RALEIGH, N.C. – There was no reason for the Carolina Hurricanes to initiate the Storm Surge following a 4-3 loss to the visiting Calgary Flames on Sunday.
However, it did take place, but from a surprising source in Flames forward and former Hurricanes first pick Elias Lindholm.
He and other former Carolina roster members Derek Ryan and Noah Hanifin all contributed offensively as Calgary, coached by former Hurricanes bench boss Bill Peters, snuck out of PNC Arena fending off one final comeback attempt from the Hurricanes.
While coming close, it wasn’t enough.
Carolina got behind, a position that Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t want his team to fall into.
He pinpointed the problem specifically.
“Our start, I like it, it was good,” he said.
“It would have been nice to get a couple of breaks earlier, but I think the difference in the game is clear to me – the power play giving up a shorthanded goal. That’s not acceptable.”
Sebastian Aho (1g, 1a), Dougie Hamilton (1g, 1a), Teuvo Tervainen (1g, 1a), and Micheal Ferland (2a) helped lead the Hurricanes offensively.
However, even with the former Flames Hamilton and Ferland contributing, the finish fell short of supporting a spirited 28-save effort from starting netminder Petr Mrazek who was tagged with the loss.
“He’s been good,” Brind’Amour said.
“You can’t blame him for any of the goals. We gave up too much tonight, and they gave up quite a bit too. It was one of those games where it was a little loose. Unfortunately, that’s not our style. We gave up way too many Grade-A chances.”
Brind’Amour rested the weight of the loss on the team’s power play, an 0-for-4 effort that once again showed Carolina’s inability to produce consistent special teams results throughout the season.
After Aho and Ferland set up Teravainen to undress Flames starter and winning keeper David Rittich, Calgary evened it up when a point shot grazed off Lindholm’s shin guard and past Mrazek to pull the teams even at 1-1 in the first period.
Ryan then made an exceptional drive from the opposite left corner behind Mrazek’s net and wrapped the puck inside the near post and put the Flames ahead 2-1 at the 7:39 mark of the second.
Five minutes later, the turnover on the power play that Brind’Amour alluded to occurred as Ryan set up Garnet Hathaway for his seventh goal of the season, a short-handed finish.
Trailing by two, Hamilton was the recipient of a Lucas Wallmark pass following a productive forecheck by Ferland.
He then sniped a shot past Rittich and made it a one-goal game again with 1:33 remaining in the period.
Carolina pushed, but the Flames pushed back during the final 20 minutes.
While being outshot 13-9 in the third, Hanifin’s fifth goal of the season from the point provided a two-goal cushion for Calgary to rest on with just under seven minutes remaining.
Two Hurricanes power plays went scoreless before Hamilton and Ferland assisted on Aho’s 24th goal, and cut the Hurricanes’ deficit back down to one.
With only 55 seconds remaining and Mrazek out of the net, the tying goal never came – another extra-man opportunity that Carolina couldn’t convert on.
“We just need to do a little bit better on the power play, captain Justin Williams stated.
“There probably would have been a different outcome tonight.”
So, while Williams, the architect of the Storm Surge, and the Hurricanes were denied their celebration, Lindholm, afterwards citing the fans booing his team off the ice as his reason, left doing his version of it.
Was it right for him to do so?
Well, considering the continued discussion surrounding the postgame ritual, add his gesture as another anecdote in the legacy of this team – one that continues to evolve from what it has been while trying to become something different.
However, the results aren’t always the desired ones – some still eerily similar – just with different players and a new routine that is applauded, criticized, and mimicked.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport