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Gut check time for Maurice, Hurricanes

Paul Maurice

When we last checked in with the Carolina Hurricanes, general manager Jim Rutherford was telling the media he wasn’t going to fire coach Paul Maurice over the team’s slow start.

However, Rutherford did warn that if things didn’t improve soon, he’d “probably be in a different frame of mind and answer those (coaching) questions differently.”

That was eight days ago.

Since then, the ‘Canes are 1-3-0, giving them an overall record of 6-9-3.

Only the Islanders and Blue Jackets have fewer points than Carolina.

The Hurricanes’ minus-17 goal differential is the second worse in the NHL, better than only Columbus (minus-25).

Carolina’s power play is terrible (12.3%, 26th in the NHL) and goalless in its last four games. The penalty kill looks good in comparison, but it’s still pretty bad (81.9%, 18th).

On the bright side, Eric Staal has shown signs of life the past two games, with a goal and two assists. Prior to that, Staal had just three goals and two assists in 16 games. His plus-minus remains the worst in the NHL, at minus-17.

The Hurricanes are in Montreal tonight to take on the Habs and former teammate Erik Cole, after which they return home to play Buffalo and Toronto on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

If the Maurice watch isn’t officially on now, it will be if they don’t get some results soon.