PHILADELPHIA - In their first game of a five-game road trip, the Carolina Hurricanes ran into the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers, who notched their eighth straight win in a 4-1 decision.
Justin Williams tallied the lone goal for the Canes, who are winless in their last four games (0-3-1).
Here are five takeaways from Philly.
1. Chasing Again
Coming off a four-day gap since their last game, the Hurricanes came out and played a pretty good road period.
At least, until Ivan Provorov located his own rebound and slid it past a sprawled out Alex Nedeljkovic with 1:37 left in the opening frame, putting the Canes in a 1-0 hole.
It was the sixth straight game and 12th in their last 15 that the opposition has scored first.
"We have to be able to play those kinds of games. It was a 0-0 game in the last minute-and-a-half of the period. We made a little gaffe, and it's in your net," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "You have to bear down all the time. You can't take little breaths on the ice. We still need to learn that."
Video: "That's were we gotta buckle up and get better."
Ideally, though, the Canes would have come out flying from the drop of the puck, especially considering they were the rested team facing a club that was just in action the night prior.
"I assume it would have helped, being fresh and ready to go and using that to our advantage, but we didn't," Jordan Staal said.
2. Perimeter Offense
The Flyers, especially through the first 40 minutes, were incredibly stingy in their own end. They limited the shots that got through to Carter Hart - the Hurricanes had 14 on goal after two periods - and kept the Canes to the perimeter of the offensive zone.
"They were playing how we want to play," Jordan Martinook said. "It's obviously effective, as you can see."
"They play right. That's how you win," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "That's how we normally do it when we're doing it right. We don't give up a lot."
Arguably the Canes' best scoring chance of the first two periods came when Staal located Joel Edmundson sneaking in from the point, but unfortunately Edmundson pitched the shot wide of the open net.
"I thought a lot of times we thought there was a play to be made," Staal said. "We didn't stick to a grind game or stick to playing in their end."
3. Life in the Third
The Hurricanes seemed to get a jolt of life early in the third period when they were finally able to sneak a puck past Hart.
It wasn't the prettiest odd-man rush, but the Canes were still able to convert. Brock McGinn had the initial shot, and Staal fed the rebound over to Justin Williams for the tap-in goal.
Video: CAR@PHI: Williams buries feed from Staal
Within a goal of the Flyers, the Canes seemed to have a spark in the third period.
4. Fly Guys
Whatever glimpse of hope the Hurricanes did have, though, was promptly squelched when the Flyers answered back with two goals in the span of 26 seconds.
About 90 seconds after Williams got the Canes on the board, disaster struck. The puck rolled off Brady Skjei's stick from behind the net, right to Nate Thompson. His shot was saved by Alex Nedeljkovic, but Thompson collected his rebound and dished to Nicolas Aube-Kuble, who scored from a tough angle along the goal line.
Then, 26 seconds later, Sean Couturier smacked in a loose puck to stretch the Flyers' lead to three goals.
"A couple mishaps, and it's in our net," Staal said. "It's about doing things right, and we're finding ways to beat ourselves."
"We just didn't do it right after we scored. We kind of got away from how we were playing. It was unfortunate," Brind'Amour said. "It just wasn't good enough."
The Canes kept fighting and generated some of their best scoring chances of the night from that point on, but the Flyers had backed off, content to sit on their lead and hang on for the two points.
5. Work to be Done
This is a pivotal five-game road swing for the Hurricanes, who are on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in. This first game was arguably the toughest match-up of the five, especially considering how the Flyers have surged in the Metropolitan Division with now eight straight wins.
This one loss won't break the Canes' playoff chances, but there's some work to be done this weekend with two more divisional games against teams they're chasing in the standings.
"We've got to be better. To a man, including myself, there's got to be more. We need everyone. We need the whole team ready to go and engaged right from the start," Staal said. "It's being physical, getting pucks out. It's all the little things that compound into a good game. We haven't showed that yet or in a long time. It's not good enough."
"I think I've been saying the same stuff for a little bit here. We need to seriously look where we are," Martinook said. "If we want to make the playoffs or even give ourselves a chance, every guy needs to think about their game and how you can be better, even if it's one thing. Little things help."
"We have to play desperate hockey and find a way to claw back into it now," Brind'Amour said. "That's just the reality of it."
A back-to-back set of matinees awaits the Hurricanes this weekend. They're on Long Island on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Sunday.