As the Carolina Hurricanes took to the ice for the first time in a while against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, they looked every bit like a team that hadn’t played for four consecutive days.
After killing off the first penalty they committed on the night, the Hurricanes slogged through a power play of their own. After two minutes of looking largely out of sync, the second power play unit got caught on the ice for a bit too long. With Winnipeg controlling play in the Carolina zone, Bryan Little found a loose puck in the slot, turned around with it, and whipped it through Scott Darling to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.
That goal may have been a bit of a wake-up call, though, as the next time Carolina got a power play, they didn’t repeat the mistakes they made the first time around. Jeff Skinner took a feed above the left circle from Noah Hanifin at the point, and Skinner buried a nice shot off the bar and in.
The first period ended with the game tied at one, with the Hurricanes holding a 10-8 advantage in terms of shots on goal.
The second period was largely uneventful. The Hurricanes were dominant in terms of possession, but they weren’t able to capitalize on that and grab a lead. The score stayed even at one apiece heading into the third.
As the third began, the Jets peppered Darling early, but the former Blackhawk stood tall in net to keep the game even.
He wasn’t able to do that, however, when Carolina’s bottom pairing got stuck out against one of Winnipeg’s top lines for an extended shift.
Nikolaj Ehlers rushed in down the right wing and around the goal, leaving Haydn Fleury in his wake in the process. The puck made its way to Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who was presented little challenge from Klas Dahlbeck in dishing back to Ehlers at the top of the slot. Fleury provided an inadvertent screen of Darling, and the puck found its way in high to the blocker side.
The Hurricanes quickly got an opportunity on the power play to tie it, but they reverted back to the form they showed on their initial first period advantage.
Despite being down by a goal late in the third, the ‘Canes looked completely inept on offense, and Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck went largely unchallenged for the duration of the game.
With the loss, the Hurricanes fell to 1-1-1 on the young season. They’ll continue the state fair road trip on Tuesday night in Edmonton against the Oilers.
Rank the Performances
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