With the Canes trailing the Penguins 3-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, part of the focus has been on Carolina not being able to score enough goals to keep pace.
"I don't think the crux of our game has been a lack of offense or that we should be able to go out and score seven a night if everybody is playing well. I don't think that's it," Canes coach Paul Maurice said today. "We're getting enough offense in our game. We're just not defending well enough.
"With that being said, our offensive players have to defend, as well."
With 11.9 seconds left in the first period, the Pens' Evgeni Malkin scored to make it 3-1. All three Canes forwards lagged behind the play after Carolina's Tim Gleason got off a shot that was wide of the net.
Yes, the Pens got a break when Craig Adams passed off the boards and puck hit a linesman, keeping it from going into the corner and enabling Malkin to sweep in, collect it and skate in on goaltender Cam Ward. But there was no forward help on defense for Ward, either.
The Canes might have been able to overcome such mistakes against New Jersey and Boston, but that can't happen against the Pens, or what Maurice called a "little different offensive machine."
"We're dealing with plays that are far more dangerous because of the shooter," he said. "We're seeing a different transition game, a much quicker transition game."
While there have been whispers Ward may have been dealing with some type of physical issue, Maurice — without saying what might have been bothering Ward — said his goaltender was "100 percent today."
"Everybody's got something at this time of year but when he's gotten to the net each game he's felt good enough to perform," Maurice said.