A series of awful defensive mistakes led the Carolina Hurricanes to their third loss of the season to the Tampa Bay Lightning; this time by a 5-3 score.
The horrid first period started with Mark Barberio getting his first goal on the power-play when Patrick Dwyer went to get a new stick from the bench. The defenseman noticed Dwyer leaving, pinched into the slot and slam-dunked a pass from Alex Killorn to get the first goal of the game.
Ondrej Palat got his 10th of the season less than a minute and a half later on a 2-on-1 with Martin St. Louis. Andrej Sekera stepped up on the play against Tyler Johnson, who found St. Louis across the ice with a pass. The winger and Palat went on a 2-on-1 and St. Louis fed Palat with a beautiful pass to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
That was the end of Peter’s night as Anton Khudobin replaced him in net.
At the start of the second, Teddy Purcell continued the Lightning’s roll scoring 24 seconds into the period. After some offensive zone pressure, Tampa Bay got the puck in front of the net, while Khudobin was out of position to allow Purcell to score on a wide-open net.
Alexander Semin got the Hurricanes on the board about a minute later on the power-play. The Russian winger picked the puck up in his own zone, flew down the ice, then beat Bishop far side with a wrist shot.
Eric Staal pushed the Canes further when he pick-pocketed Jean-Philippe Cote in the neutral zone then went on a 2-on-1 with Jeff Skinner. Staal shot low between Bishop’s pads to move the Hurricanes within two.
But the momentum would not last as Barberio scored from the point after a ton of pressure and forechecking from the Lightning less than three minutes later.
The team defense, not the actual d-corp, lost the game in this one for the Hurricanes. Three bad mistakes in the first period, followed by bad coverage on the fourth goal was too much for the Canes to overcome in this one.
Despite being pulled in the first period, Justin Peters can’t be at fault for any of the goals. The defense in front of him made three horrible mistakes to give the Lightning great opportunities. Yes, it would be nice to see Peters make one of those saves, but when a team makes mistakes like that, that’s what’s going to happen.
At the beginning of the first period, it looked like the Hurricanes would be able to outplay the Lightning, who looked tired after traveling yesterday, but after they scored everything went downhill for the Canes.
However, had Ben Bishop not been on his game, the Hurricanes may have had a chance in this one. To put it simply, he was phenomenal, always being in position and making tough saves look routine.
It’s tough to take something good away from a game like this, but the offense did look good in most parts of the game and the first line played their best game together this season, I believe.
Essentially this game comes down to what we’ve seen a lot from the Hurricanes this season: the unanswerable hot goalie that holds the team to a low amount of goals. But this time it was mixed in with some defensive mistakes that usually don’t take place.
Another thing to point out is the absence of Tuomo Ruutu on the ice. Yesterday, he played 10 minutes, today only 6:48 including one shift in the third stanza. It seems he’s lost the confidence of Kirk Muller as rumors continue to swirl around the Finnish forward.
The Hurricanes will travel to play the Philadelphia Flyers next on Tuesday.