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Recap: Canes season ends in shutout loss to Lightning

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The Carolina Hurricanes 2021 season came to an end in the second round Tuesday night, as the Canes lost 2-0 to the Lightning to drop the series 4-1.

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ross Colton celebrates with teammates after scoring early in the third period, sealing the deal on the Carolina Hurricanes’ elimination, Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in PNC Arena. The Canes lost, 2-0, in what became their final game of the season.
Kaydee Gawlik

The Carolina Hurricanes season came to an end in PNC Arena Tuesday night, as Andrei Vasilevskiy shut out the Canes to send the Tampa Bay Lightning through to the final four with a 2-0 win.

For the Canes, the season ended without a goal, as Vasilevskiy stopped all 29 shots the Hurricanes put on his net. For Tampa Bay, Brayden Point scored on a second-period power play, while Ross Colton made it 2-0 midway through the third period.

Alex Nedeljkovic, back in net for the Canes after Petr Mrazek played games three and four, was phenomenal, stopping 23 of 25 shots faced and keeping Carolina in the game with a flurry of dazzling saves in the third period prior to the Colton goal.

Special teams were again the difference for Carolina, as the Canes went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Lightning went 1 for 2, that opening and game-winning goal from Point.

The first period was eventful but scoreless, as the energy from both teams was clear and present from the puck drop.

Both the Canes and Lightning had strong penalty kills early in the period, with both Vasilevskiy and Nedeljkovic looking locked in from the start. There was also a scoreless 4-on-4 stretch, which featured a huge open-ice hit from Vincent Trocheck that ignited the PNC Arena crowd.

The Lightning made it 1-0 early on in the second period on the power play, as Jani Hakanpaa went to the box for interference. The first chance of the power play came for the Hurricanes, as a failed attempt to keep the puck in the zone led to a great 2-on-1 chance for Carolina. Trocheck got a good look at it, but Vasilevskiy made an incredible diving save to deny the shorthanded goal.

Shortly after that, Point showed off some of his own magic to open up the scoring, patiently switching to his backhand by the crease and roofing one past Nedeljkovic.

Following an abysmal power play from Carolina, the Canes settled in and started to create some good chances down the stretch of the second period. However, Vasilevskiy and a slew of good blocks in front of him kept Carolina off the board.

The Canes finally did catch a break at the very end of the second period, as the Lightning put a puck past Nedeljkovic as time was expiring. The point shot from Steven Stamkos very clearly did not cross the line before the buzzer sounded, as a few tenths of a second kept the Canes down just 1-0 instead of 2-0.

Carolina came out in the third period with some good possession early, peppering some chances but not finding the one it needed. On the other end of the ice, Nedeljkovic made a couple huge saves, one a point-blank save on Point, single handedly keeping the Canes season alive.

The Canes kept pushing and Nedeljkovic kept making saves, but Tampa Bay got the dagger with 11 minutes to play in the game from Colton. Steven Lorentz turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Colton walked it in and sniped one past Nedeljkovic to make it 2-0.

Carolina got one final chance on the power play later in the third, as Ondrej Palat delivered a hit to the head of Brett Pesce and went to the box. The Canes, once again, came up empty on the man advantage.

Nedeljkovic went to the bench with just under three minutes to play, but the puck found neither net during that time.