For the second straight game, the Carolina Hurricanes took a lead to the first intermission. Again, like Thursday, it didn't hold up.
This time, it was the Philadelphia Flyers doing the honors of celebrating a comeback win, taking a 3-2 overtime win at PNC Arena on Saturday night against the Hurricanes, taking advantage of a team that ran out of gas in the third period and surrendered a late goal.
"I thought we played well for the most part, but we didn't have the puck enough coming down the stretch," said Canes coach Bill Peters. "We were defending too much, and it eventually caught us at the end."
Prior to the game, the Hurricanes paid tribute to owner Peter Karmanos, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday in Toronto with a brief on-ice ceremony. The team also honored the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris on Friday with the playing of the Marseillaise prior to the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Flyers defenseman Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a native of Paris whose sister still lives in the city, paid tribute to his homeland with a decal of the French flag on his helmet.
Elias Lindholm's second goal of the season, and his first in 13 games, opened the scoring fourteen minutes into the game. Off a rush with Eric Staal, who had a two-point night, Lindholm fired a shot that goalie Steve Mason kicked right back to Staal. He whiffed on the open net, but the puck bounced right to Lindholm who made no mistake to give the Canes the lead.
Five minutes into the second period, the Canes earned a power play thanks to a Ryan White boarding penalty on Ryan Murphy. Victor Rask scored on the ensuing power play, but it was a Pyrrhic victory of sorts as the Canes never looked the same the rest of the night.
Peters was quick to point out the impact all the way down the bench of losing a defenseman, and Murphy in particular. "He's been moving the puck real well, he skates the puck out of trouble," the Canes' coach said. "Right from the point he went out, we weren't as effective. It had an impact on the game for sure."
With Murphy sidelined with what Peters called a possible shoulder injury, the Canes found themselves defending for dear life. Luke Schenn made it a one-goal game after the Flyers had gone nearly 28 minutes without a shot, firing a knuckleball through a John-Michael Liles screen past Cam Ward with eight minutes remaining in the second.
Two minutes later, Jordan Staal had all day to set up his shot in front of Mason, left unchecked in the slot ten feet from the goal, but he fired the puck into the logo on Mason's chest.
By the time Wayne Simmonds tipped home a Shayne Gostisbehere shot with 3:09 remaining, it was a foregone conclusion. The Canes, completely spent, surrendered a faceoff win in overtime with a quick turnover, and Jakub Voracek finally got his first goal of the season to win the game for the visitors.
"For whatever reason, we can't seem to muster enough" to close out teams, Eric Staal said after the game. "They were desperate, and we were just trying to keep a one goal lead. It's frustrating."
Without that desperation, the Canes have now surrendered a two-goal lead in each of their past two games, a fact not lost on defenseman Justin Faulk. "In tight games like this we have to find ways [to hold a lead]. A late goal like that is tough to give up. We have to try to not let this happen over and over."
The Canes continue their five-game homestand on Monday when the Anaheim Ducks come to town for their only visit of the season.