In what Rod Brind’Amour described as a “trash game” — outside of the penalty kill, let’s make sure that’s stated — the Hurricanes were slow, disorganized and honestly painful to watch.
It wasn’t the same team that we’re accustomed to seeing and that’s been apparent for a few games now.
The Hurricanes biggest problem against Ottawa started with defensive breakdowns.
Too many times, the Senators were able to blow past the Canes’ skaters and, too often, an Ottawa player went unmarked.
It was also a big game for Claude Giroux, who’s routinely been a Canes killer.
In 51 career games against Carolina, Giroux has 16 goals and 50 points and tonight he had two goals and three points registering is 999, 1000, and 1001 career NHL points.
The first goal the Senators scored was a cross-ice feed from Brady Tkachuk to Claude Giroux who skated in unimpeded for an easy score.
Then after a failed power play by Carolina, the Senators immediately took the puck the other way on an odd-man rush that was finished off by Tim Stutzle off a feed by Giroux.
The Hurricanes did manage to crawl back into the game late and, once again, the scoring came from the blueline.
First it was Brett Pesce, who ripped home a drop feed by Martin Necas to get the Canes on the board and then early in the third period, on the power play, Brent Burns bombed the equalizer in.
Things were looking like Carolina was starting to build its game, but then a controversial call against Stefan Noesen after a Mads Sogaard flop, took a bit of wind out of their sails.
The Canes had been on the power play when the call — goaltender interference — was made, and at 4-on-4, the Senators struck quick.
Two Ottawa skaters each beat out their man down the ice and Shane Pinto fed Giroux for the go-ahead goal.
The Canes tried to muster a pushback near the end, but it didn’t amount to enough as the team lost for the third time in a row.
In terms of positives, it was a really good night for the PK which did in fact go 6-for-6. The Hurricanes also scored on the power play and Martin Necas crossed the 70-point threshold, becoming just the ninth player in team history to eclipse that mark.
But that’s about where the good ends as a disappointing combination of poor officiating but even poorer play doomed the Hurricanes.
Somehow, despite the slide, the Canes have remained in the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, but the lead over the New Jersey Devils is just a single point with no games in hand anymore.
Carolina still controls its own destiny but that begins with a must win game for the final regular season matchup at PNC Arena against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.