While they walked away from Tuesday night’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens having been shutout 3-0, it’s nothing to really get all that bummed out about. It sounds weird to think about, but in reality this is one of those losses that just need to go back on the shelf and be forgotten about.
The thing about this is that Montreal just finished a four-game losing streak, and head coach Michel Therrien had to come up with some answers fast — and did so. Having run extra practices and finding solutions where there seemingly were none, Therrien found a way. He made sure goalie Carey Price knew the weight of the situation, and Price came up huge.
Montreal had something to prove, and Carolina was just plain gassed.
It was obvious to anyone in the hockey viewing community that no matter who the league put in front of Montreal on Tuesday it was a sacrificial lamb. As far as lambs go, the Hurricanes looked pretty good. In Montreal’s last four losses, they averaged 2.75 goals-for per game. In their last win, they put up five against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Carolina was able to hold them to three. This can be taken as a sign that the Hurricanes defensive corps could be coming out of their fog.
On the offensive side of the puck, Carolina was able to put 36 shots on goal, slightly above the season average of 31. While the forwards average right around 13 minutes on the ice per game, they were able to maintain this average — despite being on the back end of such a rough week. In fact, all the statistical columns for the game hovered right around the season average mark. More than anything it shows Carolina was just being Carolina and it wasn’t their night.
With two days off before the St. Louis Blues come to town to begin the homestand leading into the 2014 Winter Olympic break, Carolina has a chance to rest and regroup. Both Eric and Jordan Staal continue to lead the team by example while players like Andrej Sekera and Alexander Semin have begun playing to potential.
While the loss in Montreal may have stung, it doesn’t change anything about the current surge for the Hurricanes. Staying home for a while with a normal schedule will maintain their push to finish the first half of the season still in playoff contention.