Last night, we got another dose of high-shooting, low-scoring, Canes-losing action as Carolina fell 3-2 in OT to the New Jersey Devils for its third-straight loss.
Unless you’re a NASCAR fan celebrating Daytona, this is probably one of the worst sporting weekends for us as a Caniac family. We just got off the incredible high of 14 goals in three games, bolting our way back into a wild card slot, only to fall back into that same wretched hungover feeling we know all too well.
The Hurricanes showed once again why they can’t be trusted to deliver in last night’s loss: they can hit the blocker, they can hit the pad, they certainly can hit the glass behind the goal, but they just can’t hit the net.
Even Jeff Skinner’s last-minute goal to ensure the charity point couldn’t blind us to that fact once again. Even though his goal was impressive, desperation is a hell of a drug, and we didn’t see anywhere near that kind of net pressure or effort for the first 59 minutes.
(Plus, don’t pretend like that Devils unit wasn’t completely gassed, having played the night before and being stuck out on the ice for over a minute.)
This isn’t anything new. When the Canes scored seven goals against the Kings last week, I laughed more than I celebrated, thinking “Where the hell has this been all year? And can we spread it out rather than tuck it all into one game?”
Face it: we’re a terrible goal-scoring team. As our Site Lord Brian LeBlanc noted in his recap of last night’s game, it was the 300th game for Victor Rask as a Cane, and in that span - over four seasons - he is the team’s second-best scorer with 60 goals.
And if you look at the last five years of how many goals we’ve scored per game, it’s so head-shakingly bad that one wonders what in the world Ron Francis, the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer, and his crew can’t figure out about how to create a team that scores goals:
- 2017-2018 (through 60 GP): 27th (2.65 GF/GP)
- 2016-2017: 20th (2.59 GF/GP)
- 2015-2016: 27th (2.39 GF/GP)
- 2014-2015: 27th (2.23 GF/GP)
- 2013-2014: 22nd (2.50 GF/GP)
Sure, it looks to be that on average, our goals for per game has gone up by metrics, but so has every other team, generally. I mean, we’re in 27th place, people—no way to sugar coat that.
When the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2005-2006, they were third in the league in goals per game at 3.49. In the past five years (excluding Vegas and Phoenix from the sum total), we’re 26th of 30 teams cumulatively in goals for per game played at 2.46.
Not even close to cutting it.
As far as our current situation goes, part of my brain sees what Francis and crew are doing in the past week, saying We’re so close to making the playoffs, why make major moves or callups just yet?
But the other side, which I tend to agree with more, says Did he really believe we could make the playoffs with the goal scoring we’ve had this season and the past few years?
There’s just no way.