Reactivated from injured reserve after missing five games since Oct. 11, even the return of captain Eric Staal couldn’t provide the entire spark needed to score more than once against Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller who earned his 300th career win while making 29 saves.
Jiri Tlusty kept his lead atop the Hurricanes scoring list and posted his fifth goal of the season by tucking away a loose puck at 11:05 in the third period.
Staal and Jeff Skinner earned assists on the play.
While outshooting Vancouver 30-25, Carolina’s defensive play was not effective in denying its opponent the opportunity to take an early lead and put them behind and chasing throughout the game.
It’s a trend that has continued to plague this team since the beginning of the season.
“We were OK,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said of his team’s response to falling behind early.
“I think we were just OK. We weren’t good enough in any area and the result is a 4-1 loss.”
After Brad Richardson roofed the puck over Ward’s glove-side shoulder at 1:32 in the opening period, a power play goal from Linen Vey just 50 seconds into the second period put Carolina behind 2-0.
“It’s a tough start obviously,” Peters stated.
“Being on the high side, Richardson came from underneath the puck and we knew that was gonna’ happen. Obviously we were with him throughout the neutral zone, then we took a breath, let him go and next thing you know he’s all alone.”
Vancouver extended its lead to three goals with 1:21 remaining in the second.
Taking three penalties in the third didn’t work to Carolina’s favor in trying to stage any significant comeback as Tlusty’s goal was eventually matched with an empty-netter from Richardson who scored his second of the game and season.
“I don’t think we need to take undisciplined penalties when we’re trying to dig out of a hole, right?,” Peters responded when asked a question regarding Alexander Semin’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at four minutes into the final period.
“If you’re in a hole, quit diggin’.”
Finishing 0-for-3 on the power play, Carolina’s offense continued to inhibit itself from posing any threat or possibility to win its first game of the season.
“We’ve got work to do,” Peters concluded.
“We’re not happy with where we’re at obviously. Hopefully get a few guys back in the lineup and go from there. So we need to reset for sure and be honest about our commitment and our focus and our willingness to do what it takes to win.”
The Hurricanes return home to prepare to host a back-to-back set against the Arizona Coyotes and defending Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and Sunday respectively.