For 40 minutes, it was some of the best hockey that the Carolina Hurricanes had played all season.
The offense was generating chances, the power play was creating looks, the penalty kill was suffocating and there really wasn’t much being given up the other way.
It was the Canes’ game to lose.
And that’s exactly what they did, as the Canes got vastly outplayed in the final 20 minutes for their first home loss of the season.
While Carter Hart (0.975 sv%) played a crucial role in denying Carolina the victory, the Canes’ Kryptonite tonight was their inability to play the full 60 minutes.
Again, the first two periods were really strong for Carolina. In the opening two frames, the Canes outshot their opponents 29-13, outchanced them 52-33, had a 13-5 edge in high-danger chances for and most importantly, were leading 1-0.
The lone tally came courtesy of one Steven Lorentz who got the chance to play up in the lineup alongside Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast.
The line was doing a good job of hemming in the Flyers and suffocating them with their aggressive forecheck and their chance to break the ice came when Philadelphia tried to make a quick, panic clear.
Staal collected the puck at the blueline and fed it down to Fast, who fluttered the puck airborne across the crease.
Picking his pitch, Lorentz chocked up on his stick and drove home the goal to give Carolina the lead.
The Canes could have had an even bigger lead after two periods, as just 45 seconds after Lorentz’s tally, Seth Jarvis put the puck into the net.
However, the goal did not count as the play was about an inch offsides. Jarvis tried his best to contort his lower body to keep the line on the initial entry, but he barely passed into the zone before the puck.
It’s tough, but thems the rules.
But heading into the third period, despite just a one goal lead, the game felt like it was heavily in Carolina’s favor.
That was until the Flyers opened the third, rattled off 10 shots on net in just the first five minutes of the period and tied the game 1-1.
It was just a brutal mismatch at the Canes’ blueline as Scott Laughton launched the puck into the Carolina zone from the neutral zone and Joel Farabee took over from there.
Farabee instantly got two steps on the Carolina defender and collected the puck, which had taken a fortunate bounce off the end boards, drove to the net and beat Frederik Andersen (0.929 sv%) five-hole.
And it didn’t get better from there.
Philly came in waves and eventually the pressure broke through again as Zack MacEwen got just enough on a Justin Braun point shot to change the puck’s direction before Andersen had time to react.
The Canes tried to right the ship from there, but it was a case of too little too late.
Because even though the Canes had two power play chances, a completely lopsided power kill, and a 6-on-5 that all saw grade-A after grade-A opportunity be generated, Hart would just not concede another goal.
The Canes will return to the ice tomorrow as they play host to the St. Louis Blues for the second half of a back-to-back.