Five games and five losses later, that Amtrak of confidence has tumbled disastrously off the rails.
Yes, injuries have indeed taken their toll—Cam Ward, Chad LaRose, Justin Faulk, Dan Ellis, Joe Corvo and Bobby Sanguinetti remain out for the 'Canes, even as Tuomo Ruutu returns from IR—but at this point, excuses will only prolong the misery.
Over their last four games and two periods, the 'Canes have been outscored 16 to 4. They've scored one (and only one) goal in four consecutive games. They've allowed four goals in their past five shorthanded sequences. Over this five-game streak, their opponents have 95 blocked shots to their 66.
And now, having mustered just eight shots on goal in the final 52 minutes of Thursday's loss to New Jersey, the Hurricanes have a weekend to rest, recall and, hopefully, revitalize.
How can the crumbling 'Canes turn their once-promising 2013 campaign around? Our four-step plan to get Eric Staal & Co. moving forward again lies in the coming slides.