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The Carolina Hurricanes won’t be able to hold on to the Southeast Division lead much longer playing games like Wednesday night.
The Canes, who have watched Tampa Bay close within four points, dropped to 5-9 over their last 14 games after falling to the Ottawa Senators 6-0.
Carolina is just 8-6-1 at the RBC Center this season – a venue the team thrived on during the Cup run of 2006. A more worrisome stat is the Canes have allowed five or more goals in three of their last six games.
“We got outworked, we got embarrassed in our own building and it’s unacceptable,” Glen Wesley said. “The bottom line is there’s nothing to talk about. It’s embarrassing -- plain the simple.”
Wesley was asked what the team had to work on first.
“Our attitudes,” the defenseman shot back. “We’re sitting there three or four points from being out of the playoffs. There’s got to be urgency from every single one of us. It’s unacceptable as a group. We can’t have any passengers on any night because we’re not good enough to win with five or six guys, it has got to be 20 guys every single night. We have to start back at the drawing board.”
The Hurricanes trailed 3-0 after two periods, then allowed two goals within a three-minute span midway through the third period, getting shut out for the third time this season after returning from a 2-3 road trip in which they were very inconsistent.
Carolina managed just 15 shots and six scoring chances through two periods and could have trailed by more if it wasn’t for the play of Cam Ward, who made stop-after-stop from close range.
The Canes even got the short end of a fight early in the second period when Scott Walker got a major penalty and was ejected for head-butting Mike Fisher in a bloody battle. Walker could face a suspension from the NHL after review of the incident.
“He’s probably a guy who shouldn’t be out there (fighting) based on the injury he’s coming off of and we’ve asked him not to, but he’s about as competitive as they get,” coach Peter Laviolette said of Walker.
Ottawa allowed a Carolina power play early in the third, but the Canes didn’t get a shot on Martin Gerber and failed to crawl back into a game they once again failed to score with the man advantage. The Canes have fallen to fifth in the NHL on the power play with just five man-advantage goals over the last 10 games – six of which were losses.
“We can’t go around the room and say our system isn’t working,” captain Rod Brind’Amour said. “It all comes down to us not putting up enough fight. When everyone is off we don’t do anything offensively and we give up too many good scoring chances. Each guy has to look it the mirror and give a little more.”
Carolina allowed three goals on eight shots in the first period in yet another poor opening period at the RBC Center. Ottawa got scores from Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher in the opening 5:24, while Jason Spezza added his sixth of the season with 51.5 seconds left in the period for a 3-0 deficit against the top team in the Eastern Conference.
The Canes have had trouble containing Heatley and Spezza throughout the years. Spezza has 10 goals in 15 career games against Carolina, while Heatley has added 13 in his 22 games against the Hurricanes.
“If you leave their two players alone in the slot, a guy like Heatley, it’s going to be in the net,” Laviolette said. “We didn’t play well.”
Carolina sputtered on its two first-period power plays, generating just one shot.
The Canes got to face former teammate Gerber after he replaced Ray Emery in net. Emery left less than six minutes into the game with a bad hip.
“Any loss is frustrating, but when you’re embarrassed at home it becomes more frustrating,” Laviolette said.
NOTES: The Canes have allowed three or more goals in 13 of their last 17 games, going 7-10 over that span. … Frank Kaberle was a healthy scratch. … Carolina fell to 5-11-1 when opponents score first. … Ward started his fifth consecutive game for the first time this season. … Glen Wesley moved into a tie for eighth place all-time on the games played list for defensemen. … Bret Hedican was a minus 3 in the first period and finished a minus 5.
|Dany Heatley (15) ASST: Jason Spezza (25), Joe Corvo (11)|
1 - 0 OTT
|Mike Fisher (8) ASST: Daniel Alfredsson (22), Luke Richardson (2)|
2 - 0 OTT
|Jason Spezza (6) ASST: Randy Robitaille (3), Dany Heatley (21)|
3 - 0 OTT
|Shean Donovan (4) ASST: Dean McAmmond (6)|
4 - 0 OTT
|Dany Heatley (16) ASST: Jason Spezza (26), Martin Gerber (1)|
5 - 0 OTT
|Dean McAmmond (1) ASST: Christoph Schubert (7), Brian McGrattan (3)|
6 - 0 OTT
|Chris Neil Interference against Dennis Seidenberg|
|Chris Neil Hooking against Justin Williams|
|Mike Fisher Roughing against Eric Staal|
|Scott Walker Fighting (maj) against Mike Fisher|
|Scott Walker Match penalty against Mike Fisher|
|Scott Walker Interference on goalkeeper against Martin Gerber|
|Mike Fisher Fighting (maj) against Scott Walker|
|Chad LaRose Hi-sticking against Dany Heatley|
|Rod Brind'Amour Hooking against Mike Fisher|
|Christoph Schubert Holding against Trevor Letowski|
|Antoine Vermette Hi-sticking against Bret Hedican|