RALEIGH — There are not many good things that can be said about the Carolina Hurricanes for now.
The Hurricanes are not playing good hockey. They're not winning games. They have precious little confidence and easily lose it. They're just not a good hockey team -- not after the first 11 games of the season.
The Hurricanes' losing streak continued Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues at the RBC Center. The Blues rolled to a 5-2 victory, bolting to a 3-0 lead in the opening period and never looking back as David Perron led the way with two goals and an assist.
Joe Corvo and Scott Walker did score power-play goals for the Canes, who fell to 2-6-3. But the highlights were few on a night when so little went right and a lot went wrong for the home team.
"I don't know what the answer is," Canes forward Matt Cullen said. "I think everybody believes that it's in here. It's just a matter of figuring it out.
"We know our backs are against the wall, and we've dug ourselves quite a hole. We've just got to continue to work and figure out a way to get a win, but it's tough right now."
The Hurricanes, winless in their last seven games, have injuries, but other teams have injuries. The Blues have injuries.
Forward Tuomo Ruutu is serving a three-game suspension because of his hit on Colorado's Darcy Tucker. His absence hurts the Canes, but it was a ruling made by the league, so they have to live with it.
"You get a lot more confident when you work hard," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "It's funny. Your confidence goes when your feet aren't moving and you're not hitting anybody.
"It's the simple, grinding things that we're just not willing to do, and it starts with our best guys, in back-checking and stopping and hitting and not getting beat off walls. Doing it once doesn't make you a good guy. You have to do it every shift."
The Hurricanes continued a disturbing trend against the Blues (5-4-1). For the fifth game this season, they allowed two goals in less than a minute.
Actually, the Blues needed 16 seconds, as Yan Stastny and Jay McClement scored late in the first. Just like that, a 1-0 score becomes a 3-0 score, and from a team that had scored five first-period goals this season.
"We're not, right now, mentally strong enough to survive it," Maurice said.
The Canes came out strong, getting nine shots in the first six minutes. But Perron's first goal, on the rebound of a Patrik Berglund shot, made it 1-0 and deflated the Canes and their fans.
"We had some good things going, then had a letdown," Cullen said. "When we get down a goal we have to figure out a way to battle back and get it right back, as opposed to being shell-shocked or whatever. That's been a big problem."
The Hurricane outshot the Blues 36-18, with 17 shots on goal in the final period, and had just one minor penalty. But the Blues made the most of their scoring chances while Chris Mason came through with 34 saves in net.
Corvo's goal with 53 seconds left in the first, on a blast from the point, made it 3-1. Walker then scored at 8:12 of the third to make it 4-2, but the Blues kept their poise.
Andy McDonald's goal, on a two-on-one rush with Keith Tkachuk, had pushed the Blues lead to 4-1 midway the second. Perron added an empty-netter at the end.
What now for the Canes?
"The nice thing is when you wake up in the morning, you know what the problems are," Maurice said. "The hard part is you don't know where even to start.
"We haven't respected the defensive part of the game. It looks like we flip-flop back and forth -- 'All right, we'll be good defensively and don't work hard offensively' or 'Tonight we're going to score, so we're going to leave the "D" and hang them out to dry.' We've got to get that thing going both ways."
Maurice wasn't pointing fingers at any one or two players for the problems.
"It's five guys going both ways," he said. "At the end of the day, our offense is definitely based on five guys.
Defensively, right now, it's only two or three because only two or three guys are working at it."
The Canes, winless on the road (0-4-2), play at Philadelphia on Saturday. They'll do it without Ruutu and likely without defenseman Tim Gleason, sidelined with an upper-body injury.
"We've just got to get out of this as a team and stick together," the Canes' Chad LaRose said.
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