All good things must come to an end.
Carolina Hurricanes fans learned this hard fact of life on Saturday, Nov. 6 when the Canes suffered their first loss of the season, a 5-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers.
“We’ve got to be prepared,” said center Vincent Trocheck. “It’s the National Hockey League; it's what we do for a living. We’ve got to be ready to play as soon as the puck drops and we were not.”
The Hurricanes (9-1-0) simply weren’t up to the challenge, as the Panthers (10-0-1) scored four goals on goalkeeper Frederik Andersen in the first period. The NHL’s Third Star of the Month for October wasn’t entirely to blame for the loss, however, as three of Florida’s goals came while the Canes were short-handed and the last was scored on an empty Hurricanes net.
On the offensive end, Carolina simply could not find the net. Even with a great showing from Florida netminder Spencer Knight, the Canes failed to capitalize on the opportunities they managed to create. After going down 4-0 in the first period, a pair of second-period goals by right wing Jesper Fast and Trocheck were not enough to spark a comeback.
Carolina’s special teams were not up to the task either. The Canes entered the game with statistically elite penalty kill and power play units, but those numbers will take quite a dip after this abysmal showing on special teams.
“It’s us digging ourselves a hole in the first period,” said defender Jaccob Slavin. “Guys battled hard after that, but we can’t dig ourselves in that kind of hole.”
To make matters worse for the Hurricanes, goalkeeper Antti Raanta’s stint in net was cut short due to injury. Raanta took over Carolina’s net after Andersen allowed four Panther goals in the first period, but a second-period collision between Raanta and Ryan Lomberg saw the goalie exit the game. Lomberg was given a five-minute major for the collision.
Lomberg and Raanta collision. Raanta leaves the game, Lomberg initially assessed a major penalty, but they are reviewing it further. pic.twitter.com/iIfZHfk6AV— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) November 6, 2021
“I'm sure he's concussed,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “You get hit in the head, that's generally what goes on. I'm not sure yet, but I would assume that's what's going on.”
Brind’Amour said he did not know whether Raanta had yet entered the NHL’s concussion protocol.
Andersen took over the net once again after Raanta’s injury and held down the fort for the rest of the game. The effort did not translate to the Canes offense however, and Florida was able to seal the deal on an empty-net goal with 59 seconds to go.
One bright spot from the game for Carolina was the play of 19-year-old center Seth Jarvis. The youngster scored his first NHL goal in the Canes’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks and continued his emergence in this game. He didn’t make any highlight-reel plays, but still showcased his potential while on the ice.
“He’s competitive, he makes plays, he’s been solid,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s been really solid for three games in. He’s looked good pretty much every shift; he’s done what we’ve asked him to do. That’s why he got more and more ice time tonight.”
The Hurricanes will remain in the Sunshine State as they prepare for their next game, a road matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The showdown against the reigning Stanley Cup champions is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.