Akin to the Rolling Stones’ number-one classic, (Nobody Got Any) Satisfaction from the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 shutout loss to the Nashville Predators Friday night at PNC Arena.
In front of a sellout crowd, the Canes couldn’t even muster up a single tally against a goaltender who had been basically giving away goals like they were a special Black Friday deal heading into the game as he was on a four-game losing streak and had a save percentage of 0.798 in his last five starts.
However, tonight Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne decided to play like the Vezina winner he has been known for and stoned all 31 shots he faced.
“We wanted to stay with our game,” said captain Jordan Staal. “I thought we did a good job with that in the first and the second. The third kind of slowed down a bit, but they did a good job clogging it up in the neutral zone. They made it hard to make plays.”
Carolina applied the pressure heavy and early, dominating the start of the game, but yet again a hot goaltender killed all of the team’s momentum.
And like clockwork, the Canes found themselves in a hole despite generating chances as a high-flip clear by Nashville turned into a breakaway for Rocco Grimaldi who went five-hole in close to beat Petr Mrazek.
And it wasn’t just the offense that was unlucky, as a broken play resulting from Haydn Fleury breaking his stick and Lucas Wallmark losing his along the boards ended in the Predators scoring on a one-timer blast from Calle Jarnkrok to take a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The Hurricanes’ last loss to the New York Rangers was the result of a slow start, but now the Canes came out fast and generated chances but yet had found themselves in the same exact spot.
“It was tough because I thought the start was perfect,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “The first eight minutes we had two or three great looks and we didn’t give them anything but then they high flip one out of their zone and its a breakaway in our net. It kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit and then they got that other one where one of our guys breaks his stick and then another mess up and it's in the back of our net. It was a tough period because I thought it was pretty well played overall.”
The second period didn’t see much improvement as another unlucky play really pushed it out of reach for Canes.
After an extended shift by the Hurricanes in their offensive zone at the onset of the second period, Nashville managed to break it up and came down the ice and set up in its offensive zone. Jordan Martinook then lost his footing and thereby man as Mattias Ekholm took a shot that was deflected by Austin Watson and in.
“The first period we played pretty good, but we came out down two,” Martinook said. “The second period was good outside of two seconds by me on that fall, but other than that I thought we were pressing and we had more chances in the second, but that team, the style they play, they lock down the neutral zone.”
The game kept the same pace practically throughout the rest, with the only beacon being the Hurricanes’ penalty kill which was a perfect four for four on the night. The fans started to leave early, which Staal said was rightfully so as the team had begun to stop playing as well.
With the Hurricanes suffering another loss in a game in which they generated ample offensive opportunities, it seems to be a lack of finish that is hindering the team. With the absence of Eric Haula, who Brind’Amour confirmed is not close to returning, the team is going to have to find a way to get the lights on
“It’s certainly frustrating for the guys,” Brind’Amour said. “You can feel it. We have a game plan we are trying to stick to and you know they don’t give up much and they are a stingy team. We did have the looks we just didn’t put it in.”
“One line is getting a lot of opportunities,” Brind’Amour said. “They are dynamic when they are out there for sure, but we need other guys to find the scoresheet. You aren’t going to win if you don’t score and one line isn’t going to win it for you.”
Carolina will play tomorrow Nov. 30 on the second end of a back-to-back as it takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Florida.