Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters relies on analytics but also has his own metrics for what wins and loses games in the NHL.
To paraphrase Peters, scoring three goals gives you a good chance to win. Two goals give you a chance to secure at least a point. One goal does little unless your goalie stands on his head — case in point, the Canes’ Cam Ward shutting out the San Jose Sharks 1-0.
It’s also a problem for the Canes, who are getting stellar goaltending from Ward and solid play in the Canes’ defensive zone.
The Canes (8-8-4) go into Sunday’s game against the Florida Panthers (11-9-1) at PNC Arena with a two-game losing streak, after a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday that followed a 2-1 loss Thursday in Montreal.
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“It’s not frustrating, it’s reality. You have to find a way to score,” Peters said after the loss in Ottawa. “You get to three (goals) in this league, three typically is the number. We didn’t do that in either of our last two games and we need to find a way to score more.”
The Canes outshot the Sens 33-24. They had 14 attempts blocked and 10 that missed the net — another recurring theme.
The only goal: Sebastian Aho scored on a shot from the left wing in the first period that hit the skate of the Sens’ Tom Pyatt in front of goalie Craig Anderson as Jordan Staal crashed the net.
Anderson stopped everything else, just as the Habs’ Carey Price did Thursday after Elias Lindholm scored on a blistering first-period shot.
“I thought we generated some chances,” Peters said. “We need a little bit more finish.”
Tips and redirections by the Canes were rare as Anderson easily was able to track most Canes shots.
The Canes got off six shots in the final 70 seconds of regulation after pulling Ward for a sixth attacker. They drew a penalty on defenseman Dion Phaneuf but continued to press on the delayed call instead of allowing the Sens to touch the puck and set up a 6-on-4 advantage — the Canes’ only power play of the game lasted five seconds.
“The five-second power play we used wisely,” Peters said, wryly. “It would have been nice to have a little more than five seconds.”
The Sens won it late in regulation when Kyle Turris, with a sudden burst of speed, blew between defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce on a rush into the zone.
“They made a play when the game was on the line,” Peters said. “That’s what you’ve got to do.”
Aho, playing on Staal’s line with Jeff Skinner, had six shots, a season-best for the rookie winger. But Skinner had just one shot and Staal none.
Peters switched up the lines a few games ago and put Skinner with Staal, citing Staal’s ability to win faceoffs and Aho’s playmaking ability. (Staal was 8-12 on draws against the Sens, 10-8 against the Canadiens.)
Despite the two regulation losses, Peters said there was enough to like about the Canes’ style of play.
“The game is fair. It will all even out in the end. That’s why you play 82 times, right?” he said. “If we take these efforts and keep going, it will be fine in the end.
“So what do you have to do? You have to persevere, you have to be honest about what’s going on and there’s a reason you’re not scoring and you have to figure that out. We’ll help them as coaches and find solutions to what our problems are.”