The Carolina Hurricanes lost their fourth consecutive road game Tuesday night, as a poor showing in the third period doomed the Canes in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Wells Fargo Center.
The Canes and Flyers came out of the second intermission tied at 1-1, but things quickly unraveled in the final frame for Carolina as the Hurricanes dropped their second straight game. Lucas Wallmark netted the Canes’ only goal, a great team effort in the second period.
Play the full 60 minutes
Hockey players will tell you all the time the importance of playing a full 60 minutes, and the Hurricanes just didn’t do that Tuesday night. Carolina played really well through the first two periods, and was the better team heading into the final 20. The Canes really just needed to continue doing the important things well, and a win seemed likely after the second intermission.
However, that’s not what happened in the third. The Flyers took the lead for good just over a minute into the final period, taking advantage of some lackluster puck handling from the Carolina defense.
Philadelphia scored another goal to make it 3-1 about 10 minutes later, again taking advantage of some less-than-sharp play from the Canes’ defenders. Carolina lost the puck with not much pressure at the blue line, and then the Canes couldn’t clear away a rebound as the Flyers doubled their lead.
After an empty power play, Philadelphia really put the game out of reach with a breakaway effort from Claude Giroux, sprung by a misplayed puck from Lucas Wallmark.
As sharp as the Hurricanes looked in the first and second periods, they were dull and sloppy throughout the third and it cost them at least a point, maybe two. It’s the second game in a row for Carolina where the third period has made the difference in a loss, this time with Philadelphia adding insult to injury with three third-period goals.
Generally speaking, you’ve got to play the full 60 minutes if you want to have a chance to win hockey games. For the Canes Tuesday night, it seemed like they were content with playing just 40.
Necas keeps getting better
Perhaps the biggest bright spot for Carolina Tuesday, and an ever-growing bright spot for the squad this season, was the play of young forward Martin Necas. Necas made things happen all night, as he got the most ice time of his young career against the Flyers.
Necas made a great play to help set up the Canes first goal, firing a perfect pass right to the stick of Trevor van Riemsdyk who was making his way into the attacking zone. Van Riemsdyk made an even better pass to assist Wallmark’s goal, but it was Necas who saw the play developing and got things started.
Martin Necas out of the corner, and then a great feed in front from Trevor van Riemsdyk to Lucas Wallmark to tie the game in Philly. pic.twitter.com/e1VuPzijmq— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) November 6, 2019
The form has been coming around lately for Necas, and he’s looking like he’ll do nothing but continue to improve as the season goes along. The Czech forward has points in the Canes’ last three games, and he’s becoming more and more a part of the game plan.
The Hurricanes have so much young talent, and what Necas brings to the ice shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s still just 20 years old, he’s getting his first long-term stay in the NHL and he’s starting to put up the numbers and produce for Carolina.
Figure out the Haydn Fleury situation
Fleury played Tuesday night for the first time in five games, as he found the starting lineup instead of the healthy scratch list due to an injury to Erik Haula. With Fleury on the ice, the Canes played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the third time this season. Carolina is now 0-2-1 in those games.
Fleury started the season playing regular minutes, with Trevor van Riemsdyk recovering from shoulder surgery, but he’s the odd man out now that van Riemdsyk is back and healthy. Even with his return to the ice Tuesday, Fleury got just 7:09 of ice time.
Rod Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes are doing Fleury, and the team, no favors by keeping the seventh-overall pick from the 2014 draft around. Playing an 11-7 rotation isn’t a recipe for long-term success, and assuming Haula’s injury is nothing serious, Fleury will be back to finding his name listed as a scratch.
For a player still young and developing like Fleury, no good can be done from keeping him off the ice. Carolina needs to figure out the situation soon. Whether that means a trade or a placement on waivers hoping they can sneak Fleury through and send him to Charlotte, keeping him around and letting him play in the occasional 11-7 game isn’t helping anyone.
After starting the season 5-0-0, the Hurricanes are just 4-5-1 in their last 10. A lot of things are still going right for Carolina, but other things are starting to emerge as glaring issues. The Canes still have a very talented squad, and with any team there will always be kinks to work out.
November hasn’t started to kindly for Carolina, but there is still a ton of hockey left to be played. The Canes will get back to it Thursday night in PNC Arena, when they host the New York Rangers.