Once again, the Carolina Hurricanes fought valiantly and ‘hung on to come away with a point in the standings.’
While putting in a serious night’s work Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina once again gave one up in overtime. Overtime losses are becoming frightfully common this season, as the Hurricanes have fallen eight times in the extra frame. Only the Detroit Red Wings have more losses in overtime.
While Justin Peters had a pretty good night, going 22-for-26, he still came up short against James Neal on the breakaway for the game-winner. He’s doing alright, but the heavenly choir that sings behind him has begun to fade away. Stopping Sidney Crosby like he had never heard the name will get erased when giving up a pair of soft goals that sealed the night for the Penguins.
The other odd thing was that Nathan Gerbe suddenly woke up with a goal and an assist. Gerbe has been conspicuously absent from action in recent weeks and his three-point night is what is needed to put his stock back up on the rise. Praise Gerbe all you want– or Andrej Sekera for his clutch goal– but the dead end everyone keeps running into is that the game was an overtime loss, not a win.
Coming away with a point does nothing when other teams in the Metropolitan Division are coming away with wins. A point here and a point there will point the Hurricanes towards the golf course in May.
Peters could very well be Carolina’s future in goal, but it won’t happen as long as he gives up overtime losses. Cam Ward also shouldn’t get too comfortable, since he’s had his share of dumb overtime goals-against as well. While fans have anxiously awaited the return of Anton Khudobin from injury, the team announced Friday they were assigning him to Charlotte (AHL) for a conditioning stint. Should Peters take a turn for the unfortunate, or should Ward continue to stink up the joint, Khudobin might just have a case for ‘told you so.’
Goaltending only seals half of an overtime win. The other half is scoring goals. Head coach Kirk Muller will most likely spend the weekend running break-out drills and working the neutral zone, as this is an area of tragic anarchy for the Hurricanes. Dictating the play coming into the zone will immediately establish Carolina as a shooting team. Shooting the puck more is the core of scoring more goals.
Whatever the issue, coming away with a point simply won’t do anymore.