Sometimes you just get goalied.
The Carolina Hurricanes absolutely pummeled the Anaheim Ducks all night, outshooting them 53-15 and outchancing them 90-30, but it was the Ducks who left with the 3-2 win Saturday night at PNC Arena.
It wasn’t like the Hurricanes were making it easy on the Ducks netminder with soft shots into the crest either. No, Gibson was having to earn his paycheck as he was diving across and gloving down a literal bombardment of chances.
“He had a really good game,” said Jesperi Kotkaniemi. “It was a little frustrating for us. We had 50 something shots. Need to put more than two into the net. It’s just frustrating.”
It was just the fact that John Gibson was seeing everything and everything was sticking to him. Not necessarily a recipe for success for a team like Carolina who thrives on getting pucks to the net and playing off of those rebounds.
But that’s just how the business goes sometimes.
“Anybody can beat anybody in the NHL,” said coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We know that. I don’t know if we got ‘beat’ tonight. I felt like it was just the way it went. They’ve got great players. On their goals, they were all high-end plays. We did pretty much everything we had to do and we just didn’t find the back of the net enough.”
And listen. Let’s not overblow this loss.
The Hurricanes had won five-straight coming into the game and had scored 4+ goals in four of those games. Take it back a bit further and Carolina had won 12 of their last 13 games, scoring 4+ goals in 10 of those games.
It’s one game. It happens.
“We had our chances and we played hard all night long,” said Jaccob Slavin. “Just one of those games where bounces sometimes don’t go your way. So you take the positives from it and move on.”
The Hurricanes were pushing the pace early, but it wasn’t until the second period when the ice finally broke.
But it wasn’t the Canes doing the breaking.
After Carolina got hemmed into their own zone a little bit, John Klingberg stepped into a one-timer from the faceoff dot that rifled its way past Andersen.
Anaheim would actually go up by two early in the third period. On a bit of a broken play Ryan Strome found himself behind the Hurricanes’ net and he found Jakob Silfverburg in the slot for another quick-shot goal.
However, immediately after that, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent off to the races by a Jaccob Slavin clear and the Finnish center buried it top corner.
“Pretty much everybody had a chance,” Brind’Amour said. “There was a bunch of great opportunities and we just didn’t put it in. I liked that we kept fighting, but we got down two and all of a sudden we’re still in the game. Just the way it went tonight.”
“There was nice backspin on it,” Kotkaniemi said on the setup from Slavin. “I liked that.”
“Happened to have some backspin, so it looked good,” Slavin admitted. “I was just trying to get it out but hoping that we had guys going.”
The Canes were buzzing from there and a 4-on-4 opportunity led to Slavin with a great chance crashing to the net, but Gibson stoned him and the Ducks went the other way.
“I think we still need to bear down and bury those,” Slavin said. “I had one of those myself. It’s just the way the game goes sometimes.”
Brett Pesce kept Troy Terry to the outside, but the dynamic forward executed a spin-o-rama and released the shot immediately sailing past Frederik Andersen’s shoulder.
The Hurricanes grabbed another response goal as Jesper Fast tipped in a Brett Pesce shot, but even with a late-game power play the Canes couldn’t break through.
“We got a little hectic there,” Brind’Amour said on the final sequences. “We probably needed to settle down a little more. I didn’t love that, but our power play was good tonight. We had a whole bunch of opportunities in the second period, we just didn’t get it in.”
So despite the huge disparity in shots and the dominance all night, Carolina just couldn’t find enough to get the win. And that’s okay. It happens. While the team is certainly frustrated by the fact that they should have won, the reality is that’s it’s just one game and tomorrow is a new day.
“Play that game 10 times and you’re going to win nine of them,” Brind’Amour said. “It was just that tonight we got the one.”