The Carolina Hurricanes threw just about everything at Henrik Lundqvist but only snuck two pucks past him in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
Dougie Hamilton and Sebastian Aho tallied for the Hurricanes, who have dropped three straight games to divisional opponents, while Lundqvist made 45 saves on 47 shots.
Here are five takeaways from Thursday night at PNC Arena.
1. Lundqvist Steals One
Henrik Lundqvist was the difference in the game, no questions asked. Starting on back-to-back nights (after a later-than-usual 8 p.m. puck drop on Wednesday, no less), Lundqvist was stellar.
And it's a pattern apparently.
Lundqvist has started both games of a back-to-back 85 times in his NHL career, and in the second game of those sets, The King is 54-23-8 with a 2.12 goals-against average, a .928 save percentage and nine shutouts.
Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and move on.
"I think we were the better team from start to finish, and their goalie was great. That happens," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "In 82 games, your goalie steals one here and there. That's what happened."
2. Trust the Process
The Hurricanes liked pretty much everything about their game except the result. That's what ultimately matters, of course, but if the process is right, the results will come more often than not.
"I'm in results mode, but what are you going to say after that? Bad game? You'd be stupid," Brind'Amour said. "I'm happy because that's the way it should look for me. I like the fact that we did pretty much everything we wanted to do. We just didn't get the result."
Video: Postgame Quotes: Jaccob Slavin
Trust the process. The Hurricanes are confident in that.
"That's the game I'm looking for out of our group. It looks right. It's the style of play we want to play," Brind'Amour said. "I'm pretty sure if we can play like that, we're going to win a lot more games than we lose."
"We've just got to keep doing what we did," Slavin said. "It definitely sucks to lose like that, but that's hockey."
3. A Dominant First Period
The good news: The Hurricanes dominated the first period in possession, shot attempts (44-11) and shots on goal (22-6).
The bad news: The Canes trailed the Rangers 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Video: Postgame Quotes: Warren Foegele
The Rangers converted on their sixth shot of the game when Artemi Panarin got loose in the slot for a one-timer that he rifled past Petr Mrazek, a dagger that sliced right through the Canes' momentum with 27.5 seconds left in the period.
"That was about as good a period as we could have played to start the game," Brind'Amour said. "We played flawless, really, except for one shift, and that ended up in our net."
4. A Breakthrough
It took 31 shots, but the Hurricanes finally solved Lundqvist. Jaccob Slavin's point shot was redirected by Dougie Hamilton betwixt the circles, his seventh goal of the season which ties him for the league lead in goals by a defenseman.
Video: NYR@CAR: Hamilton deflects puck past Lundqvist
That tied the game at one with just about five minutes left to play in the second period, but the Rangers reestablished their lead before the intermission when Brendan Lemieux tipped in Tony DeAngelo's shot on a late-period power play. Another dagger.
"We had a couple mistakes that cost us goals," Warren Foegele said.
Pavel Buchnevich put the Rangers up two goals just 75 seconds into the third period. Sebastian Aho later cut the Canes' deficit to just a goal with a shot that ricocheted in off the stick of Lias Andersson - exactly the type of bounce the Canes needed to beat Lundqvist, who was otherwise seemingly impenetrable.
Video: NYR@CAR: Aho scores on favorable bounce
Adam Fox twisted the dagger with an empty-net goal in the waning minutes of the game, sealing the victory for the Rangers.
"We dominated that game. The bounces didn't go our way. A couple key saves for them," Foegele said. "The result isn't what we wanted, but we worked really hard tonight and had so many grade-A chances."
5. Luostarinen Makes NHL Debut
Eetu Luostarinen was one of the most consistent forwards in the Charlotte Checkers' first 10 games of the season, and for that, he was rewarded with a recall. The 21-year-old Finnish center made his NHL debut, taking the customary solo lap at the start of warm-ups before his teammates joined him on the ice.
Luostarinen finished the evening with two shots, two hits, a drawn penalty and a 4-for-7 mark in the faceoff circle in 9:21 of ice time.
"Our fourth line was fine," Brind'Amour said. "We wanted to get them out there."
The Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators will play a home-and-home set beginning Saturday in Ottawa and concluding Monday in Raleigh.
"As long as you believe that's the way we need to play, then you're going to be fine. What you don't want to have is guys doing their own thing, thinking that's the way it's going to get done. That's what we have to guard against right now, thinking we have to do something different," Brind'Amour said. "That's the way it should look. The results will come if we play like that."