The Canes cut Philadelphia’s lead to just one goal early in the third period, but quickly surrendered two Flyers’ goals to let any hope of a comeback slip away.
The Canes lost 4-1, and a lot of the struggle to keep the puck out of their own net was self-induced. Carolina made some costly turnovers and had some pretty lackluster clearances that led to Philadelphia goals.
The Flyers’ first goal was the result of a rough attempt to get the puck in the corner from Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin, neither of whom could come up with the puck in a two-on-one battle in the corner with Scott Laughton. It led straight to a Philadelphia goal, as Ivan Provorov collected a heavy rebound off his own shot to make it 1-0.
Philadelphia’s second goal came on a break following an offensive zone turnover by the Canes, but it was the Flyers’ third goal that really came at the hands of a bad Carolina turnover. Less than two minutes after Justin Williams scored to make it a one-goal game in the third, new Canes’ defenseman Brady Skjei fumbled the puck straight to the Flyers for a goal.
Skjei lost the puck behind the net, setting up a Philadelphia goal that gave the Flyers a small buffer after the puck took a bad deflection off Alex Nedeljkovic in net. The icing on the cake came 30 seconds later, as the Flyers again scored off a heavy rebound following a failed Canes’ clearance.
Nedeljkovic struggled in net, particularly with his rebound control, but he also got no help from the guys around him. The mistakes kept mounting for the Hurricanes, and a team as hot as the Flyers are was always going to take advantage.
Where’s the offense?
As much as the turnovers and second chances hurt the Canes’ on the defensive end Thursday night, Carolina wasn’t mustering much in terms of great scoring chances either. The Canes finished with just one goal thanks to Williams, but things were mostly flat otherwise for Carolina in a game where the Hurricanes were simply out-played by Philadelphia.
Carolina hasn’t exactly been dangerous on the offensive end for the last week and half or so either. Since the injuries to James Reimer and Petr Mrazek in the Canes’ 6-3 win in Toronto, Carolina has scored two or fewer goals in three of the four games it has played. The other game resulted in three goals, but still an overtime loss in Montreal.
When the Canes needed the goal scoring to tick up with both of their goalies sidelined with injury, the offensive effort has done the complete opposite. It’s been a bad streak of just four games, but at this point in the season and with the Canes where they are in the standings, it’s a streak that the team really couldn’t afford.
Turn it around quickly
The Hurricanes are in the midst of what is most definitely a season-defining six-game road trip, and it hasn’t started off so hot. An overtime loss in Montreal was followed up by Thursday’s poor effort in Philadelphia, and the Hurricanes now find themselves three points off of the Eastern Conference’s second wildcard spot.
Carolina has a big one coming up Saturday against the Islanders, who currently hold that second wildcard spot, and the Hurricanes are going to want to right the ship fast for that one.
The Canes desperately need some wins on this road trip, and the good news is that things should get easier towards the end of it. Carolina will head to Pittsburgh for a tough matchup Sunday after the Islanders affair, but will then get a pair of games against some of the league’s basement dwellers in Detroit and New Jersey.
With just a month left in the season, time is quickly fleeting for a Canes team that is looking to make it a streak of playoff appearances after a painful nine-year playoff drought. Thursday night’s effort in Philadelphia won’t cut it for the Canes, who have to turn things around quickly here.
The Canes will have a tough back-to-back against the Islanders and Penguins this weekend, an opportunity to get the sour taste from Thursday night out of their mouth quickly.