Canes coach Bill Peters in preseason said losing was a "disease" and something that couldn't be allowed in changing the team culture.
The Canes now are 8-16-3. They've been on the losing side in 19 of 27 games, dropping 10 of the last 13 -- and all regulation losses.
Are they in danger of the "disease" taking over? Peters doesn't think so.
"It's a disease for sure and it's got to be corrected and you can't accept it," Peters said Wednesday. "All those one-goal losses, all those tight games at home, that is frustrating, I'll be honest with you. To finish that homestand 1-4 is frustrating.
"We've got to channel that frustration in the right direction and stay with it. And we will. And we'll find ways to score."
Eric Staal and Alex Semin were not at practice Wednesday at Raleigh Center Ice. Peters said Staal's availability for the Tampa Bay game on Thursday would be a game-time decision but talked as if Semin might not play against the Lightning or Saturday at Philadelphia. Semin has lower- and upper-body injuries.
After the 2-1 loss Monday against New Jersey, Peters said some shuffling of the forwards might be made. He said the staff looked at seven different line combinations.
With Staal out of practice, Brad Malone centered Jeff Skinner and Jiri Tlusty. Riley Nash was with Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask with Chris Terry and Andrej Netrasil, and Jay McClement centered Zach Boychuk and Pat Dwyer.
"When you haven't scored, what you're doing isn't working," Peters said. "So either you keep the lines the same and do some things different on the ice or you shuffle the deck. The deck is going to get shuffled when Jordan (Staal) comes back, no matter what. That's just going to happen.
"Now, with the injuries we have and we had another guy (Nestrasil) leave practice today, things are dynamic. .. We've got some lines we had in early November when we won some games and we're going to build off of that."
Jordan Staal continues to recover from the broken leg suffered in preseason. He did his first skating Saturday, has skated a little more each day and will join the Canes for the pregame skates in Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey.
"We'll slowly integrate him into that," Peters said.
Peters said he wasn't sure when Staal can rejoin the full team practices or take contact work, saying that would be the call of head trainer Pete Friesen.
Gerbe said the key to scoring more goals and winning games was simple enough: "Keep working."
"You've got to be strong in front of the net, you've got to get to the net, you've got to get rebounds," Gerbe said. "Just work and be strong."