The Carolina Hurricanes lost their fourth straight game Saturday night, as the Ottawa Senators tallied three first-period goals en route to a 4-1 win over the Canes in Ottawa.
After starting the season 5-0-0, the Canes have been reeling over the past few weeks. Carolina is 4-7-1 since the perfect start, and there have been some clear issues arising on the ice for last year’s Eastern Conference runner-ups.
A step behind
The Canes seemed to just not have it Saturday night, and that showed on the scoresheet. Carolina appeared just a step behind Ottawa throughout the game, as the Senators scored all four of their goals on rush chances.
On Ottawa’s first goal, J.C. Beaudin was able to spring a quick break for the Senators to Jonathan Davidsson. After Davidsson’s shot was turned away by Canes netminder James Reimer, Filip Chlapik picked up an uncontested rebound and scored into a wide-open net. The Canes did have defenders back on the play, but there wasn’t much urgency to stifle out the scoring chance for Ottawa.
After Vladislav Namestnikov made it 2-0 on a tipin, again on a rush chance, Jean-Gabriel Pageau caught the Canes napping to to score just four seconds after Namestnikov. Pageau collected the puck off a faceoff win, skated through the Canes defense and slotted one past Reimer to go up 3-0.
It was a completely avoidable mistake from Carolina, and just another case of the Canes being a step behind Ottawa all night. It was a rough outing for the Hurricanes, and it’s one Carolina will want to forget about sooner rather than later.
The Hurricanes have been bad on the road and that continued Saturday night. After starting the season 3-0-0 on the road, as part of a 6-1-0 start to the season, the Canes are 0-4-1 away from PNC Arena over their last five road games.
There have been a lot of issues for the Canes over that stretch, but maybe the most alarming is the way that Carolina has played in the first period. During the past five road games, the Canes have been outscored 10-4 in the opening period. Apart from an overtime loss in Columbus that saw the Canes blow an early 3-1 lead, Carolina has entered the first intermission down by at least a goal in each of the other past five road games.
That issue obviously came to a front Saturday night, as Ottawa netted three goals in the first period to take a hold of the game. Carolina played decently well over the first five minutes or so of the game, getting some chances, but once Ottawa scored the Senators kept scoring.
Lots of shots
The last two games for the Hurricanes look mighty similar to the Canes of a few years ago, as Carolina has been putting tons of shots on net without the results on the scoresheet to match it. Thursday night in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers, Carolina put 47 shots on net and came away with just two goals.
Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in that game, but the Canes still couldn’t find the right looks to beat him. Saturday night against Ottawa, Carolina fired 39 shots on Anders Nilsson and came away with just one goal.
Putting shots on net is always a good thing, but Carolina is going to want to be a little more clinical than it has been the last few outings. The Hurricanes of the Bill Peters era were known for filling up the shot column but not the score column. Hopefully for this year’s Canes, this recent trend won’t last.
The Canes have not been playing their best hockey as of late, and Saturday night was yet another poor showing against a team that Carolina shouldn’t be losing to. The good news for the Hurricanes is that they will get another shot at Ottawa Monday night, and this time it’ll be back in the friendly confines of PNC Arena.