situation where every game is the same in one way: the result.