|ANA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
On paper, it set up to be a terrific November for the Carolina Hurricanes. With 11 games on RBC Center ice, the Canes were poised make hay and erase the bitter taste of last year’s mediocre mark in the month.
If only games were played on paper.
Carolina closed the month with a 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night – its third straight at home -- dropping its record to 7-9 this month with the defending Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins coming to town Thursday.
“It’s not about the schedule - it’s about attitude right now,” said Tuomo Ruutu. “I don’t think we played a bad game, we played an OK game but it’s not enough in this league and against a team like the Ducks.”
The power play -- and offense in general -- continues to struggle for a team with a ton of potential up front. Carolina’s power play was 0-for-4 against the Ducks and is now scoreless in its last 25 chances over six games. As for goals, the Hurricanes have averaged just 2.3 over the last 18 games, notching three or more just four times.
“Our power play, there is nothing in sync with it, nothing good about it right now,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “We’ve got a couple of days to spend some time on it and work on it, but our execution has to be better, our urgency in those situations has to be better. Specialty teams factor into winning and losing games.”
With the scored tied 1-1, Carolina surrendered a power-play goal 7:16 into the third, then allowed a score 1:09 later en route to the three-goal loss, which dropped the team’s home record to 6-7.
“That power-play goal set us back and then we lost our stride for a couple of shifts, they scored another one, and that was the game,” Laviolette said.
“We just didn’t do the job this month,” added Eric Staal, who has just two assists in five games since scoring a hat trick against Phoenix nine days ago. “In a few games we came out flat at home. Tonight, I thought we had effort, we were good, we were on the puck, had a lot of chances and we didn’t capitalize. It’s frustrating, no question.”
It didn’t help that Carolina ran into a hot goaltender. Jonas Hiller won his fifth straight and has now stopped 155 of 162 shots over that span.
“We had close to 40 shots, we had a lot of point-blank looks, a couple posts, but it’s just not falling,” Staal said. “You can’t hang your head and cry about it. You’ve got to work hard and eventually it’s going to go.”
Michael Leighton replaced Cam Ward after the first period when Ward didn’t return after suffering a lower-body injury. But the Canes’ backup goalie could have taken a nap in the second as Carolina outshot the Ducks 17-3. In fact, Anaheim went the first 12 minutes of the period without a shot as Carolina peppered Hiller at the other end of the ice.
Frank Kaberle hit the post 2:45 into the period, less than two minutes later Staal had several chances around the cage and the Canes had two failed power-play opportunities that kept the score tied at 1-1 heading into the third.
The opponent scored first on Carolina for a 10th straight game and the 16th time in 25 games as a turnover by Josef Melichar led to a Ryan Getzlaf goal. Getzlaf's shot from the lower right circle hit the post and then bounced off the back of Ward just 1:44 into the game.
However, the Canes couldn’t close the deal and now head into December with more questions than answers.
“We’ve had a lot of games here this month and I don’t know if that’s an issue,” said captain Rod Brind’Amour. “It was a good game for us until the last 12 minutes and then things just fell apart.”
NOTES: Cullen has points in four of his last five games. … This was the first time this season Carolina used both goalies in a game. … Tim Gleason, Dennis Seidenberg and Scott Walker all sat out with leg injuries. … Bret Hedican returned to the RBC Center, playing in his 1,004th career game. ... Brind’Amour fell to a minus-17 on the season. … Anaheim blocked 24 shots. … Staal played a season low 18:17.
|Ryan Getzlaf (10) ASST: Bobby Ryan (4)|
1 - 0 ANA
|Matt Cullen (6) ASST: Patrick Eaves (4), Ryan Bayda (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Teemu Selanne (13) ASST: Chris Pronger (12), Ryan Getzlaf (20)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Rob Niedermayer (4) ASST: Travis Moen (5), Brendan Morrison (4)|
3 - 1 ANA
|Rob Niedermayer (5) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (21), Scott Niedermayer (10)|
4 - 1 ANA
|Brandon Sutter Hi-sticking against Brad May|
|Joe Corvo Slashing against Bobby Ryan|
|Kent Huskins Interference against Tuomo Ruutu|
|Chris Pronger Interference against Tuomo Ruutu|
|Patrick Eaves Elbowing against Corey Perry|
|Frantisek Kaberle Hooking against Chris Kunitz|
|Brendan Morrison Tripping against Sergei Samsonov|
|Corey Perry Too many men on the ice|