I rewrote the title of this article at least three times during the third period. My first draft painted it as if the Carolina Hurricanes had been throttled. Then, there was a twinge of optimism with the Canes pulling within a goal. Ultimately, the comeback came up short, evening out the road trip with the toughest test yet to come.
The Carolina Hurricanes were without Sebastian Aho for the second game in a row and recently recalled Pyotr Kochetkov was backing up Antti Raanta while Frederik Andersen continues to recover from the shot he took to the mask against San Jose. Besides the change between the pipes, the Hurricanes stuck with the same lineup from Tuesday’s win.
As has been a recent trend, the Hurricanes didn’t start the game with the lead. Yanni Gourde redirected a shot in front of Antti Raanta to get the Kraken out to an early lead. However, it was short-lived as Jesper Fast got enough of Jaccob Slavin’s pass on a set face-off play 19 seconds later to tie it. By providing the secondary assist on the goal, Jordan Staal recorded his 400th point as a Hurricane.
Seattle would re-establish a lead on the power play, scoring six seconds into the man advantage as Jaden Schwartz opened the pads of Antti Raanta to slide the puck home. In the final minute of the period, with the Canes on the power play, a bad pass allowed the Kraken to get a 2-on-1. The initial shot from Vince Dunn was stopped, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put the rebound into the net to make it 3-1. Seattle goalie Joey Daccord made a great save in the final seconds to rob Martin Necas as the Kraken took a two-goal lead into the intermission.
The Kraken wasted little time extending their lead in the second period. Vince Dunn clapped a shot past Antti Raanta to end his night 2:38 into the middle frame. Pyotr Kochetkov took over between the pipes to make his season debut and immediately looked great. He made some key stops to keep the score at 4-1. Meanwhile, the offense was unable to solve Joey Daccord. Every shot seemed to hit him in the crest and was held for a whistle. By the end of the period, the game was showing shades of Anaheim, as the Canes needed to find a way to overcome another three-goal deficit.
A fast start to the third period allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to get back into the game. First, Stefan Noesen made an incredible pass through a few Kraken sticks to find Seth Jarvis, who buried his third goal of the season just 68 seconds into the period. A few minutes later, Noesen was back at it, setting up Jesperi Kotkaniemi with some great misdirection to get Joey Daccord looking the wrong way. Less than six minutes into the period, the Hurricanes were down a goal and back in the game.
That’s about when the good times ended. For as good as Pyotr Kochetkov was in relief, the Kraken finally solved him twice in 21 seconds to regain their three-goal advantage. It started with Oliver Bjorkstrand making a good play behind the net to set up Jared McCann. Then, Matty Beniers scored his first point of the season, setting up Tye Kartye as Seattle stormed to a 6-3 lead.
Things got interesting late in the game. It began with Brendan Lemieux getting called for roughing after running into Jared McCann, who had fallen before Lemieux made contact. Despite his history, I’m giving Lemieux the benefit of not seeing McCann as he turned up the ice. Regardless, he was penalized for roughing. Then Tye Kartye stepped up to defend his teammate. Kartye was promptly dispatched, but I have to give the rookie credit. Seth Jarvis scored his second of the period on the subsequent power play the Canes received for Kartye instigating the incident, but Oliver Bjorkstrand put one into the empty net to complete Seattle’s 7-4 win, getting them in the win column for the first time this season.
I’m still waiting for the “best defense in the league” to show up. The Carolina Hurricanes have allowed 21 goals through five games, a far cry from the dominance we’ve seen from them in recent seasons. I can’t place too much blame on Antti Raanta for his start. He was left out to dry for most of his time in the net, and Pyotr Kochetkov was beaten on two great plays. It’s criminal that Kochetkov is charged with the loss in this game. Dmitry Orlov continues to struggle in this new system. He was -3 tonight, dropping him to a league-worst -10 for the season. The penalty kill also struggled. Tonight in the defensive zone was the epitome of Murphy’s Law. Everything that could go wrong did.
The bright spot continues to be the Canes’ ability to put pucks in the net. It’s almost like the start of the season has been a complete paradox. Usually, we can’t get this team to score enough. Now, they’re lighting the lamp at will. Seth Jarvis had another two-goal night, finishing with three points in the third period. Jordan Staal, Stefan Noesen, and Jaccob Slavin all finished with two assists. Once we figure out the problems on defense, the Carolina Hurricanes will evolve into the juggernaut we expect them to be.
With a split through four games, the Hurricanes will make their final stop out west when they travel to Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche. This will easily be the toughest test of the trip. Elevation jokes aside, the Avalanche have been to the top of the mountain, somewhere the Hurricanes are trying to get to, and they’ve started the season on fire. Two points here would salvage an uneven road trip before the team returns to the East Coast.