Forty-nine shots were not enough to carry the Carolina Hurricanes to victory, as they fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in PNC Arena on Thursday, Dec. 2.
The Canes (15-6-1) were tied with the New York Rangers for the top points percentage in the Metropolitan division heading into the game, while Ottawa (5-15-1) sat at the bottom of the league in that category. Despite this statistical difference, the Canes simply failed to take care of business against the Senators.
A pair of goals by Alex Formenton separated by 33:38 put Ottawa up 2-0 midway through the third period, but the Hurricanes dug in to at least make things interesting down the stretch. Left wing Teuvo Teravainen netted his 100th career NHL goal to put Carolina on the board with just under nine minutes to go. Right wing Andrei Svechnikov followed up by tying the game at 2-2 a couple of minutes later.
The Canes’ momentum was short-lived however, as Josh Norris took just 19 seconds to regain the lead for the Senators. His shot got lost in a pile of Hurricanes jerseys before slipping into the back of the net to finalize the scoreline.
Despite the result, the Canes can take away a positive or two from the game. Teravainen’s goal came on the power play, breaking a 21-shift scoring drought for Carolina’s PP unit. The Hurricanes look significantly sharper when a man up against Ottawa, shooting the puck frequently instead of exhibiting the “deer in the headlights” that hampered the power play during that drought.
“We got to help each other, play as a group of five and work more than the [penalty] killers,” Teravainen said. “We got to shoot the puck, find the rebounds and make sure we battle harder than them.”
Make no mistake though, it's been tough sledding for Carolina as of late with several of their recent games just not going their way. Whether it be giving up a late goal to lose in Seattle or coming up short twice against the Capitals, the Hurricanes are struggling to find ways to win. However, the Canes seem to be keeping their chins up through this poor run of form, remaining faithful that the results will come with good, quality hockey.
“We all know we’re one of the best teams in the league,” Svechnikov said. “We all know what to do here. We doubled our shots against those guys and it’s just not coming for us. In the beginning of the year, we won so many games...it's going to come, we just got to wait.”
Carolina did not help its cause with the way it handled the puck either. The Canes gave up the puck 20 times in the game, with several giveaways occurring in the trapezoid behind goaltender Antti Raanta and in their own zone. Given the nature of the game-winning goal and the fact that Ottawa went up 2-0 thanks to center Martin Necas’ skate nudging Formenton’s shot into the net, Carolina’s inability to hold onto the puck played a significant role in the loss.
Regardless, it’s back to the grind for Carolina. The Canes have played a game every other day since Nov. 16 and they have one final hurdle in that vein in the form of the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 4. The Sabres are 2-7-1 in their last 10, so the Hurricanes have an opportunity to sort themselves out before hitting the road again for a matchup with the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 7. Puck drop against Buffalo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.