It began as five minutes of brilliant hockey for the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was then followed up by 55 minutes of errors, blunders and all-around poor play resulting in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night at PNC Arena.
“It’s tough, because it wasn’t like we gave up a ton,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We worked pretty hard at times, we just didn’t do it smart today and it cost us.”
Snapping its four-game winning streak while at the same time snapping Philly’s three-game losing streak, the Hurricanes once again were unable to muster the effort necessary to beat a team they were better than and it showed.
“Somehow we keep finding ways to lose to them,” said forward Teuvo Teravainen. “It’s never fun. We just gotta be better and find a way. We have our next game Saturday and we just need to focus on that game.”
Right away, it seemed as if it was going to be a long and arduous night for Flyers’ goaltender Brian Elliott who, after facing his first two shots against the Hurricanes, was staring up from a 2-0 hole.
First up to bat had been Sebastian Aho, who was fed all alone in the slot where his wrister encumbered Elliott, who could only slow it down as it trickled through him and across the goal line.
Carolina was then awarded a power play and on the entry Ryan Dzingel found Teravainen open on the right side, where Teravainen skated it down to the circle and rifled the puck past Elliott bar down.
However, that’s when the five minutes expired.
“We were sluggish for most of that game,” Brind’Amour said. “We got going in spurts, but we were not able to get any footing on it. It’s a frustrating game because you are going to give up some goals, but I felt like it was way too easy.”
After a penalty on each side was called in rapid succession, the Flyers found success in the 4v4 situation, as captain Claude Giroux managed to get separation from Jake Gardiner for the goal.
The Flyers were awarded another power play soon after and it didn’t take long for Ivan Provorov to blast a shot from the point past Mrazek.
After the Hurricanes exploded out in the first and seemed to be primed for another big offensive night, they now were pushed back on their heels and couldn’t find their game.
Things kept getting worse as the game transitioned into the second period as the Canes power play suffered a massive blow. Off a faceoff in their own zone that was due to an icing by goaltender Petr Mrazek on their own power play, the Canes proceeded to lose the draw which was pulled straight back to Flyers’ rookie Morgan Frost who rocketed a one-timer into the back of the net.
The Canes were doing fine in even-strength hockey up to this point but had now surrendered a goal in 4v4, 4v5 and 5v4 situations, a bad look for its normally solid special teams.
“We had our chances, but we gave away a couple of goals tonight,” said forward Lucas Wallmark. “In this league, you can’t do that.”
A little bit of line juggling magic led to some hope in the third period as Wallmark, now reunited with Brock McGinn and Jordan Martinook, banged home the rebound off Elliott into the yawning cage.
Inevitably, though, that hope was crushed. Just a real comedy of errors led to the Hurricanes falling behind again.
Joel Edmundson and Teravainen crashed into one another, effectively taking each other out of the play behind the Carolina net, Brett Pesce was turned and unable to play the pass going across the crease on the developing three-on-one that the Flyers found and then Giroux slammed it in to re-establish the lead.
The Flyers snagged an empty-net goal in the closing seconds to seal the game 5-3.
The Hurricanes have only managed to bounce back from only a single loss once this season, but they will have a chance to rectify the effort from the night as it takes on the Florida Panthers Saturday, Nov. 23.