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About Last Night: Welcome Back, Hurricanes

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The Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t get it done Friday night as they returned from a nine-day layoff, falling to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3.

NHL: JAN 31 Golden Knights at Hurricanes Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a nine-day layoff, the Carolina Hurricanes finally hit the ice again Friday night. Things didn’t go well for the Canes however, as they fell to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 after tying the game up at 3-3 late in the third period.

Vegas scored twice in the opening period, and got a game winner with less than three minutes left from Alex Tuch. The Canes got goals from Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Sebastian Aho in the loss.

Still on Vacation?

It seems that the Carolina Hurricanes were a little late returning from their nine-day break, as the Canes looked to be still on vacation in the opening period. The Golden Knights got off to a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, and the Canes were lucky to be down just two goals as they headed back for the first intermission.

Vegas got the scoring started less than four minutes in, Paul Stastny netted one past Petr Mrazek. The goal was the result of an indecisive and lackluster effort from Canes’ defenseman Jake Gardiner, who found himself caught between the passer and the shooter without doing much to stop it.

The Golden Knights struck again with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, as Jonathan Marchessault sniped one past Mrazek’s glove after a failed clearance from the Hurricanes.

The excuse of a nine-day layoff is one the Canes couldn’t use, with Vegas having the same time away from the ice, but they clearly weren’t ready to play out of the gate. Carolina was slow to the puck and not sharp at all during the opening 20 minutes. The slow start hurt the Canes from the start, and definitely wasn’t a great way to come back from the back.

The Finns on Form

Friday night was a bad loss for the Hurricanes, but the two Finnish superstars for the Canes started the back stretch of the season off on the right foot. Teravainen started the scoring off in the second period for Carolina, cutting the Vegas lead from two to one. Teravainen collected the puck in front of the Vegas goal, and used a nice move to beat Malcolm Subban. Aho got the secondary assist on the goal.

Aho came up clutch late in the third period, tying the game up at 3-3 with a little under four minutes to play. Jaccob Slavin launched a shot from the point that Aho got a great stick to and redirected into the net for a huge goal. Teravainen got an assist on that goal, marking four points on the night for the two Finns combined.

Teravainen and Aho have been fantastic for the Hurricanes all season, and they’ll need to continue to play at that level down the stretch if the Canes want to stay in things in the Metro Division and the Eastern Conference Wildcard race.

More than a game

The Canes lost on the ice Friday night, but at the end of the day hockey is just a game. The Hurricanes hosted Hockey Talks night, which put a focus on mental health awareness and ending the stigma surrounding the ever-growing issue in the world.

We all love hockey, but it really is just a game when it all comes down to it. Taking the time to highlight issues like these is one of the reasons sports are so important, and it’s great to see these nights to take a moment and reflect on things. With the #BellLetsTalk day and mental health awareness ones like these, hockey has done a great job of bringing this issue to the forefront over the past few years.

Wrapping Up

It wasn’t a great start to the back half of the year for the Carolina Hurricanes, but it was just one loss at the end of the day. The Canes will get back to it Sunday afternoon at home, as they host the Vancouver Canucks.