RALEIGH, N.C. – The noise and energy brought back thoughts of last postseason for the Carolina Hurricanes.
A match-up with the Washington Capitals at PNC Arena did that on Sunday afternoon, but the result fell short of carrying the noise into the parking lot.
The Hurricanes lost their final preseason game by a 4-3 margin as two goals from Sebastian Aho wasn’t enough to earn the win.
Even though didn’t show it, the loss came during an increasingly paced game that was a good precursor to regular season play that will begin on Thursday.
“That’s a good way to end it (preseason) as far as how the guys understand how you have to play every night,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“You’re not always going to get the result, but if you play like that and come out with that intensity to your game we’re gonna be fine.
The tale of the tape
Starting goalie Petr Mrazek finished with 19 saves while Caps netminder Braden Holtby held strong in the Washington net, making 28 saves on the day.
While Aho scored twice, early in the first and during a comeback bid during the third, only Nino Niederreiter beat Holtby as the Hurricanes pulled to within one early in the final period.
T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana both netted a pair for Washington, including one on the power play apiece.
With Jordan Staal being named captain along with Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Martinook as alternates before the game, the capacity crowd in attendance was ready to kick into gear.
Seeing Aho and Niederreiter finding the net just added to the excitement throughout.
Though trying to come back from two separate two-goal deficits, Brind’Amour looked forward to having the two produce when the regular season begins against the Montreal Canadiens.
“That’s what we banked on,” the coach said when asked of Aho’s scoring his only goals of the preseason.
Intensity got higher
Both teams accumulated 42 minutes in penalties, the result of multiple skirmishes between the various 10 who were on the ice at those times throughout the game.
Defenseman Roland McKeown stepped out of his shell and took on Garnet Hathaway, and both were assessed fighting majors.
“That’s not his game,” Brind’Amour pointed out.
The effort was appreciated and noted though for a guy trying to make the cut.
Not entirely a clean performance, the final cuts to assemble the Hurricanes’ final roster will be made with consideration of some injuries.
“Well, we do not have much choice,“ Brind’Amour said.
“We have tough decisions coming up.”
With that said, he was glad those looking on got a pretty good contest to watch.
“It was good for the fans, it was an entertaining preseason game,”
“The result’s not great, but overall, start to finish, there weren’t any lulls there. A couple of mistakes cost us the game, but overall the compete was there. Overall, that was the best game we’ve played (in the preseason).”
Notables: Carolina finished 1-5 on the power play, finishing the preseason with an overall 2-25 (8%) conversion rate…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 2-6, and 17-21 (81%) overall…Caps head coach Todd Rierden on the intensity of the game: “There was a lot of emotion from both teams. The energy in the building was very live.”
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