The sports world is all a buzz these days over streaks. You can’t turn on a sports news channel or listen to sports talk radio without being inundated without hearing about what LeBron James and the Miami Heat are doing in the NBA. Perhaps even as impressive are the thirteen straight the Penguins have rattled off in Pittsburgh and let us not forget the start the Chicago Blackhawks got off to this season. The Carolina Hurricanes are on a streak of their own, just in the opposite direction.
Some will say streaks are made to be broken and if Carolina is get off the schneid they might need to look only as far as this game and one player, Evander Kane. On an unlucky streak of his own, three points in a 14-game span, Kane’s stick woke up in Raleigh with three assists and a goal (sort of…more on that in a minute).
“It’s tough when you’re not contributing at the rate you’d like to, but you try to find other ways to help your team win and a play a role,” Kane said. “But it’s nice to win and it’s nice to contribute offensively and take some pressure off the big line and get some production from other guys.”
On the back of an unusual four day break in this shortened season the Hurricanes came out of the gates like a team fresh. With Olli Jokinen in the penalty box the Hurricanes had good pressure on the power play. Just as the man-advantage ended Jiri Tlusty got free in the slot and sniped the puck glove-side high.
The Jets would answer later in the period. Carolina’s Jamie McBain missed the puck at the offensive blue line and left Evander Kane and the puck streaking down the ice. A trailing Ollie Jokinen took the pass from his skate to his stick before lifting it above Carolina goalie Justin Peters glove. The period ended tied at one.
The start of the second period saw the same effort out of the Hurricanes as they had in the first. They battled for pucks and put shot after shot on goal, however Jet goalie Ondrej Pavalec said no to all of them. It was the Jets who were able to break the tie. Tobias Enstrom slipped one past Peters on a point shot from the left wing circle. The power play goal was Enstrom’s fourth of the season.
A controversial goal with 3 minutes left in the middle frame would extend the Jets lead to two goals. After a turn-over at center ice, Justin Peters was unable to freeze the puck on a shot by Evander Kane. Alexander Burmistrov was alone in front for the rebound, but was unable to get it past Peters. The puck was hovering above Justin Peters left shoulder and the initial look appeared to show that Burmistrov gloved it in. Nik Antropov was also in the crease and in the replay it showed that Burmistrov missed it with the glove but Antropov did not with his stick. Goal good, Hurricanes down two.
Carolina tried to rally but Ondrej Pavalec was outstanding between the pipes stopping 38 of 39 and if you wanted proof that bad can still get worse, look no further than the Hurricanes third period. Evander Kane was in the right place at the right time for his thirteenth goal of the season. On almost an instant replay of the Jets goal in the first, Jamie McBain again misses holding the puck in his own zone and Evander Kane took the puck and headed up ice. Joni Pitkanen was able to get in front of Kane’s shot and the puck bounced back out into the slot. McBain fanned on the initial clearing attempt and when he attempted to reload and try again he inadvertently back-handed it past Peters for the goal credited to Kane.
Carolina now heads on a three game road trip north of the border and for this team the playoffs start now. The six game streak without a point has seen the ‘Canes fall out of first in Southeast division and are now six points behind the Jets. They have also fallen three points behind the Rangers for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. With only 16 games left in the season 11 of these games for the Hurricanes come against teams above them in the standings including two more against the Jets.