Four losses in a row.
The longest losing streak for the Carolina Hurricanes this season.
Is this the end for them? Is it time to pack it in and sell off before the trade deadline ends?
Look, the Hurricanes are still in first place in the Metropolitan division with games in hand over the teams behind them and they also have the third best points percentage in the entire league. They have an elite goaltending tandem and a solid defensive corp. They play a reliable style of hockey and aren’t afraid to get physical.
The one issue right now is that the puck is just not finding its way into the net and that’s not a major red flag.
Lack of effort, inability to dictate possession, poor defensive coverage, goaltending uncertainty; those are areas of concern and all of which Carolina has none of.
“Everybody’s working so hard,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “You should be rewarded more for that, with the way we played. I think it’ll work itself out here as we keep going. We can’t change what we’re doing. Can we get better? Of course. We can be better on faceoffs, we can be better on the power play. We had some good looks on the power play, but we also gave up a breakaway. You don’t want to be doing that kind of stuff. There are things within that game we want to tighten up, but, overall, walking out of here, we should win that game 99 times out of 100.”
Hockey is a game that, whether people want to admit or not, is one that is heavily influenced by luck.
You are hoping a 3-inch disc of vulcanized rubber manages to bounce off a couple of bodies or pops out of a goalie’s grasp or that the read you are about to make is the opposite of what your opponent is expecting.
The highlight reel snipes and dekes are sweet, but are a rarity in the grand scheme of the game.
Sometimes you just aren’t lucky.
That’s been the case for Carolina.
While a lot of fans want the Hurricanes to go out and grab a big name player for a playoff run, it just currently isn’t feasible.
The Canes have virtually no cap room to play around with and so any move would require moving out a current roster player. Not ideal.
Past that, the current market is hugely inflated by some of the deals that have been struck, meaning that any move for a big name is one that is going to cost you a lot.
Also, Carolina isn’t just concerned about the playoffs today, but are planning for future runs as well. They won’t make a move unless it makes them better for today and for tomorrow.
I get it, trades are fun and exciting, but again, this same roster has the Hurricanes sitting at third in the entire league and one additional guy isn’t going to be able to swing the entire team’s luck around.
“Well, we scored lots of goals early in the year,” Brind’Amour said. “It goes in waves sometimes. It’s just tough.”
Carolina is doing all the right things, it’s just been a tough stretch.
Take last night for example.
The Hurricanes outshot the Rangers 44-18, gave up virtually no chances against, hit the post multiple times on great looks and the only actual goal they gave up was a tip in front of the net by a guy who was being boxed out pretty well.
“That was probably one of our better games all year,” Brind’Amour said after the loss to the Rangers. “Their goalie played great, and that’s end of story. I don’t know what else we could have done other than put pucks in the net. Everything we wanted to do, for the most part, we did. We just didn’t get rewarded tonight.”
The Canes lost games number 59-62 of the regular season. Its the middle of a season in which they’ve won 41 games. It’s going to be okay.