A day after having their final playoff chances end, the Carolina Hurricanes were back at work at PNC Arena on Wednesday.

They also were trying to come up with some answers.

The 4-1 road loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday mathematically eliminated the Hurricanes (34-34-11), who face the Washington Capitals on Thursday in their final home appearance. For the fifth straight season, there will be no Stanley Cup playoffs, leaving everyone in the franchise dejected and Canes fans frustrated, again.

Canes captain Eric Staal noted the close games that could have been won with a power-play goal, with more attention to detail, a little more effort, a little more confidence.

“There’s a fine line between winning and losing and I think we found a way to lose too many times, whether it be a breakdown or special-teams play or not bearing down on a chance,” he said.

Staal was a big part of the Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup win in 2006 and has been to the playoffs just once since then. Asked to sum up his emotions, he quickly said, “It goes without saying, very disappointed. We feel like we’ve got a good enough team to be in the playoffs but obviously we’re not going to be there.

“We need to find a way to extract a little bit more from each guy. I think offensively the confidence wasn’t as high as it needs to be, producing goals on offense. … We didn’t generate as much as I think we’re capable of.”

Staal doesn’t exclude himself. With three games left in the season, he has 19 goals and 39 assists and though he leads the Canes with 58 points, he will finish with his fewest in a full season since his rookie year of 2003-2004.

“For me, I know what’s expected of me here,” Staal said. “I’ve been here long enough to understand that and obviously I’m counted on offensively to produce. I felt like I’ve done a lot of the same things I’ve done every year but for whatever reason, goal-scoring wise, the puck didn’t seem to be hitting the back of the net as it has in the past.

“I think my shots were down. I didn’t get as many looks at the net, not enough high-quality shots. I have one power-play goal, which isn’t good enough.”

For six seasons, beginning in 2005-06, Staal averaged 14 power-play goals per season. He has 11 power-play goals in his past 206 games during the past three seasons.