It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Raleigh on Wednesday as the Carolina Hurricanes returned from the Florida trip to face the Philadelphia Flyers for the second time this season. The Canes were victorious in their first meeting in Philadelphia, winning 3-2 on a late goal by Teuvo Teravainen.
On a night when we honor and celebrate those fighting the toughest fight imaginable, the team on the ice didn’t rise to the occasion.
The Hurricanes rolled the same lineup from Saturday’s shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This meant Pyotr Kochetkov would get his second straight start after stopping 22 shots against the Bolts. Opposite him was Carter Hart, making his first start in five games after dealing with an injury and food poisoning.
The game didn’t start the way the Canes wanted it to. Philadelphia buried its first shot as Owen Tippett rifled a quick shot under the arm of Pyotr Kochetkov just 1:50 into the contest. Despite the moving screen in front of the goalie, Kochetkov would likely want this one back.
Meanwhile, Carter Hart was stopping everything in his general vicinity. He made a pad save on Jordan Martinook on a shot that he never saw. Then, he denied Jesperi Kotkaniemi on a breakaway chance. Finally, he made an unbelievable save on a tip chance by Jack Drury, spinning to make sure the puck stayed under his pads.
The Flyers ran roughshod on the Hurricanes in the final five minutes of the period, similar to how it went in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. A defensive breakdown by the Canes allowed Travis Konecny to find a soft spot at the top of the crease. He redirected a low pass from Nick Seeler to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the final minute of the period.
If not for a two-pad stack save by Pyotr Kochetkov in the dying seconds, things could’ve been a lot worse going into the intermission.
If you were hoping things would get better in the second period, you’d be sadly mistaken.
A terrible turnover in the defensive zone and a good pass from the point by Sean Walker allowed Ryan Poehling to elevate the puck past Pyotr Kochetkov just 29 seconds into the period. The Hurricanes would get the first power play of the game after Egor Zamula lifted the puck over the glass. They should’ve gotten a 5-on-3 about 30 seconds later for the same infraction, but the referee staring at it declared the puck was tipped out of play. Upon further review, it was the wrong call. Regardless, the Flyers killed it without much trouble.
The Canes finally broke through Carter Hart with an excellent transition play to spread the defense. Dmitry Orlov began the play, flipping the puck to Stefan Noesen off the boards. Noesen bumped the puck to Jack Drury, who found Tony DeAngelo jumping into the play. DeAngelo waited for a lane to open up, sending it to Noesen, who ripped a one-timer past Hart to get the Canes on the board. They nearly scored shortly after as Martin Necas stripped the puck, but he drew a penalty that the Flyers would ultimately kill.
The best chance of the third period for the Canes came early. Tony DeAngelo’s stretch pass from behind his own net found Michael Bunting on the opposite blueline, springing him on a breakaway. Bunting’s backhander grazed Carter Hart before hitting the crossbar flush and sliding into the corner. The Hurricanes outshot the Flyers heavily in the third, but they couldn’t sustain anything substantial, falling 3-1 for the first home loss of the season.
For all the good games the Canes have played in the last few weeks, this was a rare, lousy effort on home ice. They didn’t start on time, finding themselves in a big hole they couldn’t dig out of. The team was sloppy with the puck in all three zones. The power play generated next to nothing on all three attempts, spending long stretches in their defensive zone in board battles with the Flyers. Philadelphia was stepping in front of every shot, blocking 30 in the game. As was the case in Florida, the Flyers’ stars outperformed the Canes’ stars, and it showed on the scoreboard.
While the effort might’ve been lacking, there are some positives to take away from this game. The fourth line was dynamite when they were on the ice. They provided the only goal of the game and nearly found another few throughout. Brent Burns had an excellent game defensively, negating several odd-man opportunities for the Flyers. Despite taking another bad penalty in the third period, Andrei Svechnikov was throwing a lot at the net, making me think he’s destined to find the back of the net soon. This was the most disciplined the team has looked all season, with Svechnikov’s penalty the only one the Canes took all night.
Though the first game of the homestand didn’t go according to plan, there is still plenty of hockey to be played at PNC Arena. The team will be back in action on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a tough division battle against one of the hottest teams in the league.
The rest of the homestand will include games against Edmonton, Tampa Bay, and Columbus before the Canes and Flyers lock horns for the third time in Philadelphia.