RALEIGH, N.C. – It happened, so mark it down.
The Carolina Hurricanes lost their first game of the 2019-2020 season, a 3-2 shortfall at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets at PNC Arena on Saturday.
Goals from Eric Haula and Dougie Hamilton, along with a 32-save performance from James Reimer was not enough.
Narrowly outshot 35-32 by the Blue Jackets, the Hurricanes let one lapse make the difference as Pierre-Luc Dubois’ forced turnover early in the third period resulted in the eventual game-winning goal.
According to coach Rod Brind’Amour, that and other lapses were the result of not being ready for what an equally talented and hard-working team would present.
“They did exactly what we thought how they would come to play us,” he said.
“We weren’t mentally prepared for that type of game. We got what we deserved in my opinion.”
Looking in the mirror
While the Hurricanes faced formidable opposition during their recent five-game win streak, the Blue Jackets’ up-tempo, gritty style of play with the ability to transition quickly from back to front presented the most significant challenge to date.
The play of goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, making 30 saves and keeping Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter, among others, off the score sheet was a significant contribution to handing Carolina its initial loss.
“They were playin’ their game; they were playing our game essentially – giving us little room and frustrating us,” captain Jordan Staal said.
“Partly it was our own doing; we made it harder on ourselves than we needed to with our decisions with the puck. We made it easier for them and that was the result.”
Regroup and let it sting
Reimer pointed out that the second night of a back-to-back probably also presented a lack of sharpness.
“Sometimes you just don’t have it,” he said.
“Tonight, both teams worked hard. They had a few extra chances and squeaked out a win, so kudos them. They worked hard, they earned it. They were responsible with the puck and made smart decisions and we just couldn’t quite get inside on them. We worked hard, we battled, but we probably just didn’t have it. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way. You regroup, let it sting and get back after it Monday.”
Notables: Carolina finished 0-3 on the power play, 5-20 (25%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 3-3, 21-27 (77.8%) overall…Haula’s team-leading fifth goal of the season puts him tied for fourth in the NHL in goals…Hamilton’s goal extended his goal streak to the longest of his career. His previous career-long goal streak was three games…Jaccob Slavin earned an assist tonight and extended his point streak to five games.
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