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Canes stunned in crushing loss to Ottawa

The Carolina Hurricanes just couldn’t catch a break as everything seemed to go against them Thursday night as they lost to the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, in PNC Arena.

Ottawa Senators members celebrate a good goal knocked in by the skate of Carolina Hurricane Martin Necas, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 in PNC Arena. The Canes lost in regulation, 3-2.
Kaydee Gawlik

It was one of those nights for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Dominate the game, yet after 60 minutes, they’ve lost 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators.

However, when they’ve had ‘one of those nights’ about four times in the last six games, it starts to become more concerning and harder to say, “Well, they’ll get them next time.”

Are worries overblown when the process looks right and the chances are there, yet the one factor biting them the most is luck?

Is it also difficult to make snap judgments when three of your defensive regulars are sidelined due to COVID-19 protocol?

I don’t know the answers here, but the fact of the matter is that it was a frustrating night on a even more frustrating stretch for the Hurricanes.

The Canes have now lost five of their last six, have dropped to third in the Metropolitan and the power play hasn’t scored in eight games.

Oh wait, it actually did score tonight.

After the dumbest sequence of calling off a goal and then reallowing that goal all culminating from an own goal by the Hurricanes a couple of minutes earlier, Teuvo Teravainen picked up career goal number 100 to break the power play drought and Anton Forsberg’s shutout bid after he one-timed a feed from Sebastian Aho with under eight minutes to go in the game, to cut the lead in half.

It was shot number 43 for the Canes that broke the ice for them, a far cry from the Senators who had grabbed their first goal on their first shot just 2:43 into the game.

But after that power play goal — which had seemed to be the Canes’ one Achilles heel on this losing stretch — it actually seemed like it was going to finally be going Carolina’s way because Andrei Svechnikov put home a loose puck to tie it up just 1:45 after the Teravainen goal.

The Canes were buzzing.

But Ottawa took a timeout, and right after that, Ian Cole got caught at the blueline, springing a 2-on-1 the other way.

Then he tried to dive to break up that chance — which he didn’t. Antti Raanta made the initial save, and then... Cole slid into the rebound, knocking it into the net.

So in the span of 2:04, PNC Arena went from pure jubilation to heartbreak. The Canes would then go on to lose 3-2.

And to make matters worse, Jordan Martinook left the game midway through with a lower-body injury and there is a lot of concern for his status moving forward.

Piling up chances, suppressing shots against and doing everything the right only seems to go so far. The offense has to start finishing those chances and making shots count.

Maybe teams have started to find flaws in the Hurricanes’ system, but it’s a bit early to put much credence in anything more than rubbish luck, but time is ticking on how much of a burden plain old bad luck can bear.

Maybe the missing pieces will help the team rebound, but the Canes had been much too inconsistent even before the COVID-related absences.

But looking at the here and now, that was an extremely disappointing loss against the bottom team in the Eastern Conference and against a goaltender that had entered the game with a 4.44 goals against average and 0.883 save percentage.

No other way to look at it.

They need to hope that things go better against the Buffalo Sabres, who they host Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at PNC Arena.