|TBL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
Hurricanes Can't Get It Going Against TampaDavid Droschak
Flavor of the Game 700K
RALEIGH, N.C. (FEB. 1, 2007) - Not even the healthiest lineup of the season could shake the Carolina Hurricanes out of their slump.
Bret Hedican and Erik Cole returned from injury, but the Canes suffered another power-play outage in falling to the fast-charging Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 Thursday night, losing for the third straight time.
Carolina has been outscored 15-4 in those three losses. And after going 0-for-5 with the man advantage against Tampa Bay, the Canes are now 1-for-23 on the power play over a four-game span.
A team that was talking about catching the Atlanta Thrashers for first in the Southeast Division just a few weeks ago has now been overtaken by the Lightning, who has beaten the Hurricanes twice at the RBC Center in the last 12 days.
"If you thought before tonight's game we're a shoe-in we're not," said coach Peter Laviolette. "We have to fight with about eight or nine other teams in the conference to solidify our spot in the playoffs.
"We didn't get it done tonight. I don't think all of the sudden it has our attention now," the coach added. "It had our attention this morning and it will have our attention tomorrow morning."
The Canes head to Washington, D.C., on Friday to meet with President Bush and celebrate last year's Stanley Cup win. Maybe the team can draw some sort of inspiration from the trip with just 28 regular-season games left.
"I think everybody is frustrated," goalie John Grahame said. "We're not really sure what to do. We're playing hard, but sometimes you have to play smart as well. We did a good job of dumping the puck in, but we just weren't able to get to it as often as we would have liked."
"They did a good job of forcing our shots from the outside. We didn't have too many chances that you would say were Grade A. Credit their defense, they played well, but we've got to find a way to get going here."
Carolina was unsuccessful on four power plays, while the Lightning scored on its first chance just 37 seconds after Rod Brind'Amour was called for high sticking with 5:25 left in the second.
The Hurricanes failed on their fifth power play late in the second before a trailing Doug Janik chipped one over John Grahame's shoulder with 36.9 seconds remaining as the Canes headed into the third down two goals.
Tampa Bay was able to score twice on just 11 shots through 40 minutes.
Then, the big scorers for the Lightning put the game away in the third with Vincent Lecavalier scoring 2:49 in for a 3-0 lead and Martin St. Louis adding his 32nd midway through the period as Tampa Bay blitzed the Canes for four goals in a span of 15 minutes.
The Canes had 31 shots, but not many good scoring chances as Johan Holmqvist recorded his first career shutout and Carolina was shut out for the third time in 32 days.
"They probably had two chances on their two power plays, one from behind the goal line and one of them was a nice play," Laviolette said of Tampa Bay's 2-for-2 with the man advantage. "We moved it around and got some looks, but sometimes the shots didn't get through and maybe not enough traffic."
Carolina dominated the offensive chances in the first period, but failed to cash in on three power-play opportunities, managing just a combined four shots.
Grahame had to face just four shots in the opening 20 minutes, but stood up tall on a close in shot by Lecavalier with just 5.5 seconds left to keep the period scoreless.
Grahame also robbed the NHL's fifth-leading scorer with 14 minutes left in the second as Lecavalier and St. Louis broke into the Carolina zone 2-on-1 despite the Hurricanes being on the power play. Grahame, making the start against his former team, slid over after the St. Louis pass to make a spectacular diving glove save on Lecavalier.
But the key save couldn't spark the Canes, who ended the period down two goals. Hedican returned to the lineup after missing all of January (12 games) after finger surgery. Cole was also back after missing a game with a lower body injury.
"We just have to get back to playing solid hockey like we did for most of the game and we're going to get results," said Hedican, who played 18 minutes in his return.
"We've been here before," Hedican said when asked about five losses in the last six games. "This team has been a long way in the playoffs and we know what it takes to win in here. I have no doubt about the guys in this room. I believe we can get this thing back going."
David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.
|PPG - Ryan Craig (12) ASST: Martin St. Louis (38)|
1 - 0 TBL
|Doug Janik (2) ASST: Eric Perrin (12), Vinny Prospal (26)|
2 - 0 TBL
|Vincent Lecavalier (32) ASST: Ruslan Fedotenko (13), Vinny Prospal (27)|
3 - 0 TBL
|PPG - Martin St. Louis (32) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (36), Brad Richards (25)|
4 - 0 TBL
|Blair Jones Hooking against Chad LaRose|
|Tim Gleason Fighting against Andre Roy|
|Andre Roy Fighting against Tim Gleason|
|Doug Janik Roughing against Andrew Ladd|
|Vinny Prospal Roughing against Erik Cole|
|Eric Perrin Slashing against Niclas Wallin|
|Rod Brind'Amour Hi-sticking against Eric Perrin|
|Paul Ranger Hi-sticking against Erik Cole|
|Mike Commodore Holding the stick against Ryan Craig|
|SA: 31||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 31||EV: 26 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 20||TOI: 59:48|
|Saves: 16||EV: 15 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 2|
|SV%: .800||SH: 1 - 1|