Originally posted on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 4/7/13
It was only a month ago when the Hurricanes were in the driver's seat in the Southeast Division and basically all they needed to do was gain points in a little under 60% of their games to make it in. Since that point, the Canes have gone 3-11-1 and are now in the running for a top-five pick rather than a playoff spot. This free fall was something that even I didn't see coming because, as I have often reiterated here, the Hurricanes have been one of the better teams in the NHL at controlling puck-possession this season. This is usually what leads to success in the NHL, but not all the time. Goaltending, shooting luck and injuries are going to keep some good teams out of the playoffs this year because there are fewer games to make up for lost ground. The Hurricanes have been hit especially hard by the injury bug this year, but they've also seen a lot of other things go wrong for them as of late. This is evidenced by taking a look at their PDO over the season.  For those who don't know what PDO is, it's the sum of a team's even strength shooting and save percentages and shows how lucky or unlucky a team has gotten. A PDO over 1.000 shows that a team has gotten very fortunate while a team with a PDO under 1.00 shows that they may have gotten a few bounces that have gone against them. Carolina's PDO has stayed stagnant for most of the year, but recently it has taken a nose dive. Looking at it over five-game segments shows this team's fall from grace pretty well. The Hurricanes PDO has been on a spiral downward over the last 15 games or so and it will probably be enough to knock them out of the playoffs. In a normal year, they could have been fine but there is less time to make up for lost ground with only 48 games. What they are going through now is nothing that other teams haven't experienced before. Both the Sharks and Kings went through spells of tough luck last season but were able to pull through and make the playoffs. Would the Hurricanes be able to do the same thing in a full year? Based on their underlying numbers, I would say they have a decent shot but there have been some things going on that have made an impact on their PDO. Injuries are probably the biggest. The Canes have gone through 37 players this year and many of the players they've lost have been those of high impact. This list is not limited to Cam Ward, Joni Pitkanen, Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk and Tim Gleason. If you line up the Canes PDO to where each of these players got hurt, it reveals why they have struggled so much in certain parts of the season.  The Hurricanes PDO has taken a few bounces over the season and you can see that most of the downturns have come after injuries. The first one came around game 13-14 when Jeff Skinner, Tim Brent, Jamie McBain, Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen were all hurt, forcing the Canes to call-up a few AHL-ers to fill in for them. That obviously led to some bad games and some losses along with it. Once they got healthy, the team began to see more bounces go in their favor. Even after Cam Ward sprained is MCL in game 21, the Canes were still not experiencing much bad luck because the first line was scoring on over 15% of the shots they took while Ellis/Peters were doing enough to hold the fort down...and then Justin Faulk got hurt and Ellis went down the next game.  The Hurricanes were forced to start a third-string goaltender in front of a defense that was missing their best player. Simple logic should tell you that did not turn out well and the Canes PDO continued to sink along with the team's save percentage. Ellis' return on Tuesday night against Washington could have helped, but he has been very bad in all three of his starts and it's led to the Canes PDO continue to slide. Whether it's due to him being rushed back from his injury or simple regression is up for debate, but it's part of the reason why Carolina's season has continued to trend downward. Add in the top line experiencing some expected regression, Jordan Staal & Jeff Skinner not being able to buy a goal and the third and fourth lines not scoring at all and you have yourself a losing streak. So while PDO has played a role in Carolina's demise, it's been more than just bad puck luck that's doomed them. Injuries, a lack of scoring depth and not getting enough from the replacement players has also played a role. The team being "fragile" is also an issue since they tend to unravel whenever something bad happens, but that's something I have no idea how to fix other than by winning. Confidence usually follows results and nothing is going the Hurricanes way right now so I'm not sure what they can do about it this year other than stay the course and hope some bounces start to go their way. I'm not convinced that this team is as bad as their recent record, but in a shortened year, this kind of a slump is a killer and it happened to the Canes at the worst possible time. As for what happens the rest of the year, I think it could go either way. The Canes are still one of the better teams in the league at even strength and the goals will come if they continue to control puck-possession, but they are likely stuck with Peters and an injured Ellis for the rest of the season and that will impact how many games they win depending on how Peters plays. It's frustrating because this team should be a lot better than where they stand now but strange things tend to happen in a shortened year.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

USWNT start Olympic qualification in style by scoring in first 12 seconds

Magic Johnson wants Peyton Manning to join Rams

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

NHLers who should be dealt to contenders before deadline

Robert Kraft compares Tom Brady to Peyton, Eli Manning

WATCH: Markieff Morris appears to flip the bird to heckler

Prediction for each NBA award heading into the All-Star Break

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker