The Carolina Hurricanes rolled into Edmonton for the first half of a back-to-back on Wednesday night. Coming off a tough 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, the Canes were looking to get moving in the right direction. The Oilers were riding a four-game win streak, but a six-day layoff caused some questions as to whether they'd be slow out of the gates. We learned quickly that wouldn't be the case.
Pyotr Kochetkov, who had gone 3-0-1 in his last four starts, would get the call in the net for the Hurricanes after Antti Raanta took the loss on Monday. The team would roll the same lineup from the Winnipeg game. The Oilers called upon Stuart Skinner between the pipes, looking to redeem himself after a tough outing in Raleigh two weeks ago.
If you were late for the game, you missed a lot in the first minute. The Oilers started about as hot as a team can. Former Hurricane Warren Foegele made an excellent stick lift on Jaccob Slavin behind the Canes' net and set up Ryan McLeod for a goal 28 seconds into the contest. Fifteen seconds later, Connor McDavid walked down and found Mattias Ekholm to make it 2-0 just 41 seconds into the 60-minute game.
It didn't get any better from there. Zach Hyman would be responsible for two goals before the end of the period. His first would be the result of a hard-working play to get to the front of the net, where he'd bury the puck, ending Pyotr Kochetkov's night after just 5:46. Antti Raanta would relieve him, but Hyman made sure to get one past him, too. Raanta's clearing attempt found Evan Bouchard, and it eventually ended with Hyman burying a one-timer. The Canes would earn a chance to get some momentum back with a power play late in the period, but nothing was cooking as the Oilers led 4-0 after 20 minutes.
If you were hoping the Hurricanes would close the deficit in the second period, it didn't happen. In fact, the deficit widened, courtesy of Warren Foegele. After Mattias Janmark blocked Jesperi Kotkaniemi's shot from the point, Foegele turned Kotkaniemi inside out before finishing a breakaway to make it 5-0 early in the period. The silver lining to the period was that it would be the only goal scored. The Canes wouldn't make good on their second power play of the night, entering the third period looking to finish the game without getting hurt.
The Hurricanes aren't known to be quitters. They stuck in and tried to break through in the third period. Eventually, it would work. Jordan Staal buried a beautiful saucer pass from Jaccob Slavin to get the Canes on the board. The goal was quickly wiped out when Connor McDavid stripped Michael Bunting of the puck, dangled through Brent Burns, and set up Zach Hyman for his second hat trick of the season. The Canes would kill Edmonton's only power play of the game late, and that's about the only positive that came from this game as the Canes were put in their place in a 6-1 loss.
I think two things can be true simultaneously. Tonight's loss was not on Pyotr Kochetkov or Antti Raanta. The effort from the team in front of them to begin the game was about as bad as I've ever seen it under Rod Brind'Amour. Jaccob Slavin was too cavalier getting to a puck behind Kochetkov, allowing the first goal to happen. Brett Pesce lost races to the front of the net on the next two goals. Raanta did everything he could to keep the breakaway out of the net, but Warren Foegele's stick getting lodged in Raanta's pads helped that one go through. The hat-trick goal was the result of Connor McDavid's ridiculous abilities.
All that being said, it might be time for the Canes to look at the goalie market. I'm steadfast in my belief that Pyotr Kochetkov could be the team's future in the net. I also think Antti Raanta was solid in relief and has turned a corner since the 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay. However, Frederik Andersen's uncertain timeline, paired with inconsistency in the net through 25 games, makes this a tough spot. I don't know who or what the solution is. That decision is above my pay grade. All I know is that the outlook is getting hazy with each rough game.
This loss was a little easier for me to swallow than the 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay was. The biggest reason is that we knew from the jump that this wasn't going to be a fun night. Edmonton made it abundantly clear that they were going to win in the first minute. With the Tampa game, the Canes were winning after the first period. There was too much hope for a win through 20 minutes. Then, it all began to unravel. It happening at home also didn't help with the positive vibes.
The turnaround is going to have to be quick as the Hurricanes get back to it in Calgary on Thursday night. Starting the trip 0-2-0, it'll be interesting to see which version of the Hurricanes we get against the Flames. They'll finish the western portion on Saturday night in a meeting with the Vancouver Canucks. The road trip ends with visits to Ottawa and Detroit next week.