RALEIGH, N.C. – It was a game of momentum that the Carolina Hurricanes never quite got a hold of.
Fueled by the energy of another sold out crowd at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes tried to pull off a third period comeback but couldn’t finish the job in a 4-3 loss to the league-leading Washington Capitals.
The loss ended a recent two-game win combo at home and gave the Capitals their first win against Carolina this season.
Captain Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Dzingel all tallied goals in the third period that breathed life into a final-period comeback push.
“First period I thought was pretty good,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“We deserved better out of our first, and then the second was not good. The power play sucked the life out of us, and then their power play got them goin’. Then, third period we came out really good.”
Pucks to the net
While outshooting the Caps by a 41-29 margin, Carolina could not beat starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov during the first 40 minutes of play.
Goaltender Petr Mrazek defended throughout the game against numerous Grade-A chances the Caps were offered up.
A lackluster second period didn’t help the situation defensively and the Capitals took a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes on goals from Richard Panik and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
“The second period put us in a hole,” Staal said.
“We didn’t play our game in the second. They do a good job when you’re not on and they make you pay.”
However, while Mrazek held strong, the Canes’ offensive push during the final period provided hope.
“It’s a prideful room,” Staal continued.
“We don’t like goin’ away. We’re gonna fight until the horn goes. I thought we did a good job of pushin’ and fightin’ our way back into that game.”
Special teams struggle
With Tervainen’s eighth goal of the season, and Dzingel’s eighth coming on the power play, it appeared all was well with the man-advantage.
Both goals came during a frenzied third period that had Washington leading 4-1 before Carolina cut it down to one goal with 7:25 remaining.
However, four previous power play opportunities – two apiece in the first and second periods – didn’t produce any results and was a contributing factor to the Hurricanes’ inability to pull even sooner.
As Dzingel pointed out that although they scored with the man-advantage late, there was work to do.
“It’s a game of momentum,” he said.
“There are a lot of swings in the NHL and you kinda have to ride those. We can’t get ourselves in that spot, what can I say. We were horrendous (on the power play) in the first two periods and we’ve gotta clean that up.”
Notables: Carolina finished 2-6 on the power play, 32-132 (24.2%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 2-4, 122-150 (81.3%) overall…Staal has posted nine points in his last 13 games after tallying seven points in his first 28 games this season…Carolina sits at 24-15-2 for 50 points. The Hurricanes have recorded their second-most wins and points through 41 games in franchise history, trailing only the 2005-06 season when they posted a 27-10-4 record for 58 points through the halfway point of the season.
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