The Carolina Hurricanes dropped their first game of a six-game road trip out west, losing 2-1 in overtime to the San Jose Sharks on Monday, Nov. 22.
Despite the loss, the extended stay away from Raleigh is an opportunity to build chemistry on a newcomer-heavy roster.
“We've been playing every other day so it goes pretty fast,” said goaltender Antti Raanta. “...We have a lot of new guys in the team so I think this trip has been really good for team-building and getting to know the guys a little bit better.”
The Canes (14-2-1) were missing a key cog in their defense as defenseman Ethan Bear tested positive for COVID-19. Defenseman Brendan Smith filled in his spot on the defensive lines, but the Sharks (9-8-1) just squeezed past Carolina to secure the win in OT.
“You look around the league, it's very rare for one guy to get it,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “This is an unfortunate thing that everybody's dealing with and we'll take it as it comes.”
Despite the loss, a few Hurricanes notched personal milestones in San Jose. Center Jordan Staal played his 600th game in a Canes sweater, and center Seth Jarvis officially entered the first year of his entry-level contract by playing in his 10th game this year.
The Hurricanes struggled to get quality chances largely due to the Shark’s persistence in blocking shots. San Jose blocked 23 Carolina shots compared to 12 vice versa, refusing to give the Canes easy looks at the net.
The one exception was a rocket off the stick of defenseman Tony DeAngelo that opened the scoring. After a scoreless first period that featured only 15 combined shots, DeAngelo ripped a shot past San Jose goaltender and former Carolina Hurricane James Reimer to put his squad up 1-0.
If at first you don't succeed... pic.twitter.com/SEfWgXxZKn— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 23, 2021
Raanta did his best to hold that lead but an onslaught of scoring opportunities for the Sharks proved just a little too much to overcome. Kevin LaBanc equalized early in the third period before Alexander Barabanov put the game to bed after 102 seconds of overtime.
“Both goalies played really well and kept their teams in the game,” Brind’Amour said. “Could we have been better? Yeah. But it was a much better game than the one before, for sure.”
Carolina will conclude this venture out west with a meeting against the Seattle Kraken before heading to Philadelphia to round out the road trip. Puck drop in Seattle is scheduled for 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24.