It seemed like "deja vu" all over again as the Carolina Hurricanes fell behind in the opening period, made a run in the second, and could not break through in the third as they lost to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday afternoon, 3-2 at the PNC Arena.
Head coach Kirk Muller was unhappy in his post game press conference. When asked about the slow first period, he admitted his team was not good enough.
"They pushed us out of the first period. They won all the battles. They were more competitive. They owned around our net. We had one shot from our forwards in the first period and all that stuff adds up.
When asked why his team had yet another slow start, he said he had "no idea". After 27 games so far this season, the team has only led after the first period seven times.
Muller also had no answers when asked why his team's powerplay continues to have problems scoring.
Everyone runs the same plays, no different from one team to the other. It's a matter of getting the job done, doing it at a higher tempo, out-working the PK, and making your plays. I don't know, maybe some of our guys can't make the plays.
The Canes fell behind 2-0 in the first and were outshot 9-4 by a team who had played the night before and had traveled. Carolina last played Friday night at home against the Devils.
Cam Ward complained about the second Vancouver goal as he was jostled a bit by one of the Canucks, but the refs did not feel it warranted a call.
While the first period was sluggish, the opening minute of the second period was electric.
The Canes attacked the Vancouver net almost immediately and Jordan Staal saw a loose puck in the crease and poked it in to make it 2-1, just 39 seconds into the period.
On the ensuing faceoff, Eric Staal skated the puck in on goalie, Eddie Lack, who made the save but slipped into his net. Nathan Gerbe fired Staal's rebound in with him and the score was tied before the first minute was over.
The two goals were scored in 10 seconds and the crowd was going nuts, but the Canucks did not rest on their laurels.
Ryan Kesler knocked in a loose puck along the side of the goal which turned out to be the game-winner, just 27 seconds after the Canes tied it up.
The score remained 3-2 the rest of the way as both teams battled hard, but the difference was the ineffectiveness of the Carolina powerplay, which had trouble just getting the puck into the Vancouver zone with sustained possession time.
The powerplay went 0-6, including 27 seconds of a two-man advantage, which did not help their 27th best NHL ranking.
Carolina will travel to Washington on Monday for a game on Tuesday night against the Capitals.
- After the slow start, the Canes outshot the Nucks 31-30. Justin Faulk had a team high 5. Jordan Staal and Ryan Murphy had four each. Defensemen had 17 of those and just 14 for the forwards.
- Muller said that he shortened his bench with the players who were not pulling their weight. Drayson Bowman took Jiri Tlusty's spot. Tlusty only had 10:21 of ice time. Elias Lindholm had 8:21. Kevin Westgarth had 1:43 and stood idly by in the opening period as Jay Harrison fought Tom Sestito after Drayson Bowman knocked Kevin Bieksa into the boards.
- Tuomo Ruutu was credited with nine hits. Brett Bellemore had six.
- Bowman had a team high three blocked shots.