RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes were shut out 2-0 by the San Jose Sharks who were led by rookie goalkeeper Troy Grosenick at PNC Arena on Sunday.
The loss extended Carolina’s losing streak to three games following a 2-1 loss at Boston on Saturday, and a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg at home on Thursday.
Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin made his home debut in front of the Caniac faithful with a 17-save effort, while Grosenick made 45 saves at the other end to earn a shutout in his first NHL start.
Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton scored for San Jose and helped earn the rookie his first win of the season after being tested early and often by Carolina’s shooters throughout the game.
“I felt really excited – home is home in your own building,” Khudobin said.
“The guys played really, really well. I know that the other goalie was on fire today, and it was his first NHL game. It probably pumped him (up) before the game a little more. He did a helluva job; we couldn’t get a score.”
Carolina outshot San Jose 16-5 in the opening period.
Victor Rask had an ideal chance eight minutes in to beat Grosenick, but the goaltender stoned the center on three different shot attempts up close.
With 1:14 remaining before the first intermission break, Tomas Hertl finally opened the game’s scoring with the eventual game-winning goal.
Sharks defenseman Barclay Goodrow started the play leading up to it by beating Ron Hainsey to the puck and the Carolina defenseman’s pinch opened a lane to Hertl in the neutral zone.
The winger then had a 2-on-1 with Thornton as the Hurricanes’ second defenseman, Andrej Sekera, split the two as they headed towards the Carolina net.
When his attempted pass to Thornton bounced back to him off Sekera, Hertl let a snap shot go that beat Khudobin and gave San Jose the 1-0 lead.
“Tonight’s winner might have been a freebie on a 2-on-1,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“What led to the 2-on-1, probably a decision made by us and then they scored. It ended up bein’ the game-winning goal.”
Grosenick continued to shine as he made more stops during the period and the game.
Another highlight-reel save came when he stopped Zach Boychuk’s finish on a give-and-go he put together with Jiri Tlusty in the Sharks end.
The goalkeeper got his pad on the winger’s redirect while sliding across his crease and maintained San Jose’s one-goal lead into the intermission break.
“There’s lots of hockey left, right?” Peters said.
“You need to score to win. You need a goal at some point to win a hockey game. So you got 40 minutes left to try and generate a goal, try and generate more than one goal and stay with it and continue on.”
Grosenick held on to his shutout bid late in the second period as he dove and stymied Jeff Skinner on a backhand attempt as linemates at the time, Rask and Chris Terry, hovered nearby.
“I thought we were generating a lot in their end,” captain Eric Staal said.
“We were cyclin’ them pretty well. We were on the attack, hangin’ on to pucks, makin’ right plays. Just tonight, for whatever reason, we weren’t able to get it by him.”
Heading into the final period with a 30-14 shot advantage, the Hurricanes weren’t short on energy or getting pucks on the net.
However, as valiantly as Carolina tried, the time eventually came to pull Khudobin from the net, and even with the extra attacker they could not beat Grosenick.
With eight seconds remaining, Thornton got hold of the puck and added the empty-net goal to finalize the Sharks’ 2-0 win.
With Carolina having scored only two goals in its past three games, Peters was asked if there was anything he would pull out from his past experience in similar situations to help his team put more pucks in the net.
“There’s no hidden secrets,” Peters concluded.
“I think we need more traffic and more bodies in towards the paint. We gotta’ play connected. We gotta’ be five, five, and five – stay together and stay with it. I thought we had some good scoring chances. We had some good looks. Probably not as many Grade A chances as you’d like out of a 40-plus shot evening, but we gotta’ make the ones we do have count.”
Notes: Carolina’s centers finished 34-24 in the faceoff circle – good for 59 percent… Of 45 total shots on goal, Nathan Gerbe (7), Staal (5), Skinner(5), and Sekera (5) contributed half of them…Carolina also recorded 22 attempted/blocked shots as well as 22 missed shots…The Hurricanes’ special teams units finished 0-for-2 on the power play and successfully killed off the lone penalty they took…San Jose outhit Carolina 35-26 while giving the puck away five times, half as much as the Hurricanes ten giveaways.