The Canes Blow a Three-Goal Lead in the Third Period in a Stunning Loss to the Jets

After the Canes scored three goals in the second period, the Jets answered with three in 5:40 in the third before Monahan scored with 3:13 left to win it.

Mar 2, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (52) and
Mar 2, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (52) and / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off the road following a win on Thursday in Columbus, the Carolina Hurricanes were looking forward to a little time at home. They would begin with a battle against one of the West's best, the Winnipeg Jets. The Canes lost a tough one in Winnipeg to begin a road trip in December but aimed to reverse their fortune at PNC Arena.

Fresh off being named the NHL's Rookie of the Month in February, Pyotr Kochetkov was in the net for the Hurricanes. The rest of the lineup remained the same once again. Kochetkov would be battling former Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck. Leading the league in several categories, Hellebuyck looks to be on his way to another Vezina this season.

With the early start time for this Saturday contest, the Hurricanes looked to be moving to begin the game. They owned an early advantage in shots, but Connor Hellebuyck was equal to the task. Both teams had opportunities on the power play late in the period, with the Canes earning two, but nothing beat either goalie as the first period ended scoreless.

The offense picked up in the second period, though it waited until midway through the period to get going. The Canes used their transition game well, leading to the first goal. Martin Necas corralled a puck in the neutral zone and waited for a teammate to join him. He decided to call his own number and snap one under the glove of Connor Hellebuyck from the left dot to finally break the ice. It looked eerily similar to the goal that he had taken off the board in Columbus.

Shortly after killing their fourth penalty and a post from Nikolaj Ehlers, the Hurricanes found another one. Sebastian Aho worked hard to get around Sean Monahan before dropping the puck to Teuvo Teravainen. With some space in the slot, Teravainen fit one under the blocker to double the lead. With the secondary assist on the goal, Andrei Svechnikov earned his 300th NHL point. Svechnikov didn't wait long to get point #301. On the power play, Svechnikov found Aho on the backdoor for a tap-in to make it 3-0. With all of the momentum in the world, things were looking good for Carolina.

That's when the breaks fell off. Kyle Connor got the Jets back into it by scoring one from the top of the slot 96 seconds into the frame. Less than 90 seconds later, former Hurricane Nino Niederreiter received a pass and beat a guessing Pyotr Kochetkov to make it a one-goal game. Mark Scheifele completed the trifecta by working around a poke check and burying one on the power play to tie the game. In just 5:40, the Jets were back in the game and were in complete control.

The Hurricanes had a chance to regain their lead with a power play midway through the period, but Connor Hellebuyck made a few tough stops to keep them from doing so. Late in the period, Pyotr Kochetkov decided to get a little too aggressive, and it cost him. Kochetkov came out to work a loose puck away from a charging Jet, but Sean Monahan was there to scoop up the loose puck and bury it into the empty net to give Winnipeg its first lead of the afternoon with 3:13 left. An empty-netter by Nino Niederreiter sealed the deal as the Jets completed the comeback in shocking fashion.

The bad third period will sour what was an otherwise good effort from the Hurricanes' top line. They did the lion's share of the scoring. After playing well in Columbus, the Aho line combined for five points. Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist, Andrei Svechnikov had two assists, and Teuvo Teravainen scored another goal. They've been turning it up over the last few days.

We've seen some brutal losses this season. This might be the toughest one to date because of how in control the Canes were after the second period. There's not one moment or player that I will point to as the sole person to blame for the collapse. Many will be quick to point to Pyotr Kochetkov for being a little too aggressive on the tying and winning goals. We've seen it work a million times, but we've seen him get burnt by it, too. The poke check had just worked the period prior. It doesn't mean he's incapable of winning a playoff series or needs to be benched. It's a loss in early March. He will recover.

It felt like everything the team did in the third period was wrong. The penalty kill had gone 4-for-4 through two periods but gave up some good chances before Mark Scheifele eventually cashed in. Kyle Connor's goal between Pyotr Kochetkov's pads was a tough one to allow for the first of the game, and it snowballed into 20 minutes of torture. It doesn't help that they'll have a few days to stew on it between games.

If you're looking for a silver lining, here it is. The Carolina Hurricanes are still in a fantastic position in the Metropolitan Division. They still have the New York Rangers in their sights, though the Rangers are playing phenomenally at the moment. They also hold a sizable lead on the Philadelphia Flyers for second place in the division. If you're concerned about them falling out of the Top 3, don't be. The Hurricanes are going to be fine.

There won't be any hockey in Raleigh until Thursday when the Montreal Canadiens come to town. This gives the team four days to practice and recuperate because once they come back, things are going to get a lot tougher. Not to be lost in all of this is the trade deadline, which is set for 3 pm on Friday, March 8. We may see some movement between now and the game on Thursday.