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Game Analysis: Wild At Hurricanes

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Despite jumping out to a two-goal lead, the Carolina Hurricanes couldn't come away with two points in the first game of their season-long five-game home stand. Jason Zucker scored his second goal of the night in overtime to top the Canes, 3-2.

Wild forward Jason Zucker redirects the puck past Carolina goalie Cam Ward in overtime to give Minnesota a 3-2 win.
Wild forward Jason Zucker redirects the puck past Carolina goalie Cam Ward in overtime to give Minnesota a 3-2 win.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Faulk and Andrej Nestrasil scored in the first period, but Carolina couldn't find the net again and eventually fell in overtime to Minnesota, 3-2.

Three Observations

1. The Hurricanes’ only weapon on the power play remains Faulk. Fortunately, he's a fantastic weapon. Faulk’s sixth power play goal puts him atop the league in the category. The 23-year-old continues to emerge as a future Norris Trophy candidate, and who knows where Carolina would be without his efforts on the power play. But ... (see Number To Know).

2. Carolina’s second period undermined the team’s most productive opening frame of the season. The Hurricanes — who had just three first period goals on the season entering the game, two by recently demoted Brock McGinn — scored twice to open the game, but Minnesota’s late first period goal was a harbinger of things to come in the second. The Wild knotted the game in the second, and while the Canes held on for an overtime point, they never fully recovered from their lackluster second.

3. For the third time in four appearances, Cam Ward allowed three even-strength goals and earned the loss. It was also the 11th time in 16 games that Carolina’s goalie of record failed to register a .900 save percentage — a definite recipe for disaster, especially when you factor in the Hurricanes’ inability to score more than one or two goals a night.

Number To Know

1 — 5-on-5 point for Faulk this season. The Carolina alternate captain now has 10 points (six goals, four assists) on the season, but all six goals are on the power play, one assist came on a late-game goal with Carolina’s goalie pulled, and two others on three-on-three overtime assists. His lone 5-on-5 assist came on, ironically, Elias Lindholm’s lone goal of the season.

Plus

Andrej Nestrasil — The credit goes to the entire fourth line — comprised of Nestrasil, Joakim Nordstrom and Jay McClement — for their performance Thursday. They were instrumental in both goals, kicking off the long offensive zone shift that led to a Minnesota penalty and, eventually, Faulk’s power play goal, and later getting a goal by Nestrasil. After some up-and-down performances, the trio was Carolina’s best line Thursday, and Nestrasil its best player.

Minus

Elias Lindholm — Invisible is the best way to describe Lindholm right now. The third-year pro has just one point on the season after coach Bill Peters boasted in training camp that the 20-year-old could have a shot at 30. Lindholm, whose new two-year, $5.4 million contract will kick in next year, is the latest in a long line of Hurricanes player to fall off the cliff offensively. A dishonorable mention to Ryan Murphy, who lost track of the puck in his feet on the the play that led to Thomas Vanek’s game-tying tally in the second and, outside of a slap pass that Jeff Skinner redirected just off the mark, had one of his rougher outings of the season vs. the Wild.