Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/29/13
Its been an ugly stretch for the Carolina Hurricanes, from the penthouse to the outhouse, to reverse the common saying. Not that long ago, the 'Canes were in first place in the Southeast Division. Now, amid a 0-6-1 run, they are on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race looking in. A six-point deficit behind Winnipeg will be difficult to overcome even with three games in hand and 16 games remaining. In addition, the 10th-place Hurricanes sit three points behind the New York Rangers, who currently occupy the Easts final playoff spot, and are the same number of points behind the ninth-place New York Islanders, although the 'Canes do hold a game in hand on the Rangers and two on the Islanders. Some of Carolinas current difficulties could be laid at the feet of goaltending. During the seven games, 'Canes goalies have allowed 23 goals, an average of 3.28 per game (the team as a whole, has allowed 26, including three empty-netters). To compare that average to the leagues goals-per-game rankings for a full season, the Hurricanes would be 29th in the league, tied with Calgary, which has allowed 3.28 per game for the entire season. Only in two of those games have Carolina goalies posted a save percentage of better than .900, the mark at which it is basically essential for goalies to perform for their teams to win. One of those games was a 35-save effort by Dan Ellis in which the 'Canes lost in a shootout 2-1 to the New York Rangers. Ellis followed that up with a 40-save effort in a numbing 4-1 loss to lowly Florida, which is tied for the leagues fewest points. In the next game, Ellis wasnt at his best four goals on 22 shots, an .818 save percentage when he suffered a lacerated leg. In some respects, the Hurricanes were lucky in that they had five days off after that game before their next one. During this compacted season, some teams might have three games in that span a stretch the 'Canes are about to face. With Ellis out, the 'Canes are down to their No. 3 goaltender a situation that no team anticipates having to deal with going into a season. No. 1 Cam Ward (sprained knee) remains out and could still be a few weeks away from returning. Ellis began skating with the team in Toronto on Friday and could be back some time next week, but the when is critical. The 'Canes have three games in four days starting on Saturday. Saturdays game is at the division-leading Jets. Three more losses and the Canes playoff chances might not be able to recover. For now, they have to go with Justin Peters, 26, who, by all accounts, is a model individual. Peters helped to shepherd Jeff Skinner through the forwards Calder Trophy-winning rookie season of 2010-11 when Skinner was 18, serving as Skinners roommate. But to rely on Peters in goal at a potentially season-defining moment carries some risks. His career record is 13-15 with a goals-against average of 3.22 and a .900 save percentage. In two of his three seasons, including this one at .899, his save percentage has not risen above. 900. Peters had worked as the back-up in previous seasons and so there was a reason why general manager Jim Rutherford went out and signed Ellis to be the back-up this season. While the Canes have also struggled to score they went five straight games during their streak in which they only scored one game shaky goaltending can affect everything on a team. It can erode confidence in every player and lead to systemic breakdowns. An example of this could be quite familiar to the Canes. During the 2005-06 season when the Canes won the Stanley Cup, division rival Atlanta went through even worse goaltending issues. The Thrashers played a majority of the 82-game season without their top two goaltenders because of injuries and were forced to rely on two players who had only minimal experience at the American Hockey League level to get by. Several times late in the second half of the season, Atlanta crushed the eventual Cup champions 5-1 on Jan. 26, 2006, 5-2 on April 1, and 5-2 again on April 8 but in the end, the Thrashers, who could have made some noise in the playoffs, failed to qualify for the playoffs, as a couple more goaltending injuries cost them late. Theres not much on the goalie market these days and no move would be guaranteed to get the Canes into the playoffs. Nonetheless, its something that Rutherford will have to consider with the trade deadline looming on Wednesday. Like that 05-06 Atlanta team, he has a talented group of defensemen and forwards who might be able to make some noise in the postseason if the Canes can get in. If not, it could be a fourth straight spring without postseason hockey in Carolina.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests


Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker