We're only six games into the season, but there are already some signs of major concern in Raleigh, as the Hurricanes dropped a 5-3 decision the Phoenix Coyotes yesterday. Not only did the Canes lose their third game of the last four, they did it while getting grossly outplayed at even strength and looking outmatched by a team who they probably should have matched up better against. Couple that with back-up goaltender Anton Khudobin suffering an injury and the first line looking lost, and there are many Caniacs beginning to hit the panic button.
I won't try to sugar coat it, the Hurricanes played a lousy game tonight and this is the third time this week where I can say that. They looked unprepared in the first period and paid for it by giving up an early goal and were forced to play an uphill battle the rest of the afternoon. There were definitely some encouraging moments, but this was far from a 60-minute effort and it's really frustrating to see this team continually get crushed during 5v5 play after how good they were in this department last year. Granted, they've gone up against some good teams early on in the year (LA, Phoenix, Detroit & Pittsburgh are among the best in the league at 5v5 territorial play), but the fact that the Canes are losing the battle at even strength against these clubs so badly is a little troubling, especially long-term.
How worried should everyone be, though? It's only six games after all and what we're seeing now could be very different a few months from now, but slow starts are something that have crippled the Canes in past years and they need to be careful not to go down that road again. The personnel may have changed, but we're seeing the same old bad habits that have been around for years (penalties, bad special teams, etc.) and this loss to Phoenix really showcased all of those flaws.no comments