The previous meeting went less than stellar, as the Hurricanes completely gave the game away and allowed the wheels to come off the bus in the third period. While it would be easy to credit a recharged Rangers team, fresh off their pick-up of Martin St. Louis, that is not the case. Carolina had that game and could have come away with the upset win. What ended up happening was the disaster we all saw.
Statistically, Carolina isn’t out of the playoff hunt just yet. There’s still time to screw it up, but the plug hasn’t been pulled on a postseason run. However, with the disgusting performance since the Olympic break, the Hurricanes’ dressing room cannot be a fun place to hang out these days. While head coach Kirk Muller seems perfectly happy to take losses in stride and put on a happy face, there has to be a breaking point for the players and there’s no way they haven’t reached it yet.
Captain Eric Staal had taken ill earlier in the week and was questionable for the New York game, but he took a morning skate and has been cleared to join the team. What is ridiculous is that Staal was nearly alone on the ice Tuesday morning. Muller held no team skate — on a game day, during a skid — which should boggle minds.
Goaltender Anton Khudobin had a pretty rough night against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, so the decision to start Cam Ward kind of makes sense. It would be a little more reasonable to put Justin Peters in net, since apparently a three goaltender team has been deemed the way to go. As little sense as it makes and as awful as Ward has been playing this season, he actually has a little more experience in the clutch than Peters — and might be due.
However, there is no way the Hurricanes can take a loss against New York and continue to keep their chins up and chests out. At this point some wins need to happen and they need to be big. Another disaster with the level of talent Carolina is putting out there and Muller could have a mutiny on his hands.