Bad games happen over the course of the year and the Hurricanes have had their share of them this season, but their 4-1 loss to the Panthers tonight my have been the absolute low point of the season. It wasn't so much the fact that they lost but more that they were outplayed and outworked by a Florida team who had won only two out of their last ten games coming into tonight. We've seen how good this Hurricanes team can be plenty of times this year but for whatever reason, they have had trouble playing against bad teams and it's been especially true within their division. They let two points slip away against Washington last week, laid an egg against Tampa Bay on Saturday and put in yet another terrible performance tonight where they gave up 44 shots on goal to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
Losing this game or any of their last four doesn't automatically disqualify Carolina for the playoffs, but any chance they had at gaining separation from the rest of the Southeast Division is all but gone. Winning these games was all about the Hurricanes making easier for themselves later on in the season and after going a combined 1-3-1 in their last five, Carolina will likely be in a dogfight for a playoff spot for the rest of the season. Not that they deserve to be in the #3 spot after their performances in some of these games, especially tonight's.
I'm not one to panic over four bad games and I know this team is better than what they've shown the last week, but tonight's performance was still pretty alarming. The team probably doesn't have to be reminded how important each game is at this time of the year no matter who the opponent is, so I'm not quite sure why they have been playing much lower than their standard lately. There are only 19 games left in the year and the Hurricanes still need to go a little better than .500 to make the playoffs, which they can do but the window is going to get even smaller for them if they continue to play like they did tonight and the injury to Justin Faulk probably makes things a lot worse.
You can't go into the playoffs allowing this many shots per game without at least making up for it at the other end. Dan Ellis isn't going to stop 93% of the shots he sees every night, so the Hurricanes need to shape up their play in just about every area.no comments