RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes came up on the losing side of a 2-1 chip and chase contest with the Winnipeg Jets at PNC Arena on Tuesday
Chris Thorburn scored the game-winning goal for the Jets late in the third period and put the pressure on the Hurricanes to even the score for a second time in the game.
After falling behind 1-0 at the 12:57 mark of the second period, Riley Nash scored his seventh goal of the season for Carolina and tied the game 1-1 before both teams headed into the intermission break.
Gradually gaining momentum throughout the game, it seemed as though Carolina was reaching for possession of the puck more than it had in recent games.
Credit the Jets for getting to loose pucks first in their end and keeping the Hurricanes moving and looking over their shoulder after dumping them into their zone.
“They’re a big team and they come out and had some tempo to their first period,” Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said.
“I don’t think we managed the puck as well as we wanted, so it was kind of coming back at us. But I thought as the game went on we started to do a better job at that and get it in the areas that we were sayin’ – we got it down in their zone. I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time in the second and third period.”
Both goaltenders, the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec and the Hurricanes’ Anton Khudobin, faced ample shots, 29 and 27 respectively, as the teams in front of them battled for loose pucks all night while trying to put some semblance of smooth-flowing offense together.
That rarely happened including on the three power play opportunities that Carolina was afforded.
The Hurricanes couldn’t manage to put a shot on goal during any of those sequences, including a 5-on-3 opportunity they had for 51 seconds in the second period.
The best opportunity that the Hurricanes had to score on the power play occurred when defenseman John-Michael Liles rung one of the iron with the two-man advantage, but the Jets weathered that storm successfully.
“There were opportunities to put one by him (Pavelec), we weren’t able to,” captain Eric Staal said.
“We stayed with it, we stayed aggressive and continued to shoot pucks and get to the net. You want to finish on the opportunities you get and tonight we just weren’t able to.”
With the loss, their first out of two played during a four-game game home stand leading up to the Olympic break, the Hurricanes will look to refocus and ensure that they don’t experience similar lapses later in the week when they host the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens.
“I think the key is to regroup and refresh tomorrow and get two good practices and finish strong,” Staal said.
“Two more home games, two more opportunities to pick up some real crucial points.”