The Carolina Hurricanes fought from behind to take a 3-1 lead, but ended up losing to the Los Angeles Kings in over-time late last night, by a score of 4-3.
In what is becoming a trademark for the Canes, they fell behind early as Michal Handzus beat Cam Ward, less than a minute into the game. Carolina has allowed a goal in the opening period in every game so far this year, falling behind in each contest.
It seemed like a pretty lackluster first period for both teams as the Canes put six shots on goal, while the Kings could only muster four.
In the second period, the Hurricanes asserted themselves and put consistent pressure on L.A. goalie Jason LaBarbera. Nic Wallin was the hero as he was able to get two shots tipped in for goals. Ryan Bayda tipped in the first goal and Dan LaCouture re-directed the second.
Later in the period, Eric Staal took a shot that somehow hit Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, and ended up in the net. Cullen got credit for the goal.
In the third period, it was all Los Angeles as the Canes seemed back on their heels much of the time and stopped skating with the same intensity that they showed in the second.
The over-time period was back and forth as the Canes had a great chance to win when Ray Whitney and Eric Staal started a two-on-one break. Whitney fed Staal with a perfect pass, but LaBarbera made a great save as Staal tried to make a move in close.
The puck came out to the neutral zone, got behind the Hurricanes defense, and Handzus sealed the deal with the game winner.
The good stuff-
Carolina continues to get contributions from the lower lines. LaCouture scored his second goal of the year and Ryan Bayda was very energetic throughout the game. Brandon Sutter continues to impress and gets closer and closer to scoring in each game.
Zach Boychuk looked good and provided energy, although he did not play in the third period.
The penalty kill units did not allow a goal against.
The second period was mostly dominated by the Canes.
The team earned a point.
The bad stuff-
Frank Kaberle was hit in the foot/ankle area by a slapshot and could have a fracture. He is expected to miss some time.
Eric Staal left the ice with a shoulder problem, but returned. It's unknown if that will be a factor in the future.
The team continually falls behind in the first period. Does skipping the morning skate have anything to do with the team's slow starts? Carolina needs to reverse this trend because the current formula is not a recipe for long-term success.
The effort from some players seemed to be inconsistent, much like several games last year which attributed to the Canes not making the playoffs.
The powerplay had no power and few plays.
One might question the playing time of some players. Boychuk sat out the entire third period. LaCouture only played four minutes, even though he scored a goal. Yet, much of the team looked a bit tired at the end.
Next up is Anaheim on Sunday night, which should be a tougher test. The Canes are certainly hurting because of several early season injuries. Can they tough it out and earn some more points on this road trip?