In a game that the Carolina Hurricanes should have come out on top of, they manage to only take the one point from this one as this worrying turn in the team’s direction has come on since the all-star break. This isn’t to say that they’ve been playing poorly, they’ve not lost a game by more than one goal in a game since they got hammered in New Jersey 7-4. They’ve been edged out of games.
What’s worrying is that they’ve had chances to turn the results around. They could have won this game if they’d have held out for all of 48 more seconds. That’s how long was left in the game when the Panthers tied it up. From that point, you knew the Cats were destined to win this one. It never seemed in doubt from the moment they beat the Canes netminder for the second time.
Carolina took the lead early after they squandered a golden 5-on-3 chance that lasted the full two minutes. Florida tied it up in the second with a goal that you’re going to see on every highlight reel for a month. A deflected point shot put the Canes up by one early in the third, and a scramble in front saw the Panthers get back onto level terms with 48.3 seconds left. If the Canes had just kept it out, they’d have won.
It’s annoying to think about, but we have high expectations for this team because they set high expectations for themselves. Florida has now won all three games against the Canes, edging two really tight affairs in Raleigh and blowing the Canes away in Sunrise. It’s really concerning for the team. This could be an Eastern Conference Finals preview, and the Panthers clearly have the edge over the Canes.
Florida has now won the last five meetings between the two organizations in a row. They’ve all been close games and tightly fought, and the Canes have been just suffocated in all of them. They were held to less than 20 shots in this game, While that isn’t always the best metric, it shows just how badly the Canes offense was compacted. They couldn’t generate anything.
Now, the Hurricanes have to go and prepare for their next game which they really need a win from to revitalize the team ahead of the run to the NHL trade deadline. They need the team to show what it’s capable of if the front office is going to bring in pieces to reinforce the core and the team that is already in place. They need to show more than they did in this game, which they still could have won.