The Carolina Hurricanes started out slowly again but could not pick up steam later on in this one as they dropped a home game against the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1 in front of 10,005 at the PNC Arena on Thursday night.
Cam Ward made 34 saves on 36 shots to keep his team within striking distance, but the visitors outshot the home team in every period and ended up with a 37-23 advantage for the game.
The Carolina goalie continued his outstanding play of late and made several tough saves in this one to keep it close.
After the game, both Ward and Tim Gleason said that the coaching staff has made a point of talking about getting off to a better start, but this team continues to have trouble doing so. In this contest, the Jets outshot the Canes 13-6 in the first period but the Canes only had two shots on goal until there was about five minutes left.
Blake Wheeler scored two goals for Winnipeg, both on tips from in front of the net.
The first goal came 5:29 into the game, but Elias Lindholm scored his sixth of the season to tie the score early in the second. The goal was a powerplay goal and Carolina went 1-3 for the game with the man advantage.
Later in the second period Wheeler would score the eventual game winner on a similar play as his first goal. The Jets added an empty-netter late in the game to seal it.
It seemed as though the Hurricanes were waiting for an opportunity to turn on the pressure or pick up some momentum, but other than for a few short spurts, the Jets controlled this contest throughout.
Coach Peters mixed and matched the lines in the third period and moved Eric Staal back to center, between forwards Zach Boychuk and Jiri Tlusty, but they still could not find a spark. Peters said that Victor Rask finally looked like a youngster in this affair, maybe because he was trying too hard to feed Staal.
But the experiment to move Staal to wing did not work for now. Rask had a team worst (-3) for the game, had no shots on goal, and only won 40% of his faceoffs, much below his season average. The captain also failed to generate a single shot on goal.
The team will practice at the RCI at noon on Friday and then will fly to Boston for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the angry Bruins.
- The Jets dominated in the faceoff circle and won 55% for the game. Nash had a rough night along with Rask and won 35%.
- Tim Gleason had a team high five hits. Justin Faulk and Brad Malone had four each.
- Faulk had a team high 23:25 of ice time. Malone was low man at 8:41.
- Of the team's 23 shots, Jeff Skinner and Faulk had four each. Joining Rask and Staal, Alexander Semin also did not have a shot on goal.
- Andrej Sekera had four blocked shots which led the team.