Patrick Dwyer says the Carolina Hurricanes could use some "greasy" goals. Jordan Staal prefers the term "dirty" and Jiri Tlusty "ugly."

Whatever the hockey jargon or terminology, the Canes badly need goals of any variety.

The Hurricanes, in Toronto on Thursday for a game against the Maple Leafs, built a 15-9-1 record in the first 25 games on the strength of consistently good five-on-five production. Even with the power play struggling, the Canes were scoring goals and winning.

No longer. They’ve managed just five even-strength goals in a confidence-killing six-game losing streak, being outscored 14-5 five-on-five and 20-7 overall.

"It’s not going in for us right now and it’s costing us games," Tlusty said.

Jordan Staal said it wasn’t a matter of opponents altering their defensive tactics against the Canes (15-14-2), who have tumbled to 10th place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. To be sure, opposing teams are doing all they can to muzzle the Canes’ top line of Tlusty, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, but Jordan Staal said the offensive problems are more self-inflicted.

"It’s just been our play and our level," he said. "Teams are stepping up their level and we’re still a step behind. We’ve got to find a way to raise our level, five on five, in all areas of the ice.

"I think we’re slowing up because we’re not executing well enough. We’re not playing the hockey we can."

The Hurricanes’ lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday came at even-strength – barely. Tlusty took a pass from Riley Nash in front of the crease and beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec a second after a Canes power play expired.