The Carolina Hurricanes played another strong game Thursday night, but could not overcome Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals as they fell 3-1.
Holtby was the decision-maker in the win making 43 saves after allowing a Jeff Skinner goal early in the first period.
The goal was Skinner’s first in 11 games and 11th this season. The Hurricanes desperately needed the third-year pro to start scoring again and the goal even came on the power-play, one of the Hurricane’s weaknesses lately.
The Canes threw everything they could on net in the first period leading to plenty of scoring chances including one that squeaked by Holtby, but was saved by the stick of John Carlson before it crossed the blue paint. The play seemed to forecast the rest of the game for the Hurricanes, who had more chances than their Southeast-rival, but could not put anything else past Holtby.
Holtby was not the only goalie to have a strong game however, as Justin Peters built on his last performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins by making 28 saves. Of the two goals Peters allowed one was a threaded shot from Mike Green that would have been difficult for any goalie to stop and the other on a Capitals’ power-play.
Besides Peters, Riley Nash had a strong game for Carolina playing well in his own end, creating chances and even playing some time on the first line with Eric Staal and Alex Semin. Nash played 13 minutes of the game and recorded three shots.
The second period was one of concern for the Hurricanes, who allowed two goals, one coming on a defensive lapse on the penalty kill when Troy Brouwer cycled the puck to Mike Rebeiro on the end boards. Tim Gleason and Staal did not pick up Brouwer leaving the right-winger open to blast a shot from Peters.
Carolina gave up the second goal from Green just over two minutes later. Brouwer added an empty-netter with six seconds left to seal the win.
The Hurricane’s game was not one to frown on. They had chances, played well defensively and got strong goaltending. If the team continues to play this way, their losing streak will finally end, maybe as soon as this Saturday when they play the Boston Bruins.