Wash, rinse, repeat. While the effort was much better this time, the Carolina Hurricanes surrendered multiple third-period goals in a loss to the Washington Capitals for the second game in a row with a 3-2 loss at PNC Arena Thursday night.
While the Canes, with a one-point lead on both the Columbus Blue Jackets (wild card two) and Montreal Canadiens (top team outside playoff picture, Canes have a game in hand) control their own fate for the first wild card spot, the margin for error is now gone.
Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from the loss.
The good: Foegele’s dazzling goal- What this game lacked in results, it made up for with an incredible highlight.
Late in the second period, Warren Foegele gave the Canes a 2-1 lead when he toe dragged Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, got Braden Holtby to bite on the pokecheck and pulled it around him for an incredible finish.
Good for Foegele, who’s worked his tail off in every game he’s played in this season in terms of hustle, drawing penalties and being responsible defensively. Foegele is also one who has often had bad luck in terms of finishing grade-A chances this season. Thursday night, he decided to create and finish his own chance.
WARREN FOEGELE. WHOA. He dances around Jensen for a highlight reel goal to make it 2-1 Hurricanes over the Capitals in the second period. pic.twitter.com/HkAg3xHpRU— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 29, 2019
The bad: Power play- The Canes only had one power play in this game, and it came right after Washington took the lead in the third period. As with most Carolina power plays, it did not convert, and the team didn’t really even generate a chance with it. That man advantage could have salvaged at least an all-important point for the team.
The Hurricanes are now 2/30 on the power play (6.7%) dating back to February 27. That's the second-worst power play in the NHL over that span.— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) March 29, 2019
The Canes’ power play has been terrible for a while now, and they need to find a way to get it going yesterday. Carolina faces a couple more tough opponents in the back five, and will need to get its man advantage clicking to finish the job and get into the playoffs. And, of course, if the team wants to get anywhere in the postseason, it’ll need production from its power play.
The ugly: Third period- Pretty sure I did this one a week ago.
Oh, right, I did.
The Canes have now lost three of their last five in seeing their playoff lead shrink to one point. In all three of the losses, the team was tied or ahead going into the third period against a top-tier opponent and lost in regulation.
In this one, the team gave one up on a blown coverage that tied the game early in the final frame, then a failed clearing attempt late led to the game winner.
It laid to waste an underrated dominating performance from Nino Niederreiter, who had a hat trick of foiled grade-A chances go by the wayside. Niederreiter tried to earn the two points on his own, but he was stuck on just one goal when he could have easily had two or three.
I said this last week, but it bears repeating. If the Canes are going to finish the job and get in the playoffs, or make any sort of noise if they get there, they’re going to have to find a way to close these games out.