RALEIGH, NC — The Carolina Hurricanes earned a point after a near-dominant performance on Sunday, but with less than 25 games remaining in their quest to solidify a playoff spot, most associated with the team can only view their defeat as a point dropped.
Despite outshooting their opponents by a 2-to-1 ratio, the Hurricanes lost their second game in less than 72 hours to the New Jersey Devils, a 3-2 decision in which New Jersey’s Taylor Hall scored with 22.7 seconds remaining in the extra session to clinch New Jersey’s fourth consecutive victory.
“I thought we had some good looks. Had the puck lots. Tough one,” said Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters, whose team put 42 shots on goal tonight. After a dominating 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, Carolina ended the week with three straight defeats, all to Metropolitan teams. The Hurricanes were shut out at home by the New York Islanders on Friday, 3-0.
Carolina was not shut out today, but the two goals scored after the number of scoring opportunities it had against New Jersey was none the less frustrating.
“We’ve got to find ways to score more. We generated a lot of chances and shots,” said Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner, who scored the game-tying goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation.
It looked as if Carolina would leave without a point, but Skinner was first to the rebound off of a left point shot defenseman Jaccob Slavin, stuffing the puck past Devils goalkeeper Keith Kinkaid to send the game into overtime.
“We’d like to get a better result, but once we were at that point, it was good to get that point,” said Skinner, who scored his 200th career NHL goal one game after his goal that would have initially been his landmark goal was overturned on an offside ruling after an Islanders’ challenge.
“I almost had [my 200th goal] last game,” Skinner said. “It’s pretty cool. At the same time, you score goals to win games.”
It would take until the second period of the game for the ‘Canes to net their first goal, scored by Teuvo Teravainen at the 6:05 mark of the second to tie the game at 1-1 after Nico Hischier’s goal in the first gave New Jersey the lead. Teravainen’s goal was his 14th of the season.
But the Devils would answer back with a goal of their own almost immediately after killing off a Hurricanes power play. John Moore, who had just come out of the penalty box after he was called for a holding penalty, collected a loose puck and sent a pass to Pavel Zacha, with Zacha scoring on a one-timer to reclaim the lead for New Jersey at 15:33 of the second.
The three losses this week suffered by the Hurricanes hurt even more since all of them came against fellow Metropolitan Division opponents that are battling with Carolina for the final few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. While the Hurricanes and Islanders are now tied for the second Wild Card spot in the conference on 64 points, New York currently owns the tiebreaker due to more combined regulation and overtime wins than the Hurricanes (29 to 27). Carolina is 0-4-2 in its last six games against Metropolitan Division teams.
“We didn’t get as many points as we would have liked,” Peters said about the team earning just one point in its last three games. “We’re right there in every game.”
“It’s just a tighter game,” added Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal. “Towards the end of the season, every point matters so everything gets tighter.”
The Hurricanes play host to another Metropolitan Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in their next game, which is not until Friday.