The Canes defense has allowed 19 goals during their four-game losing streak, three less than the 21 they gave up during the 10-game winning streak. Apparently dinged Pyotr Kochetkov has taken the brunt of these losses on the chin as the man in the crease. True, there have been some floaters getting passed the rookie goalie. As with even the most veteran netminder, a duffer is bound to pass, but the weight of this downhill does not fall completely on Kochethkov’s shoulders.
During this recent tilt, the Hanfield Line saw their streak come to an end during the loss to Nashville 5-3 in Raleigh. Both Calvin De Haan and Jalen Chatfield ended with a -1 for the night.
Brett Burns has gone pointless with five straight negative nights. Jacob Slavin had a one assist against the New York Rangers but still ended the game with a -1. He also has not been on the plus side in three of the four losses.
Brady Skjei, and to a lesser extend Brett Pesce, have proven to be the brighter spots of a otherwise bleak set of games for the Canes defense. Skjei has two goals and four points during the skid.
He single handedly kept Carolina in the game against Columbus in that 4-3 loss. Pesce has tallied three points in five games going back to Carolina’s win against New Jersey on New Year’s Day.
Despite the scores, Pyotr Kochetov is playing as well as can be expected for a NHL rookie thrust into a starting role with only three of starts last season. Take the loss to New Jersey as solace. Only the 3rd goal in the second period was anything but a serious shot. The other three goals given up were snipes that Kochetov made solid plays for.
Dawson Mercer’s break away goal to put the Devils in the lead for good, was perhaps the most difficult to cover as Dylan Coghlan was attempting to cover Mercer making a poke check impossible.
Kochetov ended the game with a .818 save percentage and 18 saves. That night with good defense in front of him could win most games.
The Canes defense as a unit can get things turned around. Facing a Columbus Blue Jacket team that has only scored 3 goals since beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout on January 7th, is the perfect time to get things back on track.
As common as the troupe is becoming, any member of this Hurricane team can step up and play a big game any given night. Hopefully the Canes defensive unit decides to collectively step once more into the breach and put Carolina in a place to win.