We've all seen this movie before. The Hurricanes came into this game in need of a win and were taking on a struggling team who were in a similar situation. The Canes may have lost their last four, but the Devils had only won three of their last 10 and really starting to lose ground in the playoff race. This was a perfect chance for them to right the ship and get a much needed win. Adding to that, the Hurricanes were also receiving a bit of a morale boost with Tuomo Ruutu returning to the lineup so this was the perfect night for them to get things back on track.
The result? Another dud of a game and a 4-1 loss. You would think that the Hurricanes would put together a more complete performance after getting embarrassed by Florida on Tuesday night, but this game ended up being very similar to that. The Canes were outworked in just about every area and their offense was held stagnant for most of the night by the Devils. Taking nothing away from the Devils since they played a terrific game defensively, but when a team totals only seven shots on goal through 40 minutes of play, I think it's safe to say that they were outworked and didn't give their best performance. That was the case for the Hurricanes tonight and it's the same thing that we have seen for the past week or so where the team plays well in spurts but was outworked overall and deserved to lose.
What's most frustrating about this loss in particular is that for the first 20 minutes, Carolina looked like a team that was going to turn things around tonight. They came out with a lot of jump and played about as good of a first period as you could imagine, outshooting the Devils 11-4 and had plenty of opportunities to get on the board. Unfortunately, Martin Brodeur had an answer for all of the Hurricanes chances and Carolina found themselves trialing after one after giving up the strangest goal you'll ever see. The Devils were whistled for a penalty, which prompted goaltender Dan Ellis to go to the bench so the Canes could get an extra skater. It was then that Jordan Staal tried to send a pass to Tim Gleason but the puck ended up ricocheting off the boards and into the Hurricanes vacant net. If there was one play that can sum up how everything has been going for the Canes lately, that play would be it. When you're shooting at only 3% at even strength over five games, that's generally a sign that the Hockey Gods aren't shining on you and this goal was just icing on the cake.
Even with that, the Hurricanes did a lot of good things in that first period and could have built off it to tie the game in the second. That obviously didn't happen and the Hurricanes "response" to this was having only seven shots on goal in the remaining two periods and getting outscored 3-1. Just more of the same old things we've been seeing too often from this team for the past week or so and it's getting to the point where the fans are getting restless.
Did the team have some bounces go against them tonight? Absolutely. Would they have made the difference in them winning or losing? No, because they were outplayed tonight and have been getting outplayed, outhustled and outworked in just about every game for the past week. They still have time to turn it around but the Hurricanes are trending in the wrong direction at the absolute worst time. Having four days off to get refocused might help them but the only thing that matters is what they do during game time, which has been severely lacking as of late.no comments