The loss marked the fifth straight defeat for Carolina as the team dropped to 6-7-2 on the season.
The one thing the Hurricanes couldn’t do against the Blues, based on recent results: get into an early hole. But that’s exactly what they did, falling into a 3-1 hole in the first period.
The first goal came near the eight-minute mark after Jaccob Slavin was able to weave his way out of trouble behind the net to move the puck up-ice. Micheal Ferland received the pass short of the blue line, but a defensive pinch caused a pass back toward the net which was intercepted and fed to Ryan O’Reilly for his fifth goal of the year.
A couple minutes later, after Andrei Svechnikov shot one off the right post on a breakaway, the Blues started a rush of their own, and a defensive mistake in transition led to a 2-on-1 chance that Robby Fabbri converted for a 2-0 lead.
However, the Hurricanes were handed a late-period power play thanks to an interference call on Joel Edmundson, and with it, Slavin netted the first power-play goal for the Canes since Oct. 30. As it appeared Carolina would go another man-up advantage without a goal, Slavin wristed a line-drive, seeing-eye shot past Chad Johnson with Justin Williams blocking vision in front for a goal with just 26 seconds left before intermission.
As soon as the hope came, though, so did the despair. Nine seconds later, Nicolas Roy was called for a slash as he attempted to break up a quick scoring chance, and with five seconds left before the break, a wide-open O’Reilly took a pass from close range and fired it past Curis McElhinney for a 3-1 lead.
The second period came and went without score, but there were chances for the Canes, even given a couple of sloppy power plays. However, the best chance of the period -- like the one before -- was a last-minute shot by Vince Dunn from the low slot that McElhinney sqaured up and saved.
The Hurricanes had a chance to get within one thanks to a mid-period power play in the third, but once again, the chances were slim and the advantage went quietly. Down to their final metaphorical strikes, Carolina pulled McElhinney with under 3:30 to play, and seconds later, O’Reilly recorded his first career hat trick.
Once again, the Canes handedly outshot their opponent, 39-20, but came up on the short end by a wide margin. Sebastian Aho nearly came up with a pair momentum-shifting goals, but both rang off the crossbar, delaying the start of a new point streak.
The Hurricanes enter the final game of their four-game road trip, in Chicago, with a 0-2-1 record in the white jerseys this time around.