After reeling off seven wins in eight tries to start January, the Hurricanes had reversed course after an abysmal December. The team was still on the outside looking in, but the gap up to the playoff cut line had shrunk significantly. Then on Tuesday against the Rangers the Hurricanes failed to launch and laid an egg. With very little margin for error, that set Friday’s game to be a big one. The Hurricanes had a home match up against a bottom third team in the Senators and desperately needed a win to avoid giving back too much of what was earned in the front part of the month.
Inexplicably, in that situation and desperately needing a win, the Hurricanes again failed to launch. The result was a debilitating 4-1 loss.
Per a tweet shortly after the game ended:
This week is eerily reminiscent of #Canes recent past. Team is able to muster a push after it digs a hole, but for whatever reason (increased pressure? taking foot off pedal? Or…?) getting close again triggers floundering each and every time. This is the next hurdle…
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 19, 2019
The Hurricanes just seemed a step slow from the beginning. Early on, the Hurricanes had a decent amount of offensive zone time but seemed to shoot everything into Senators players’ shin guards. Ottawa scored first late in the first period on a rebound chance and then posted two goals in the span of 13 seconds in the front half of the second period to run out to a commanding 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes maybe pushed a bit in the third period but never really did get going.
I will skip the usual version of player notes because it would mostly just be a run of ‘was flat’ pretty much across the board.
A few small positives…
This fourth line duo was not perfect either, but they did continue providing depth scoring from the fourth line which is significant.
2) Nino Niederreiter
In his Hurricanes debut, I thought Niederreiter looked good. His combination of power forward size with good agility and skating is part of the formula for a scoring power forward. Here is hoping that the change of scenery helps him become exactly that.
3) Micheal Ferland
Along with Jordan Martinook, Ferland has a sense for the emotional state of a hockey game. Fighting is controversial but as long as it is within the rules, fighting has another lever to be pulled to find a spark. Ferland’s second fight in two games when his team started slowly shows a sense of his team’s energy level and an effort to aggressively flip a switch to dial it up. It seemed to help on Sunday but not on Friday, but I still think his feel for the need is right on the mark.
Next up for the Hurricanes is the first of three on the road in Western Canada when the Canes play Edmonton on Sunday night.