RALEIGH — Sometimes, the Carolina Hurricanes need to be reminded that showing up and out-talenting the opposition isn’t all that’s necessary to win games. Seemingly, those lessons frequently come at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils came from behind twice to tie the game, and methodically wore down the Canes in the third period to ruin the night for a crowd of just over 15,000 at PNC Arena on Saturday in a 5-3 Devils win.
Twice in the first the Canes took the lead, and twice the Devils pulled back to even. Warren Foegele opened the scoring - this time for real - on a gorgeous move, forehand to backhand off a feed from Sebastian Aho eight minutes in to beat MacKenzie Blackwood, but Miles Wood answered three and a half minutes later by corralling a rebound off the end boards and quickly going upstairs to put it past James Reimer.
Teuvo Teravainen then made it 2-1 on a power play by tapping home a rebound following a shot by Andrei Svechnikov that he put on net while being hooked to the ice. But that lead also wouldn’t last, thanks to Jack Hughes taking advantage of a play everyone thought was dead. Reimer had made an initial stop on Taylor Hall, but unbeknownst to everyone the puck snuck through his pads and Hughes knocked it home.
Then, to add insult to injury, the Canes paired a goal against in the first minute of the second period with Hughes’ marker in the final minute of the first. Nico Hischier, the other number-one pick on the Devils roster, made a double move to dance around Jaccob Slavin and wired a shot over Reimer’s glove to give the Devils their first lead of the night.
It was a lead they didn’t have to work much to defend in the next ten minutes, as the Hurricanes put on a how-to clinic of what not to do. But then, out of a media timeout, Erik Haula made the crowd forget about the uninspired play when he tied the game with his team-leading eighth goal of the year, on a perfectly delivered pass from behind the net by Ryan Dzingel.
A fracas at the end of the second period resulted in matching roughing minors to Svechnikov and Kevin Rooney, and they were soon joined in the box by Dougie Hamilton (tripping) and Kyle Palmieri (interference). That led to a rare stretch of regulation 3-on-3 and nearly gave the devils the lead back when Taylor Hall hit the crossbar on a breakaway. Neither team broke the deadlock with reduced numbers, but not long after P.K. Subban put the visitors back on top with a tip of a Wood point shot past Reimer that ended up as the game-winner.
From there, it was a throwback to a Devils game of 20 years ago, clogging the neutral zone and making life difficult in front of Reimer. The Hurricanes had a sustained stretch of offensive pressure on a 4-on-4 midway through the third, but couldn’t convert, and New Jersey salted it away with a Damon Severson empty-net goal, giving Blackwood his second win in as many career starts against the Hurricanes.
They Said It
It was funny, the first period I thought was really good, we probably deserved better and played exactly like we needed to. It really got away from us and we kind of gave them a few goals. It was a tough one. We never really got going after that. I felt like the game was still there for how bad I thought we were playing, but we just never got going enough to create enough mojo. I felt like we were emotionally dead. You could see that we were a little tired tonight. Not a lot of jump, unfortunately, and again, we weren’t smart with the puck. That’s what you get.
We weren’t smart. When you’re not smart with the puck, that’s what’s going to happen. The third goal, we gave it to them, had the puck right at their line and decided to do something cute, and the next thing you know it’s in your net. Last one, no excuse for that one, leave the guy at the net. Little things like that. That’s just not how you’re going to get it done. It’s frustrating, it’s certainly not how you want to end a good homestand, but we’ll pick up the pieces and get back at it.
It got sloppy the way it was all jumbled around (on man advantages), but at the end of the day there’s enough 5-on-5 play there to get back in the game. It felt like we were behind by ten, and you look up and it’s a tie game after two and you’re like “ok, let’s go” and we just never got going the way I like to see it, the way we need to. We didn’t put enough heat on them to make it interesting. We made it easy on them.
Good game or bad game, you learn from it, you address it and then we’ll move on to the next game. Put it this way, if we want to be the team we want to be, we can’t play like that. It’s not going to happen. You might get away with a win here or there, but it’s not going to be long term success. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we still have a good group. I’m not worried about that part of it. Just tonight it wasn’t there.
- First, some inside baseball: I left my iPad keyboard at home and didn’t have the patience to transcribe either Jaccob Slavin’s or Jordan Staal’s media availabilities, so I’ll just link you to their audio directly.
- Rod was right: that game had a strange feel to it. The back to back Devils goals surrounding the first intermission really changed the game, and it seemed like the Hurricanes needed to manufacture momentum in a way they haven’t needed to do much this year. As we can see, it didn’t go well.
- Reimer wasn’t exactly hung out to dry, but he didn’t cover himself in glory either. He’d want the two goals back that were scored at the goalpost, but truthfully some better defensive coverage would have gone a long way there as well.
- This game won’t go on Dougie Hamilton’s career highlight reel, to be sure. Two penalties, including one that led directly to a goal, a minus-2 and no points. Everyone’s due a clunker, and tonight was his.
- The Canes are off tomorrow and will get back to work Monday at RCI before flying to Philadelphia in the afternoon.