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About Last Night: Costly Mistakes

The Canes fell to the Wild 3-2 Saturday night in Minnesota.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes dropped their third game in their last four since coming back from the All-Star break Saturday night, falling to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on the road.

Andrei Svechnikov scored twice in the third period for the Canes, but Carolina couldn’t come all the way back from a 3-0 hole it dug itself.

Some takeaways:

Paying for mistakes

Overall, the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t play a terrible game Saturday night, but they made a few key mistakes and a good Wild team did what good teams do and capitalized.

On paper, the Canes did a lot of things right in this one. They outshot the Wild 39-27, had more power play opportunities, won the faceoff battle, were essentially even on hits and had a 58.49 CF%.

But none of that matters because the Wild was more clinical and took advantage of what the Hurricanes gave it, as some misplays by Carolina led to all three Minnesota goals.

The Wild’s first goal came on a pretty ugly defensive sequence for the Canes, with the entire team looking a bit lost and Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce both getting worked in the neutral zone.

The second Minnesota goal came after a bad clearance attempt from Jaccob Slavin, which hit Teuvo Teravainen’s skate and led to a break for Kirill Kaprizov, who is way too good to not score.

And then the third Wild goal came after a lazy offensive-zone pass by the Canes gave Minnesota the rush, with Frederik Andersen left out to dry.

Simply put, Minnesota took advantage of what the Hurricanes gave it, and the Canes on the other end couldn’t put away all of the looks it got, with quite a few open nets missed through the night.

“It’s tough. I didn’t like a couple of the goals we gave up, the way we did it,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “We kind of forced some plays and you don’t have to do that. Those will end up in your net. Overall we certainly had enough chances. I counted three or four where you thought it was in and somehow it didn’t get in. We played hard. You just can’t give those freebies where you just hand the team a turnover and it ends up in the net. That’s a tough one.”

The Brilliant Andrei Svechnikov

The Canes did make a third-period comeback to turn the 3-0 deficit into a 3-2 loss, thanks to a great showing from Andrei Svechnikov.

Svechnikov willed the Canes back into this one, scoring both tallies to give Carolina a shot. The first was a beautiful individual effort from Svechnikov, who collected the puck in the neutral zone and skated it in himself to snipe one past Cam Talbot.

The second was a power play beauty, as Teravainen threaded a great pass across ice to Svechnikov in the circle, who picked his window to beat Talbot.

Svechnikov is so good, and he showed that once again Saturday night. The good news for the Canes is that with all this talent, there’s always a good chance someone will step up and give Carolina a chance. Svechnikov did that Saturday, but the Hurricanes have got work to do to not need those late efforts.

“He’s a dominant player,” said Tony DeAngelo. “He’s got a dominant frame to him. He’s a great skater, a strong kid, and when he’s playing like that it makes our team that much better and that much deeper throughout the four lines. He’s been great, and he’s starting to get rewarded for it.”

Other Thoughts

  • There’s no place for moral victories in the NHL, but the Canes have shown some resiliency and fight lately. Saturday it was turning 3-0 into 3-2, and Tuesday in Ottawa it was turning 4-0 into 4-3. That’s not a good thing, going down early, and it needs to be sorted out, but it is at least good to see the fight is there in this group. As the other head coach whose team resides in PNC Arena loves to say, “I’m proud of my guys. They showed fight tonight.” (there’s enough NC State/Hurricanes crossover fans here for this to hit with someone)
  • Both Svechnikov and Kaprizov scored their 20th goals of the season in Saturday night’s game. There’s so much young talent in the NHL, and it’s fun to see.
  • The road trip was...not great. The win over Boston was a massive and impressive one for the Canes, but Carolina certainly would have wanted more than three points in four games coming out of the All-Star break. Maybe some home cooking will be good for Carolina.
  • The Canes have a one-point lead over the Penguins in the Metro with two games in hand, too. Carolina certainly is still in the driver’s seat to win the division, but this first week out of the All-Star break isn’t what the Canes will want to see continue.