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ALN: Canes fall 4-3 to Senators but show promise in comeback efforts

The Carolina Hurricanes went from down 4-0 to losing 4-3 in Ottawa Tuesday night.

NHL: FEB 08 Hurricanes at Senators Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Canes had a faulty start that ultimately led to the final result in Ottawa last night. Fortunately, they were able to show promise and grit in a well-fought comeback during the third period.

Let’s take a look at last night’s loss against Ottawa:

One of those starts

Just over a minute into the game, Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk was able to net a quick one and begin the lead that the Senators would unfortunately never give up. Ottawa was able to manage a controlled and structured system, giving them a clear advantage. The Canes were constantly chasing the puck and turning it over during the first period, lacking the control and vision that tends to win them games.

This pattern continued throughout the first and second period, even as the Canes gained more comfort and momentum on the ice. They had a few close calls that could have easily been goals against another goalie or on another night, but it was just one of those days where the puck wasn’t falling their way until it was too late.

The first period concluded with a 2-0 Senators lead, and that margin was doubled during the second period.

“We just gotta keep chipping away,” Jaccob Slavin said during the second period intermission— and that’s exactly what they did. They carried the momentum of the “almost-goals” into the third period.

Andrei Svechnikov was able to score his 17th of the season to get the Canes on the board, after a giveaway that led to an earlier Ottawa goal. Once again, he makes up for his mistakes.

The Canes were able to further cut their deficit with a goal from the Birthday Boy himself, Brendan Smith. There was a smidge of hope as Vincent Trocheck scored the last goal of the game with just a minute left, concluding the Carolina domination of the third period— but it was too late to carry them to a win.

“We’ll take the positives out of the third, but that’s not what we want,” Smith said.

Happy Birthday, Brendan Smith!

The Canes newcomer defenseman turned 33 yesterday and he was able to score a crucial goal for Carolina last night. It was his third of the season and it cut the Senator’s lead to 4-2 with about six minutes remaining.

Now, let’s celebrate the blueliner by taking a quick peek at his career and his time with the Canes so far:

Smith was acquired this past July and was signed to a one-year, $800,000 contract, which has proven to be a solid deal. Prior to his time at Carolina, he was drafted 27th overall in 2007 by the Detroit Red Wings. He had played 526 career games with both the New York Rangers and Detroit and had registered 110 points in his time with both teams. Smith has since tallied five points in 25 games with Carolina, and continued to prove his worth to the team with his birthday goal last night.

Penalty kill remains a source of hope

While a loss is a loss, the Canes PK remained dominant, going 4/5 last night. It stays atop the league and has proven to be one of the team’s greatest strengths.

It’s something that’s been consistently praised throughout the season, and shows no sign of faltering, sitting at 88.4%.

Aho gets close

If only Aho’s buzzer-beater goal to end the first period had been .01 second sooner, this game may have taken a wildly different route. Unfortunately, we can’t play the “hypotheticals” game.

It was tough to see, and while it may have given Carolina momentum and added structure as they came out for the second period, a goal to end the first would have been huge in this game. Instead, a scoreless two periods is what appeared. It wasn’t due to lack of effort or lack of quality shots— it was a mixture of bad luck and great goaltending on Ottawa’s end, especially during the Canes man-advantage.

That being said, the Canes were able to flip the switch in the third and score three goals, reinforcing the comeback mindset that fans have already seen a few times this season.

What’s next?

The Carolina Hurricanes (31-10-3) face the Boston Bruins (26-15-3) at TD Garden on Thursday night at 7pm ET.

We all know how the last matchup ended, and I’m sure we’d all like to see more of the same this time around. In order for that to happen, we need to see the Canes play like it’s always the third period.

It is likely that Frederik Andersen will be in net on Thursday, which turned out well last time, so let’s hope for a similar result tomorrow.