A new year meant a new opportunity for the Hurricanes to get one of those elusive victories over a Metropolitan division foe, but it wasn't to be as the New Jersey Devils remained perfect this season against Carolina in a 3-1 win at PNC Arena.
Carolina got off to a slow start in the first period, as the Devils controlled four of the game’s first five shots on goal.
The ‘Canes got the game’s first power play, as Ryan Murphy was hauled down by Devils forward Beau Bennett, but they were unable to capitalize on the advantage. It wouldn’t be long before the Hurricanes gained another advantage as Jordan Staal drew a penalty during a strong possession shift.
However, the Hurricanes were penalized shortly after that for too many men in what was somewhat of an odd play. The penalty killing unit was equal to the task, however, as it could be argued that the Hurricanes came closer to scoring during the two minutes than the Devils did.
The period ended tied at 0-0 with Carolina holding a 10-6 advantage in terms of shots on goal. Jeff Skinner led the way for both teams with three shots on goal in the period.
The second period began with a very uneventful start as the two teams combined for just two shots in goal in the period’s first eight minutes.
The ‘Canes were able to turn some of that momentum around with a strong shift from the Teravainen line, but that strong run of play was quickly cut short as Victor Rask was whistled for holding with 8:52 remaining.
Carolina managed to kill the ensuing power play, but it wouldn’t be long after that that Adam Henrique would make the Hurricanes pay for a stretch of poor play as he one-timed his 10th goal of the year home from the slot off a nice feed from perennial Canes-killer Mike Cammalleri.
Carolina would have a chance to answer late in the period, as Brock McGinn was taken down by Jon Merrill, giving the Hurricanes their third power play of the game. It was yet another very strong effort for Carolina on the power play, but Devils netminder Cory Schneider was equal to every challenge the Hurricanes threw his way.
The second frame ended with the ‘Canes holding a 20-9 advantage in shots on target, but the Devils were ahead 1-0 where it counts.
In search of some offensive spark, head coach Bill Peters started the third period with the original TSA line of Teravainen, Staal, and Aho. Lee Stempniak rejoined Skinner and Rask on what was the team’s top line for much of October.
The switches did seem to generate some chances, as the teams traded stretches in which they each controlled the better of the play for the first half of the period.
However, at 11:30 of the period, it was Cammalleri who got the next goal for the Devils after he appeared to put a shot off of Slavin and past Ward.
But less than a minute later, the Hurricanes got right back in it as Sebastian Aho made a spectacular diving play off a rebound and finally solved Schneider.
The ‘Canes would then get a golden opportunity to find the equalizer as Taylor Hall was penalized for interfering with Cam Ward. Yet again, Carolina put together a decent effort on the man advantage, but Schneider came up big when he was tested, and the Devils penalty kill remained perfect for the night.
With 2:53 left in the game, Peters made the decision to pull Ward from the net in favor of the extra attacker. That decision backfired, as Devils winger Kyle Palmieri found the gaping cage with two minutes left to play.
The final horn sounded at 3-1. and the Hurricanes lost for the third time in four games since the holiday break.
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