by Kate Shefte
[image-1]After completing their best road trip in team history earlier this season, the Hurricanes dropped three in a row on the road over the past week, two of which were of the 'woulda, coulda, shoulda" variety. The ‘Canes lost a relatively close one after a third period collapse in Florida, 4-2, exactly a week ago in Sunrise. The team looked terrible against Boston, losing the decision 5-1, but Boston has made practically every team look terrible so far this season. However, the team then turned around and lost by the same score to the Ottawa Senators, who are far out of playoff contention.
There were few bright spots on this road trip, as the Hurricanes’ quiet offensive woes continued. The team managed four goals in its three road games, and it hasn’t managed more than three goals since the day after Christmas – and that game was only high-scoring due to an incredible one-man effort by Eric Staal. When the score is tight and the ‘Canes are able to clamp down, there’s nothing to panic about, but goals have not come easily this season.
The Canes will have a chance to show some offensive flair against the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at home. The good news is that Mikhael “Cane Killer” Grabovski, who had four goals in his previous two games against the Hurricanes is serving the last part of a three-game suspension for shoving a ref (among other things,) so the ‘Canes won’t have to worry about him. Toronto has lost its last four and is a desperate team, and the Hurricanes saw what a desperate team can do Tuesday night at Ottawa. The Canes will have to match that desperation to avoid their fourth loss in a row, and a probably drop out of a playoff spot. Earlier in the season, that would not have been a concern, but now is the time to start thinking, “okay, guys…that was cute when Laviolette was around, but we need to kick it into high gear to avoid a third straight year without the playoffs.”
Oh yeah, and tonight is Tim Gleason bobblehead night. Hopefully, the rugged ‘Canes D-man will be back in the line-up after missing several games with a lower body injury.