The Carolina Hurricanes were 9-3-1 coming into the month of November, but have won only one game and lost the the last 4 straight.
If you look back in the calendar to the start of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes actually started the season off on the right foot. They won 5 in a row to start the season, including wins over Washington, Tampa bay, Montreal, Florida, and the New York Islanders. Where did this hot starting Canes team go?
Well, let’s start with the obvious omission from the last 2 games, Erik Haula. The Finnish center has 8 goals and 3 assists on the season, and his nagging knee injury in the past 3 games has been very easy to notice with the team struggling in his absence. With the team running an 11-forward 7-defenceman lineup that hasn’t been working, or running with callups in his place, it’s obvious to miss the Finn.
Another reason for the Canes struggles? The deeply talented blue line we have is not playing well. It’s clear to see players like Joel Edmundson struggling in front of their own goal to clear players out so James Reimer and Petr Mrazek can see the puck. People are able to set up in front of goal way to easily, and teams are just blowing pucks by the shorter goaltenders.
Players are struggling to get the puck into the offensive zone. The most effective way of entering the zone for the Canes as of late has been dumping and chasing. There’s not really been anyone who can carry the puck in across the blue line. That makes it much easier for teams to clog the blueline with 5 guys, and stop the Hurricanes attacks before they become dangerous.
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The goaltenders have also not exactly covered themselves in glory. Mrazek and Reimer have been good, but not great. They’ve not made anything special happen, or when they have, the defence has allowed a guy in front of the goal to tap the puck in. Reimer in particular has not been great, but neither goalie has shown themselves over this stretch to be able to steal a game.
Thankfully, this is still early, and the Canes get a chance to correct the slide on Monday at home to Ottawa. In desperate need of a victory, we will see if the Canes can pick up the pieces of this slide and correct the season, to try and get back to April hockey again.