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Turnovers, mental mistakes sink Canes in return to action

The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the New York Rangers 6-2 Saturday night at PNC Arena in their first game in nine-days.

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

There was one thing plaguing the minds of every Carolina Hurricanes player following their 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers...

The sheer amount of turnovers.

The Canes were credited with 19 giveaways through the 60 minute contest, and a good portion of those were unforced.

The Hurricanes especially sank themselves when some of those brutal turnovers led directly to the tying, go-ahead and dagger goals.

It was also not a great showing for Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce who were on the ice for all three of those.

Usually one of the Canes’ best defensive pairs, the duo did not have a good showing — despite having a 69% CF — as they gave up three goals against with no goals for.

“That tying goal for them late in the second, that was a tough one,” Brind’Amour said. “We had full possession, there was no real stress on us and we turn it over to the wrong players and it’s in the back of our net.”

The play in question, Pesce tries to play the puck up the boards from his own zone, but Skjei tries to get his stick on the puck as if it were a pass and it bounces to Vincent Trocheck who hits the reload with Panarin for the goal.

“We [also] gave them one in the third for the go-ahead. There was no real pressure on us and we turn it over. And they make you pay. That’s what they do.”

That play, Pesce called for the puck after Frederik Andersen played it behind the net, but then as Pesce tried to send it, it got intercepted and once again, Panarin scored.

Then on the third goal, both defensemen vacated the blueline and Panarin took the puck from Aho and away he went. Hat trick or for the Canes, the Mistake Trick.

The season has not been a scheduling masterclass for the Canes.

The first 64 days of the season featured 20 road games to just 9 home games, with 50 of those 64 days involving travel for the team.

They then entered the All-Star break on a seven-game winning and 10-game point streak and with a red-hot power play only to end up sitting for nine-straight days as the break coincided with their league mandated bye week.

All to come back to face a Metro division rival in the New York Rangers who were rolling along already having won three straight since the All-Star break.

You’ll never hear a hockey player make excuses, but that doesn’t make the scheduling a non-factor.

“I didn’t like the start [of the schedule], that’s for sure,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour after the game. “Not so much that we were on the road for forever, but we just had a lot of off days on the road. That was tough, but we got it behind us and then we put together a good string of home games because we had so many to catch up on. Tonight it just didn’t go our way.”

And the reason it didn’t got their way? Mental mistakes.

After nine days off, the Canes, physically, looked pretty good out the gate.

“I was actually surprised how well we played at the start,” Brind’Amour said. “We were really sharp.”

And they were. The Canes were well outshooting the Rangers and the only goal they gave up was a power play goal. The Hurricanes managed to get two quick strikes in the second period to even steal the lead.

But that’s when the turnovers really started to hammer them.

“I thought in the first two periods, we created enough offense to control the game, but the stuff that we were giving up was just Grade-A’s, either breakaways or 2-on-1s,” said captain Jordan Staal. “Stuff that we can’t be doing. Then in the third, I thought we just completely came off of our game and what we really wanted to do. And then it just got really sloppy and ugly at that point.

The Hurricanes got goal contributions from two of their Finns as both Teuvo Teravainen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi found the back of the net.

Both have been on an upward trajectory as of late after slow starts to the year. The Canes need more contributions, namely from each’s linemates — Andrei Svechnikov and Seth Jarvis.

Hopefully they and the rest of the Hurricanes managed to shake off the rest of the rust from the long break and can get back to it on Tuesday for a matchup with the Washington Capitals.