The Carolina Hurricanes continued their tough early season stretch against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa, an early Stanley Cup Favorite, came into the game with a 2-1-0 record. The high powered Tampa team had played just half of the games that the Canes have played, with the Canes playing three games in four nights.
The Hurricanes went with goaltender Petr Mrazek in net after his strong performance against the Winnipeg Jets. The Lightning, went with Louis Domingue, since they have....the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
The game started in sloppy fashion with both teams struggling to really establish the offense. During the first, the Canes seemed to be able to do a better job at getting favorable match-ups. Rod Brind’Amour has seemed to struggle with his line deployments on the road, but he did a good job at getting Jaccob Slavin against the Nikita Kucherov line.
The Canes opened scoring in the second half of the first period with a goal from Micheal Ferland with just after 10 minutes left in the opening stanza. The winger was able to bury a goal off of a pass from Teuvo Teravainen. Ferland received the pass perfectly and was able to dangle and finish backhand on Domingue.
Things seemed to be going the Canes way after they drew a tripping penalty when Adam Erne tripped Martin Necas. However, Tampa was able to break even with a shorthanded goal from Tyler Johnson off of a feed from Mathieu Joseph on a two-on-one that beat Jaccob Slavin with just under seven minutes left in the period.
Early into the second period, Johnson took the lead with his second goal of the game. Johnson took a feed from Erne on a delayed penalty and finished high glove on Mrazek. The Canes answered quickly with a goal from Martin Necas just six minutes later. The goal was the first of the young Czech’s career. Necas took a feed from Warren Foegele and buried the one timer.
Things looked good for the Canes, who had multiple odd man rushes throughout the game, until Necas took a holding penalty on Cedric Paquette just six minutes into the period. The Lightning were able to get a power play goal from Yanni Gourde who took a below goal-line cross-ice pass from Ondrej Palat and burried the puck stick-side to take the lead.
The Hurricanes made a tough push at the end of the game with a man advantage but were unable to score the equalizer. Johnson completed the hat-trick with an empty net to score his first three goals and record his third through fifth points of the year.
Tyler Johnson has hat tricks in two of his last three games against the Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/exktEZVUi4— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) October 17, 2018
The Canes put up a good fight on the night but their main weakness continues to be special teams. The power-play unit was zero for four and let up a shorthanded goal which ended up being a difference maker. This team fights for dirty goals, but they have to be able to take advantage of a man advantage to get goals and extend their lead at crucial points of the game.
Overall the Canes faced three playoff teams in this road trip and were able to take two of six points, against teams likely to make the playoffs. They shouldn’t get down on the end result and, instead, look at what their effort created on this road trip.
The Canes return home to face the Colorado Avalanche in a State Fair matinee on Saturday at 1:00.