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Recap: Hurricanes fall flat in loss to Blues

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The Carolina Hurricanes got outmatched on the ice Tuesday night, as the St. Louis Blues topped the Canes 6-3 in a lopsided battle.

Carolina Hurricanes v St Louis Blues Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

It was a rough night for the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday at the Enterprise Center, as the Blues topped the Canes 6-3 in a game that was never really close.

The Blues scored the only goal of the first period, before opening a 3-0 lead in what would become a four-goal second period for St. Louis. Sebastian Aho got the Hurricanes’ first tally, scoring his 27th goal of the season after Carolina went down 3-0. Brock McGinn and Martin Necas added inconsequential goals late in the third period.

In net for the Canes was Petr Mrazek, who stopped 20 of 26 shots faced. Mrazek struggled throughout the night, as the Blues seemed to have his number. Mrazek was left out to dry on a few of St. Louis’ goals, but still was not sharp for the Hurricanes. For the Blues, All-Star Jordan Binnington got the win and stopped 25 of 28 shots faced.

There was a reunion on both sides of the ice Tuesday, as it was the first game the Blues and Hurricanes have played against each other since swapping defensemen Justin Faulk and Joel Edmundson in the off-season. Edmundson, now with the Canes, received his Stanley Cup ring before the game, while Faulk was playing his first career game against Carolina after spending the first eight years of his career in Raleigh.

The Blues got the scoring started less than three minutes into the game, and Faulk was involved in the goal. Mrazek made a flurry of good saves, but didn’t get much help from his teammates as the puck found its way to Faulk at the point.

The former Canes’ defenseman launched a shot at Mrazek, who again made a strong save. However, Sammy Blais was there in front of Mrazek to collect the rebound and slot it past him to make it 1-0. The early goal marked the third straight game since returning from their break that the Canes have given up a score in the opening five minutes.

Thanks to a strong penalty kill following a Sebastian Aho holding, and a great goal-line clearance from Haydn Fleury before that, the Canes took just a 1-0 deficit into the first intermission.

St. Louis made it 2-0 early in the second period on a great individual effort from Zach Sanford. After collecting the puck in the neutral zone and bringing it towards net, Sanford wrapped around the net, pushing the puck between Mrazek’s skate and the post.

The Blues grew their lead to 3-0 a few minutes later thanks to a beautiful snipe on a 3-on-2 break. Colton Parayko, who got an assist on Sanford’s goal, blasted a shot past Mrazek from the top of the circle. Brayden Schenn threaded a pass to Parayko, who’s one-timer was too much for Mrazek.

The Hurricanes got on the scoring docket shortly after Parayko’s snipe, as Aho tallied his 27th goal of the season. Andrei Svechnikov won a battle on the boards and threaded a pass to Warren Foegele, who found Aho on the opposite side of the net. It was an easy finish for Aho, who moved into a tie for eighth-most goals in the NHL this season with the score.

St. Louis put a quick end to the Canes’ momentum, as Schenn scored a power-play goal less than a minute and a half after Aho’s tally. Jordan Martinook went to the box for slashing, and Schenn took advantage of the man advantage after a couple good initial saves from Mrazek.

The Blues made it 5-1 later in the second period, as Schenn again scored on a power play for St. Louis. This time it was a Jake Gardiner hooking that gave the Blues a man advantage, and Schenn scored off a good setup pass from Jaden Schwartz.

The beginning of the third period was no kinder to the Canes. Shortly after an empty Carolina power play the Blues made it 6-1, as Sanford scored his second.

Carolina did answer Sanford’s second goal to keep the deficit at four goals, as Jordan Staal laced a pass to McGinn in front of net. McGinn didn’t quite get his stick to the puck, but it took a deflection off his shin and past Binnington. The score was McGinn’s sixth of the season.

The Canes got another goal to cut the Blues’ lead to 6-3, but it was too little, too late. The Blues went down a man as Alexander Steen got called for hooking, and Necas scored a power-play tally to capitalize.

The Hurricanes will continue on a four-game road trip Thursday in Arizona, as they take on the Coyotes in Gila River Arena.