The Carolina Hurricanes showed a different level of effort tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Yet still, in a results oriented world, Carolina lost again (this time 1-0) and continued their freefall towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference. For those counting, that would be their seventh loss in eight games.
It’ll put the GM Jim Rutherford and the Canes in an interesting predicament. There was some chatter that coach Paul Maurice could receive his walking papers in the wake of Wednesday’s disaster in Montreal. Tonight’s Carolina team looked nothing like the team that was sleepwalking through their game against the Canadiens though. But again, there was the scoreboard problem.
The Hurricanes looked better in just about all facets of the game. The defense looked nothing like the team that has been giving up goals like a lacrosse goaltender. The Canes controlled the game for about 59 minutes—but a single defensive lapse in front of the net and a Jason Pominville rebound goal was all the Sabres would need to escape with a win. The Hurricanes were the better team and deserved a better fate.
This time, the problem was isolated the offensive side of the game. Unfortunately for the Canes, their fans, and their coach, the offensive players on the team can’t find the back of the net. The second consecutive shutout means they haven’t scored a goal since early in the 3rd period against the Flyers—on Monday. They’re scoreless drought is now at 135 minutes, 24 seconds.
It doesn’t matter if the defense is playing well or not; if the team doesn’t score, they’re not going to win.
We’ll see if the organization gives Maurice a stay of execution after the tough luck loss. The team brought the energy you’d hope they would when playing for a coach’s job—the only negative was the result. We’ll see if that’s going to be enough?
The Islanders hoped they’d be able to right the ship tonight when the struggling Winnipeg Jets visited Long Island on Thursday night. For the sixth game in a row, they’re still looking for answers.
The season started off so much optimism. After dropping a tough game on opening night, the Isles followed it up with a three-game winning streak to improve their record to 3-1. John Tavares was coming off back-to-back four point games and it was starting to look like the Islanders rebuilding project was starting to bear fruit.
How things can change.
The optimism that filled Nassau Coliseum at the beginning of the season has been replaced with the skepticism that has filled the rink for the last few seasons. The team has already been shutout three times in only ten games. Throughout the six-game losing streak, each of their three netminders have failed to get the train back on the track. This is the same team that had a 14-game losing streak at the beginning of <i>last</i> season.
The tough part for Isles fans to swallow tonight is that the team had shown signs of improvement lately. They lost in shootout in Pittsburgh last week and pushed the San Jose Sharks to OT over the weekend. But even though the Isles had a good effort tonight, the 3-0 loss at home against the Winnipeg Jets can only be classified as a huge step backwards.
Here are the highlights—or lowlights from tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets:
Times have been tough for Philadelphia lately. The once dominant team at the top of the Eastern Conference standings is now just two points ahead of Pittsburgh for the lead in the Atlantic Division and also just two points ahead of Boston for the top spot in the East overall. A four game losing streak will always help do its part to bring about the worries and fretting from the fans and media alike but coach Peter Laviolette has an idea of what’s wrong.
Laviolette says that the Flyers’ lethargic play of late is his own fault thanks to working the team too hard in practice before playing three games in four days. After yesterday’s 7-0 humbling at the hands of the rival Rangers on NBC’s Game of the Week, it’s hard to argue with Laviolette as Chuck Gormley of The Courier-Post shares from Flyers practice.
“The two games prior to [yesterday] we had energy but we got beat. The bounces that were going our way, aren’t going our way, like the shots that are going in from behind the goal line. Things didn’t click and you could have come out on the other side of those two games. We still could play better, don’t get me wrong. Yesterday they didn’t have the pop we needed. It was like we were moving slow out there.
“If I am being honest, I have to take one hundred percent responsibility for what happened yesterday. We came into the month of March and we wanted to push. We pushed hard for three days and will continue to push hard, but yesterday I think we felt the effects of that. We came in and we didn’t have the jam that we needed to play a team that had plenty of it. I think it’s an isolated [incident]. That type of game is really tough to take, and it’s one of those losses that makes you want to get sick over, but it’s one game. We need to move on. We need to get that energy back up to a really high level and prepare ourselves for the next game and not dwell on that game. There was no pop out there.”
There was no pop, there was no defensive coverage, there was no offense, and there was no goaltending. One thing the Flyers have had a lot of is the flu. Jeff Carter missed their games against Toronto and New York with sickness as have a handful of other players. Illness combined with getting worked hard at practice leads to getting demolished on the road by a team that hasn’t been able to throw the puck in the ocean, never mind in the goal.
The Flyers have played all season long without so much as a minor disturbance along the way. Now that they’re meeting adversity head on it seems to be that the sky is falling for some Flyers faithful. Provided that Laviolette is right and that some rest for his team will get their legs back under them, this will be just a bump in the road when it gets looked back upon later on. What’s changing the landscape for them is the much better play out of Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington in the East. It’s been almost too easy for the Flyers this year, but if they can avoid cracking under the pursuit of their rivals they’ll be just fine.