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Canes suffer second straight shut out loss in pivotal Metro battle

The Carolina Hurricanes were blanked by Vitek Vanecek in New Jersey Sunday night.

Carolina Hurricanes v New Jersey Devils Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes took the ice Sunday night in New Jersey in a pivotal Metropolitan Division matchup, hoping to extend their lead atop the division over the Devils.

Instead, the Canes’ scoring woes continued, as the Devils blanked the Hurricanes 3-0 in Carolina’s second shutout loss in as many nights. After falling 4-0 to Vegas Saturday, the Canes again failed to score a goal, pushing their scoreless drought to eight full periods and 178:51 of ice time.

Vitek Vanecek was very good for the Devils in net, turning away all 32 shots he faced. The Canes outshot the Devils 32-23, but New Jersey out-chanced the Hurricanes as Carolina really never found a semblance of a groove in the game as the Devils dominated on their home ice to even things up atop the Metro Division.

In the Canes’ net, Pyotr Kochetkov made 20 saves on 23 shots faced, and while he made some strong saves he also let in some soft goals. On the whole though, the Hurricanes just weren’t good enough Sunday night to compete with a Devils team that was faster, better and more efficient.

The Canes had plenty of chances, too. Carolina went 0 for 3 on the power play, but mustered just two scoring chances over the course of six whole minutes of 5-on-4 play. If there was a bright spot for Carolina it was the penalty kill — which was 2 for 2 — but that was far from enough to make Sunday night’s effort palatable.

Carolina is struggling right now. Every team goes on scoring droughts. It’s just not a great time, with Sunday’s game against the Devils one of the most important of the entire regular season.

The Canes will be back in action Tuesday night at home against Winnipeg, and a goal will be desperately needed.