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Mike Maniscalco

Rest to the rescue for Hurricanes?

Posted March 25, 2013
Updated March 26, 2013

Three games does not make a season, but for the Hurricanes, the next three games could break the season.

A five-game winless streak has put Carolina on the outside of the playoffs looking in, with injuries and inconsistent efforts to blame for the team only picking up a single point during that stretch.

A scheduling quirk has given the Canes four days off, which allowed the coaching staff to give the players the weekend off to rest and hopefully recover. Will time away to refocus be the tonic for the team?

For head coach Kirk Muller, the time away from the rink should help the team remember what they are capable of.

“A couple of days to get physically rested again and look at what we are all about," he said Monday. Carolina Hurricanes Logo More Hurricanes Stories

The Canes face Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg twice with a trip to playoff-starved Toronto in between. The good news is Kirk Muller’s crew has three games in hand on the division leaders and a chance to cut into the Jets four-point lead. The chasing team wants to have games in hand, but that only matters if those contests turn into wins.

There are 18 games left in the regular season, but Muller knows that with the compressed schedule the regular season is already over.

“At the end of the day you are in the playoffs right now,” he said.

Injuries have cut into the Canes' blue line the past two weeks, as Justin Faulk, Joe Corvo and now Bobby Sanguinetti have seen time on the injured list. The injuries to the defensive corps have come fast and furious.

It has seemed that when one player returns to the ice, another defensemen is heading off it. The four days off might be enough time to help veteran Joe Corvo get back into the game, as the team took him off the injured list Monday.

Of course, injuries have had a hand in this skid, but it is the declining goal total during the losing streak that is raising red flags.

The top line had been carrying the offensive load this season. Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin have scored 41.2 percent of the team’s goals this season, but it has felt like more. When the team was rolling, there was more than just some punch coming from the other lines/ Recently, that well has been coming up dry.

Six goals in five games and a power play that is near the bottom of the league have had a bigger impact on this slide than any injury. The front lines that were attacking the opposition at a ferocious pace have stalled out, with the team scoring more than a goal once in that span.

Muller is putting the onus on that group to get back in gear.

“Talked to our forwards about their job that we asked them to do at the start is to work hard and skate hard and be relentless," he said. "Track pucks down and track them back. There is a lot of demand on our forwards to skate in our system.”

Perhaps Alexander Semin can reignite the offense after receiving a five-year extension. It is fair to expect a burst in his play that rewards the team for the faith they have shown in the winger after exceeding expectations on and off the ice. With 30 points in 30 games, it is hard to think he can give more, but Semin is a player capable taking over a game offensively, which the Canes could use this week.

This stretch might just determine if the Hurricanes can get back to the hockey that put them in first place or continue down the road that could leave them with a long off season.

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  • Chill Out Mar 26, 2013

    Over the last two seasons, the Canes went on a roll at the end of the season. THe problem was they were to far out of playoff spots to get into the postseason. They are in much better shape this year and have a much better team.

    They will get their scoring back...

  • thatrollslayer Mar 26, 2013

    So last week we called the NJ game a MUST WIN, but this one is seriously a MUST WIN, especially against the Jets.

  • firefly27616 Mar 26, 2013

    Nobody cares about your injury woes or your special teams troubles...just win baby! Suck it up and win. The Canes have had too many years of almost 9th place finishes in the East...the concept is simple, win the games you are supposed to win to make the playoffs, divisional opponent, SE division leader, four days rest for teh Canes, home ice...two points in regulation tonight and then wash, rinse, repeat.

  • Cragsdale Mar 26, 2013

    the comments amongst the neophytes is some funny stuff on here. the cries of the unbelievers and uninitiated are even more so. Get a grip people. No one goes cellar dwelling just because of division realignment. No one has missed the playoffs this year yet. Grow a pair and support your team and stop whining and crying like a bunch of female dogs.

    Go Canes!!

  • Tunaboy Mar 26, 2013

    making the playoffs will come down to the Canes power play ... if they can start getting some production from the power play they will be in ... otherwise, they will be out

  • same ole story Mar 26, 2013

    This season is the LAST SHOT they have at a playoff run. Next year they will be the cellar dwellers when the new divisions are made. Look at the production this year against the top teams. Getting beat on both ends of the ice. The record is fluff this year with a very weak schedule. Anything can happen in the playoffs BUT you have to get there first.

  • jsnarron Mar 26, 2013

    Looks like a dissapointing end what could have been a special season!!

  • StunGunn Mar 26, 2013

    I think this break may be just what the Canes needed to get rest and refocus, and Muller is right: this IS playoff hockey right now. Hopefully Semin will continue to give the much needed scoring spark. With the conference realignment looming, it's more important than ever for the Canes to make the playoffs this year.

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Final
CAR 1
MIN 3
Final
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TOR 94
Final
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HOU 2
 
Final
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MIA 5
 
Final
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MIN 1
 
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PHI 1
NYY 4
 
Final
ATL 8
WAS 9
 
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TOR 5
BAL 4
 
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NYM 5
DET 4
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CWS 0
 
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CHC 2
CIN 5
 
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CLE 9
KAN 11
 
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MIL 1
LOS 10
 
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LOS 7
SEA 4
 
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ANA 3
COL 0
 
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ARI 2
OAK 7
 
Final
NYY 1
PIT 3
 
Final
IND 98
CHI 84
Final
WAS 99
MIA 97
Final
ORL 119
SAC 114
Final
CHA 103
TOR 94
Final
PHI 83
UTA 89
Final
ATL 106
CLE 97
Final
NOP 98
BOS 104
Final
HOU 103
DET 93
Final
MEM 97
LAL 90
Final
BRK 100
PHO 108
 
Final
SAN 120
DEN 111
 
2nd
GSW 34
DAL 29
 
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MVSU 75
ARKPB 94
 
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CSOU 60
LONG 68
 
Final
WICHS 56
SILL 45
Final
RAD 66
WINT 67
 
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EVAN 67
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HIGH 71
GWEBB 72
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 76
Final
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TOWS 69
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KSU 79
AKR 77
 
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BUF 77
BGU 75
 
Final
DART 75
BRO 69
 
Final
WMICH 74
CMICH 62
 
Final
PENN 54
CLMB 46
 
Final
PRIN 66
CORN 53
 
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OU 69
ILLCH 72
Final
OHIO 95
UMO 65
 
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BST 67
NILL 71
 
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EMICH 85
TOL 59
 
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NIOWA 71
BRAD 46
Final
MURST 80
MORE 77
Final
HARV 52
YALE 62
 
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COC 56
Final
CITA 56
FUR 73
 
Final
CCAR 74
UNCA 57
 
Final
USF 62
PAC 58
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BAY 77
TTU 74
 
2nd
INDST 35
LOYC 66
 
2nd
CLST 61
DET 42
 
2nd
EKENT 35
BEL 28
 
11:30pm Tonight
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LMU
Final
NJD 2
CLB 3
Final
CAR 1
MIN 3
Final
OTT 3
BUF 2
Final
DET 2
CAL 5
Final
CHI 2
EDM 1
 
2nd
ANA 0
PIT 1