Carolina trailed for 58 minutes and 10 seconds in Tuesday night’s contest, as the deficit lasted nearly wire-to-wire in their 3-1 loss to Philadelphia, which was their first home setback of the season.
After turning in what was likely their best performance of the year in a 4-0 victory on the road in Tampa Bay, the Hurricanes were unable to carry over the momentum after a three day break.
Losses are bound to happen, and no team will ever be perfect in the NHL, but the product and end results of the Flyers’ loss boils down to one word: inconsistency.
Carolina created a plethora of scoring chances, more so than Philadelphia, but their inability to clear the puck and brief lapses led to an outing that featured frustration from the captain Jordan Staal.
“As a group, it doesn’t feel like we’ve completely bought in to how we want to do things. [When that’s true], it’s going to look like that,” said Staal. “It’s going to be a .500 club that wins some games, loses some games, and it’s ho-humming. It’s starting to get frustrating.”
The Hurricanes’ style of play under Brind’Amour, which has been spearheaded in part by Staal, is what has led to their success, but even with many of the same pieces, the results are not there.
Staal admitted that even with the evidence of success under the system, it seems as if night in and night out their performance is “hit or miss” for Carolina so far this season.
The Flyers opened up the scoring just 1:50 into the contest, as their first shot of the game, a wrister from the top of the point by Owen Tippett, snuck by Pyotr Kochetkov to give Philadelphia the lead.
For the remainder of the period, the Hurricanes generated grade-A chances, including a breakaway opportunity for Jesperi Kotkaniemi that was denied by Carter Hart.
Despite pestering the net and securing high-danger shots, the Flyers got the last laugh in the opening period, as Travis Konecny redirected a Nick Seeler shot attempt to double the lead at the first intermission.
Carolina would allow two scores over the final 58 seconds of the first frame and the first 29 seconds of the second period, as they watched Philadelphia’s lead balloon to three goals.
Tony DeAngelo’s cross-ice feed to Stefan Noesen just over halfway through the contest, gave the Hurricanes their first and only score.
Three power play chances presented Carolina with ample opportunity to get back into the game after going down three goals, but their play on the man advantage was lackluster.
Carter Hart, who came up with big save after big save, tallied 31 saves in net, while Philadelphia halted many of the Hurricanes’ chances in the offensive zone, as they recorded 30 blocked shots on the night.
But, despite the fantastic play from the netminder, the game was lost by Carolina’s poor decision-making and breakdowns in the defensive zone, and with the inconsistent effort, Rod Brind’Amour was not pleased.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s got to stop,” said Brind’Amour. “That’s going to be on me here pretty soon to start shaking things up if we continue to do that because we’re too good to be inconsistent.”
Lineups and shifts have seen changes throughout the course of this season, whether due to injury or performance, but with Brind’Amour expressing his concerns and frustrations just 16 games into the season, another bounceback effort is needed on Saturday.
The Hurricanes will welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to PNC Arena on Saturday, as they continue their five game homestand.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm in Raleigh.