Any hope that the Hurricanes had for a miracle playoff push is all but gone now as they went 1-2-0 last week with two bad losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings. They ended up getting outshot and outchanced by a wide margin overall but that’s mostly because of the Detroit game where they gave up over 50 shots on goal and 25 scoring chances. Carolina actually had the advantage in scoring chances in the games against Florida & Columbus but ended up negative overall because of the beating they took in Detroit.
They always say that the scoreboard is where things count the most and Carolina was outscored 10-4 at even strength this past week. The Hurricanes have been able to keep a respectable goal differential over the past couple months but that obviously went out the window after that Jackets game. This is what usually happens when you get outshot regularly, though and it was only a matter of time before the Canes ended up getting burned. The team’s talent level just isn’t high enough to compete with the top teams in the league right now and we saw that against Detriot when they blew a 4-1 lead and were heavily outshot. Carolina has some nice pieces but they need to add a couple more forwards and maybe a defenseman to become a better possession team than they are now. Then we can start talking about whether or not this team will become a playoff contender.
The only thing that was discouraging about this week was that the team has at least been competing in every game under Muller and not laying down but we didn’t see that in the Columbus or Detroit games. Brighter days are ahead but first, let’s revisit this past week and single out some performances.
Eric Staal: Once again, he led the team in points with four and was one of the team’s better players in all three games this week. He was also 63% effective in the face-off dot and had a team leading 12 shots on goal. No matter how bad things get, you can always count on Staal to turn in a good performance.
Jussi Jokinen: Led the team in scoring chance differential with a +6 had a good showing on the powerplay and picked up two assists.
Jeff Skinner: Similar stats to Jokinen with two assists, a +5 in scoring chances and he was one of the few forwards who performed well on the powerplay. Skinner’s line with Jokinen & Ruutu also had a hell of a night against Florida on Wednesday where they produced eight scoring chances. It’s too bad they couldn’t carry it over to Friday & Saturday but Skinner had a good week overall.
Tim Gleason: After weeks of getting pasted at even strength, Gleason was not on ice for a goal against and was only a -1 at even strength. With the load he takes on every week, that’s very good.
Brandon Sutter: He was good on the penalty kill but he got rocked at even strength against Detroit and was on ice for only nine Carolina scoring chances and four goals against.
Chad LaRose: Usually, LaRose does a good job at outchancing his competition but that wasn’t the case this week. He had a goal and an assist but he was a -4 in chances and was on ice for five goals against.
Justin Faulk: He had two assists but he ended up being outchanced at even strength, was outplayed badly by his competition and was on ice for six goals against.
Tim Brent: I think Brent working the point on the powerplay is starting to wear off because he was on ice for only three of the 10 powerplay chances that Carolina produced. Considering that this is the one area that he excels in, he needs to produce there.
Anthony Stewart: Was actually on ice for one more chance than he gave up, which is probably a first for him. Other than that, he didn’t do much at all.
Tuomo Ruutu: Believe it or not, Ruutu was actually a positive player in scoring chances and corsi for the three games this week. That’s mostly because he played well against Florida and struggled against Detroit and Columbus, though. His good underlying numbers keep him from getting a don arrow but he clearly needs to be a lot better than he has been lately. One assist in nine games isn’t going to cut it.
Bryan Allen: Finally had a respectable week when it came to even strength play. He was only outchanced by one and picked up an assist against Detroit. However, he was also on ice for three opposing goals.
Derek Joslin: Played about 4-5 minutes per game and did next to nothing. At least he wasn’t giving up a lot of chances like usual.
Jay Harrison: Held off the scoresheet yet again and he wasn’t on ice for a single Carolina goal. He was one of the team’s best penalty killers, though.
Joni Pitkanen: It was a mixed bag for him. He produced a lot of chances but gave up a lot at the other end. He had a great game against Florida with a goal and an assist but he was also on ice for four goals against while only producing two for the Hurricanes at even strength. I’m guessing this is just rink rust but Pitkanen’s always been a high-risk kind of player.
Jamie McBain: Scored a powerplay goal against Detriot, had 10 shots on goal, was on ice for more than half of Carolina’s powerplay chances and the team controlled 53% of the scoring chances when he was on the ice. Unfortunately, he also ended up being on ice for four goals against.
Jiri Tlusty: Had two goals against Detroit and that would be good enough to get him an up arrow but he very bad defensively in that game (gave up 11 chances at even strength) and was torched on the penalty kill. It would have been a good week for Tlusty but he needs to work on his all-around game a little more.
Drayson Bowman: Scored the Canes only goal against Columbus and didn’t do much else. He was also on ice for four goals against and 17 and 15 of the opponent’s scoring chances.
Cam Ward: Played well against Florida, was awful against Columbus and did all he could to keep Carolina in the game against Detroit but eventually broke down. The mileage is really piling up for him right now and the game against Detroit showed that he can only do so much as the team’s workhorse.
Patrick Dwyer: Typical Patrick Dwyer week. Was on ice for the third fewest scoring chances but was also one of the team’s better players at preventing chances. He did have a rough night against Detroit, though.