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Canes blow multi-goal lead, lose fourth in a row

Despite a game where they scored two shorthanded goals, the Carolina Hurricanes found themselves on the losing end once again.

New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

When it rains, it pours.

After the franchise record 11-game winning and 17-game point streak, the Carolina Hurricanes have now found themselves on the losing end of four-straight after a 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night at PNC Arena.

There aren’t going to be any easy wins to be had until the Canes put together a full team effort in all three zones of the ice and stop making those critical mental mistakes.

In this one, it was the end of the second period.

The game was in the Hurricanes’ grasp after a backbreaker, second shorthanded goal by Sebastian Aho late in the period had Carolina sitting pretty with a two-goal lead.

But with under a minute to go in the period, New Jersey struck twice just 18 seconds apart to pull back into a tie with the Canes.

“There were two good teams out there tonight,” Aho said. “They used their momentum pretty well and like I said, we I think we controlled this game pretty well until their second and third goal but there just needed to be a better response from us.”

Dawson Mercer was just left unmarked as he powered to the front of the net for a stuff chance that ultimately went in off of Dylan Coghlan’s blade and then Coghlan tripped and fell to the ice, leaving Jesper Boqvist alone in front where he tucked the puck five-hole past Pyotr Kochetkov.

It was an abysmal game for that third paring of Coghlan and Jalen Chatfield, but it was Coghlan who found himself as the one ultimately at fault each time.

The game-winning goal also came with Coghlan on the ice as he got blown past by Mercer after being caught flatfooted at the blueline.

With a healthy Calvin de Haan on the roster, one would think another lengthy benching for Coghlan is on the horizon. Even though the Hurricanes like to have that extra healthy body, it may be time to cut their losses with Coghlan.

Despite the final score, the first 39 minutes of hockey were actually very good for Carolina.

The Canes ended up on the score board first, despite being shorthanded, as a beautiful faceoff play by Martin Necas was capped off by Jesperi Kotkaniemi rifling it home

The Hurricanes wound up with that offensive zone faceoff after a solid play by the penalty killing pair before Necas and Kotkaniemi. Teuvo Teravainen knocked a pass down at the line and Jesper Fast jumped onto the loose puck and raced it down the ice for a chance which Vitek Vanecek froze, setting up the ensuing faceoff.

However, the first softie of the game was given up by Kochetkov not long after as a Jonas Siegenthaler, tough-angle shot managed to squeak its way between his pad and the post, determined to be a good goal after video review.

“I’m sure he’s down on himself,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour on Kochetkov. “He was playing great and then his injury took him out of lineup for a little bit and since he’s been back, he hasn’t had the same results. He’s a young kid and that’s human nature. I’m sure he wishes he could have one of those back, but this is big boy hockey and that’s how it goes.”

The Hurricanes did manage to bounce back out to a lead as Max Pacioretty grabbed his third goal in as many games. Pacioretty finding a rhythm would be nice for the Hurricanes, however, to be fair, all three of his goals have come by way of fortunate bounces off of opponents.

The Aho goal soon followed that one, with Tervainen again making a great shorthanded play on the give-and-go with Aho, but that was about as far as the good fortune would ride.

If the Hurricanes want to claw their way out of this latest skid, they’re going to need that full team effort and start putting these mental mistakes behind them.

“No one likes to lose four in a row,” said captain Jordan Staal. “It’s not great. It’s frustrating. I hope this group doesn’t think that they’re better than they are. We have to come back with a better, grittier effort and get back to the way we want to play and how we want to do things around here.”

Obviously, a more consistent product in net wouldn’t hurt either, but the netminders are going to have to play their way out of their funks and that’s going to bring about its own levels of frustration regardless.

Carolina will have a chance to turn it around with another visit to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets Thursday night.