RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t buck the trend when they returned to game action against the Colorado Avalanche at PNC Arena on Friday.
They didn’t start their five-game home stand the way they wanted to as they suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the Avalanche, the result of a Mikko Rantanen goal that beat goaltender Cam Ward with 37 seconds remaining in the extra period.
Only three other teams thus far had claimed wins following the mandatory five-day bye week, part of the 2016-2017 National Hockey League (NHL) schedule which Carolina had just returned from.
“What everybody said was gonna happen, happened,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“I think the effort was there, but the execution was lacking. It’s hard to overcome a lack of execution.”
The only positive Peters drew from the game was that his team earned a point.
“Not many nights you’re gonna play like that and get a point,” he added.
Jeff Skinner’s team-leading 19th goal of the season was Carolina’s lone offensive result on the night, and kept the Hurricanes on pace with the Avalanche through regulation time.
Tyson Barrie’s fourth of the year, on a set-up from Jerome Iginla and John Mitchell, put Colorado ahead 1-0 at the 13:48 mark of the first period.
Skinner’s slap shot from the left side boards managed to make it through Colorado goalkeeper Calvin Pickard’s pads with 49 seconds remaining, and both teams remained tied 1-1 until overtime.
Forward Lee Stempniak and defenseman Brett Pesce earned assists on the play.
Though he appreciated scoring his first goal in five games, Skinner noted that more puck possession was needed.
“I think we could do a better job of hangin’ on to pucks a little more down in the offensive end, create some more zone time.”
Though Carolina took the puck away 23 times, the Hurricanes gave the puck away or back 19 times, a number that luckily didn’t cost them as much as it could have if not for Ward who turned away 34-of-36 shots he faced.
“I thought we did a better job as the game continued,” Jordan Staal stated.
“There were definitely some bouncing pucks and some plays we’d like back, and some mistakes that we made to give them those chances. It was a back-and-forth game; I thought Wardo played great and made some big saves for us to keep it at one (goal against).”
While Staal had six shots on goal and Skinner four, Carolina’s scoring troubles continued as forwards Victor Rask and Derek Ryan extended scoreless/pointless streaks to 12 games, among others who’ve been unable to produce consistently or at all recently.
It’s a dilemma that Peters has to tried to figure out.
He’s made line adjustments, and continuing to do so may not necessarily guarantee much change.
He put forth one simple answer.
“I’m gonna have to watch it again; what are you gonna change right?”
“Eventually those guys that aren’t getting’ it done, or maybe quite generating as much as they should, need to step up. That’ll be the best solution to the problem we have with a lack of offense.”