The Canes, after the 3-1 loss Wednesday to the Toronto Maple Leafs, did not practice today at the RBC Center. A team meeting was called, not that anything dramatic was said or occurred at it.
"We watched some video from last night's game," captain Eric Staal said. "We saw some stuff we were doing well and some stuff we can do a little better."
The Canes had plenty of shots — 37 to the Leafs' 19. They had scoring chances. They had five power plays and scored in the first period for a 1-0 lead as a new unit with forwards Chad LaRose, Brandon Sutter and Drayson Bowman, with defensemen Tim Gleason and Derek Joslin at the points, struck for the goal.
"The energy on offense was exactly what we wanted it to be," coach Paul Maurice said today. "It is very frustrating for a group that has gone a bunch of games now and put up a tremendous amount of offense, not to have scored."
The Canes have 199 shots in the past six games but just nine goals. The Canes are 1-4-1 in that span, trailing the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres in the NHL East by two points after the loss to the Leafs. But that record is deceptive, Staal said.
"Our compete and our work level has been there in the last five or six games, to where it needs to be to win," he said. "These pucks are going to find the back of the net and we're going to get some wins.
"Last night would have been good to put in the win column, there's no denying that. But we're still right in the mix (in the East)."
Talk about an offensive funk. Staal has not scored a goal in five games and is stuck on No. 29. Jussi Jokinen is without a goal in the past eight games and Cory Stillman in his last seven. Erik Cole has one goal in his last nine games.
The Canes did end their perplexing power-play streak that was affecting their five-on-five play. But they're now one-for-31 on the power play over the last seven games, so it's not as if a real remedy has been found.
As Maurice put it, the Sutter group was getting their first chance on the power play, so there was little pressure on them.
"They're in a no-lose. It's not as if they can go out and make the power play any worse," Maurice said. "They go out and they keep it really, really simple. They move their feet. They came out with some emotion and free of the tension that the big players feel when the power play goes the way ours has."
Maurice is far from happy with the record the past six games. But, he said today, that didn't mean he's disappointed with his team's overall play despite the power-play problems.
"In our last four or five games we've played as well as we have all year," he said. "I know how this team is playing. We have things we need to fix. Our power play was really good last night , especially the Sutter line. ... This back end isn't moving the puck quite as easily or naturally as we'd like but their gaps last night were as good as it has been all year. The D played a good, hard, physical, man's game.
"Nobody's really comfortable where we're at, with all the things that go around it, but I like where we're at."