Nothing positive to report from the Carolina Hurricanes for a second straight game against a Southeast Division opponent at home. That has to be alarming to coach Peter Laviolette and a group of players who believe they’re a playoff-caliber team.
A 5-1 loss to defending division champion
“It’s unacceptable,” said Scott Walker, who had
The return of Matt Cullen, Joni Pitkanen and Brandon Sutter to the lineup after lengthy injuries wasn’t enough to slow down the Capitals - especially the trio of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom – who teamed for all five of
“It’s about winning battles, it’s about playing on your heels and letting them do things with the puck that they want to do,” Walker said of Semin and Ovechkin. “If we beat them to the puck, we out-battle them then they are not going to have time and space. If we sit back and let them play with the puck, and we turn the puck over and we don’t do all the little things, then yeah, they’re great players, they are world-class.”
Semin put the Caps up by three goals midway through the second with yet another one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Ovechkin. After that, there wasn’t much of a fight in the Canes, who managed just seven third-period shots while allowing
Washington made it 2-0 five minutes later when Semin corralled a rebound off the backboards and rifled one high over Michael Leighton, giving him five points in the first four periods of the year against the Canes.
Less than a minute later, the Canes got one in the same fashion as Walker scored five seconds into a power play and it looked as if Carolina had gained some momentum.
“We had three quality looks at it down low and didn’t put it in the back of the net,” Laviolette said. “We had an opportunity to climb back in and it works against you.”
“We gave them their first four goals,” added Laviolette. “We turned the puck over twice, we had a mis-coverage 5-on-5, a mis-coverage on the penalty kill and it’s 4-1, and after that we didn’t play very well, we didn’t compete very well, the juice just left and we started running around and not doing much of anything.”
“I don’t know what exactly the reason is we’re not coming out and playing better at home,” said captain Rod Brind’Amour. “It needs to be better, that’s for sure. We got behind again and we can’t keep coming back against good teams. We’re digging ourselves a hole.”
NOTES: The Canes have scored just seven goals in their last four games. … The trio of Cullen, Pitkanen and Sutter missed a combined 21 games. … With Pitkanen back, Josef Melichar was the odd man out on defense and was a healthy scratch. … Johnson left the