Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t put it together to secure a win in their first game of November, as they dropped their fourth straight, a 3-0 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canes couldn’t solve 6-foot-7 Ben Bishop, who made 31 saves. Justin Peters countered with 29 saves. “If we keep being persistent and focusing on the details, the results will take care of themselves,” Peters said. “It’s very frustrating not getting the results you want, but we’re going to continue to be persistent.”
-- “Persistent” was the word du jour in the locker room after the game. Though the Canes have not won a game since Oct. 19, the team feels as though a win is a bounce away; the details of the game are there, but it’s about executing. “No one is going to feel sorry for us. We just have to man up,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We just have to be a little bit better in all areas, and it makes the difference between a win and a loss.”
-- The Hurricanes have managed to score just four goals in their last four games and were trailing just 1-0 heading into the final 20 minutes in their own building tonight. A power play goal at the start of the period could have easily swung the pendulum. “We’re trying to create a little more offensively, and I thought we did that tonight. It was just a tight game there going into the third period,” Eric Staal said. “Those are moments you have to find a way to get the job done, especially at home, and we weren’t able to do that.”
-- More Staal, who has 8 points (3g, 5a) and is a minus-10 through 13 games: “I feel pressure every year. Nothing changes. I’ve been here a long time, and I want to be in the playoffs. I want to make sure I’m in an important role to help us get there. In my position, I need to be chipping in offensively and doing a little bit more in the offensive zone. It’s not going for me right now, but I’m going to continue to work and come ready to play tomorrow night.”
-- Peters, despite still not having secured a win since Cam Ward went down with an injury, played another solid game in net tonight. The first goal he’d admittedly like to have back, as it pinballed off the end boards, off him and in, but he made a handful of stops of Steven Stamkos and on a Tampa Bay power play in the second period to keep the game at just 1-0. “I saw it. I just have to get to that post instead of watching the puck with my eyes. It was a mental lapse,” Peters said of what proved to be the game-winning tally from Victor Hedman. “I’ve got to be better than that, and I will be.”
-- Muller said after the game he hasn’t made a final decision on goaltending for Saturday night’s game in New York.
-- Manny Malhotra made his Hurricanes’ debut tonight. He played 8:52, including 1:29 shorthanded. His impact was seen clearly in the faceoff circle, as he was 15-for-20 (75 percent), helping the Canes to a 63 percent winning percentage overall. “I thought it was a good start and first game for Manny,” Muller said.
-- Perhaps most mentally encouraging for the Canes – they get another crack at snapping the skid in less than 24 hours, as they travel to New York to take on the Rangers. “If we walk in there tomorrow and get a win, that means the guys found a way to fight through this adversity and grow together,” Muller said. “No one is going to hang their heads. We’re going to look at it and say we’ve got to be better and find a way to get the win.”
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning scored twice in the third period, and goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 31 shots to earn his fourth career shutout in a 3-0 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at PNC Arena.
Bishop's shutout was his second in two career appearances against Carolina. He also blanked the Hurricanes in his Lightning debut in April, stopping 45 shots. He was particularly sharp at the end of the third period, lifting his pads over his head to stop Eric Staal in close and Nathan Gerbe from the slot.
With their fourth straight loss, the Hurricanes fell to 4-6-3. During the tailspin, they have scored four goals.
Holding onto a 1-0 lead midway through the third period, Steven Stamkos finished on the backhand after taking a nice pass from Alex Killorn. It was the eighth shot of the night for Stamkos, who was frustrated repeatedly by Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters. Killorn later finished a 2-on-1 from Martin St. Louis, who earned two assists on the night, to make it 3-0.
The first period was light on action. Despite three minor penalties, the teams combined for eight shots. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper put added emphasis on generating shots after the Lightning managed just 17 in their 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, but Tampa Bay was outshot 5-3 for the period.
The shooting woes continued at the start of the second for Tampa Bay, needing 6:26 to register its first shot. But Victor Hedman put the Lightning on the board on a shot off the end boards. The puck caromed into the crease, where Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters accidentally swept the puck over the goal line. Nate Thompson earned the assist.
The Lightning (9-4-0) kicked their offense into high gear moments later after a minor penalty to Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Tampa Bay registered six shots with the man advantage. Aside from Hedman's goal, Peters was sharp in the middle period. He stopped five shots by Steven Stamkos, including a short breakaway. The Lightning held a 16-12 advantage through two periods.
Veteran forward Manny Malhotra made his debut with the Hurricanes after playing eight games in the American Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers. Malhotra most recently played for the Vancouver Canucks early in the 2012-13 season.
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