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Recap: Carolina Hurricanes Lose Crucial Game to Struggling New Jersey Devils 3-2

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Canes dropped their first game of their five-game road trip to the second worst team in the league.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes’ power play woes continued on Sunday, losing 3-2 to the struggling New Jersey Devils. The Canes went 1-5 on power plays including missing on a 23 second two-man advantage. Throughout the game the Hurricanes would grab momentum via penalty kills or sustained pressure, but constantly gave it away with bad power plays. The Canes continue to stand still and rely on points from the shot as soon as they are set up as opposed to cycling and creating confusion or any kind of decision making from the defense. The only time that they were able to convert was at the end of the game with the goalie pulled.

The game started with a bang when Micheal Ferland dropped his gloves with Kurtis Gabriel just one minute into the game. The fight wasn’t an overwhelming win one way or the other but it was a great way to set the tone early for a team playing their fourth straight road game.

The Hurricanes were the benefit of two early penalties by the Devils which also led to a brief two-man advantage, but they could not convert. The Canes’ five on three was stationary and did not force the Devils to move or shift their coverage which led to no real chances.

That’s where the good news ended for the Canes in the first. The Devils were able to grab momentum after killing off three minutes of penalties. They forced the play in the Canes zone which caused Brett Pesce to take a holding penalty. On the ensuing power play, Ryan Murphy found Pavel Zacha with a great pass, and Zacha was able to beat a sliding Mrazek glove-side to open scoring.

New Jersey extended their lead with a minute left with a goal by Marcus Johansson. Johansson outworked Pesce on the back post, and was able to tap in a rebound from Kyle Palmieri.

Rod Brind’Amour had one heck of a speech during the intermission. The Hurricanes came out fast in the second with energy to grab momentum early. It continued when the Canes killed off an untimely penalty by Justin Faulk just four minutes in.

They then followed it up with a goal by Dougie Hamilton, his 10th of the season. After a sustained pressure in the offensive zone, Hamilton fired the puck towards the net and beat Keith Kinkaid who struggled to track the puck through traffic.

Though the Canes weren’t able to tie the game in the second, they did outshoot the Devils 9-2. They took momentum, confidence, and a power play heading into the second intermission.

Carolina continued the strong energy in the third and pressed too hard at times. They took three straight penalties which led to a 4-on-3 and cancelled a potential tying goal. With 13 minutes left in the third it appeared that Sebastian Aho had tied the game. However, Nino Niederreiter took a penalty for interference in front of the net which washed the goal out.

With four minutes left Marcus Johansson beat Mrazek on an odd man rush to make the game 3-1. The chance came after Justin Faulk was indecisive on a pinch which allowed Jesper Bratt to grab the puck and drive down the ice with Johansson.

Niederreiter closed the gap to one goal on a late power play goal. The goal came after Mrazek was pulled for a sixth attacker. It was the first time all game that the Canes had pressure and chances on the power play and they were able to convert.

Despite the late rush and a long period with the extra attacker, the Canes were not able to tie the game. They now look to rebound against the league worst Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in Ottawa. This will conclude their five-game road trip, and might also serve as their most important game of the season.