Carolina allowed three first period goals against Anaheim on Sunday night, falling in an early hole that was too much to overcome. The Ducks added in two empty net goals in the final minutes to down the Hurricanes, 6-3, and earn their first win of the season.
After securing a victory over Los Angeles in a nine round shootout on Saturday night, a slow start did not exactly come as a surprise.
The first 20 minutes featured a slow and sluggish effort, which allowed Anaheim to possess a three goal advantage at the break.
Defensive miscues, particularly from the third defensive pairing, and a few uncharacteristic misses from Antti Raanta in net created the early sebtback.
Once again, Brendan Lemieux was the 12th forward for the Hurricanes, meaning Jalen Chatfield, who produced a strong showing in limited action in the opener, was the healthy scratch.
Carolina would use a power play goal from Martin Necas with 4:32 remaining in the contest to cut the lead in half and give the Hurricanes some hope, only trailing 4-3.
After Carolina brought on an extra attacker, Anaheim added in two more goals to double up the Hurricanes and win their eighth consecutive home opener.
For Carolina, a glaring -5 from Dmitry Orlov points to the aforementioned defensive struggles, including DeAngelo and Burns at both -3. The ladder in Burns certainly was not the main issue, but it does go to show that it wasn’t a strong showing from a majority of the Hurricanes.
Forward Frank Vatrano recorded a hat trick and 19-year old defenseman Pavel Mintyukov tallied his first career goal in just his second career game.
The Ducks have now won three straight contests again Rod Brind’Amour’s club and can make in four in a row in the finale of their season series in January.
But, despite never maintaining a lead and trailing for just over 53 minutes, there were some positives from the second game of the six game road trip.
After amassing just 19 shots on goal through three periods and overtime against the Kings, the Hurricanes recorded 35 on Sunday.
In addition, one of their biggest weaknesses heading into the season, their success on the power play, was not an issue in the loss.
Sure, every NHL team would love to convert as many opportunities on the man advantage, but, for a team that finished 20th in the league in conversion rate, Sunday’s 2-for-6 performance on the power play is a step in the right direction.
Their first power play goal came in the third period from Teuvo Teravainen, cutting the Anaheim lead to two and putting some life into the Carolina bench.
If there is anything to take away from the loss and even the first three games, it is that this is a completely different Teravainen from a season ago.
The 29-year old scored Carolina’s first goal of the night in the second frame and ultimately recorded a two-goal game.
Through three games, he has netted four scores to tie Brady Skjei for the team lead in points, but most importantly, he’s playing with confidence. His power play score, which featured a snipe from near the left side of the point, was a shot with confidence and one that I’m not sure he attempts at times last season.
With four scores in the early going, he is already 25% of the way to his output from a season ago, potentially signaling a huge bounceback year.
There are no certainties in life or even in hockey so Teravainen’s hot stretch may not last, but, for someone who is looking to return to old form, he is certainly off to a good start.
Teravainen and the Hurricanes will receive a much-needed day off on Monday before heading to San Jose to square off against the Ducks on Tuesday.